Learning Management Systems—What is your experience???

Any comments are highly appreciated! I am trying to establish a "first-hand" knowledge base for users of LMSs.

Most universities and colleges nowadays employ course management systems to enhance instruction. Besides commercial systems such as Blackboard, quite a few Open Source learning management systems have become available in the last years, such as Moodle, ATutor, Ilias, Claroline and many more—some of which even have won awards. While I have encountered Moodle to be used as an alternative to Blackboard at the same university and at high schools, the use of Open Source Course/Learning Management systems within Institution of Higher Education is rare—at least here in the U.S. What are the reasons for institutions to rather buy a commercial system than using one of the freely available ones? Is it the quality of the product, user friendliness, administrative issues, political issues? Do Open Source systems lack a sufficient support system? Have you even heard about Open Source Management Systems?

With these questions in mind I would like to invite all people who have experience with any course management system—users, administrators, developers—to talk about their experience with course management systems, no matter if commercial or Open Source. What do you like/dislike about the software? What could be improved? Administrators, what kind of problems are you facing, what does it mean for you to keep such a system running? Would you recommend the system you are using to other people/institutions?

Visit also my blog: http://learningmanagements.blogspot.com

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There is a middle option here that is being excluded. Many open source software solutions come with support options. Moodle, for example, has Moodle partners that provide hosting, management, and training. Beyond that customization is more likely to be available with open code.

I cannot speak to the quality of the services of these partners, but there are many options.

I think there is a bit of a political bias against FOSS software. It is not delivered through the traditional corporate channels. They aren't major sponsors at edtech conferences. Even on sites like this, open source solutions get little attention compared to proprietary ones.

I haven't worked with Blackboard, but I have worked with Moodle (although not within the current academic year). Ultimately, there is no wiki like a dedicated wiki, no blog like a dedicated blog, and so on. LMS are like swiss army knives. They try to be panaceas, but there is no such thing.
We use: Manhattan Virtual Classroom (MVC) it is an open source virtual classroom. It is used by schools and Universities throughout the world.

I am the administrator of the MVC install at our school. I create courses and occasionally deal with some requests. But, mostly the software is very intuitive and teachers figure it out; in fact they do things with it that I would never think of. It has a grades module and many others.

I love it and would highly recommend it. I subscribe to the mailing list; this list is the support for the software. I have both gotten and given help on the list. For most issues I have seen a turnaround of 1 - 2 days. But, perhaps of more value is the fact that the number of requests in minimal. Once you install it; it pretty much runs itself.

There is the issue of bandwidth for a local install, but most Universities have bandwidth, and secondary schools are getting there.

I have installed/used:
Moodle
Drupal

Other Open Source include:
Joomla



Another support consideration is MVC does not require a database such as MySQL which the others do.

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