Consortia find cost-savings, efficiency in adopting common LMS
- According to a report from the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative (CCC OEI) and Mindwires, the main reasons higher ed consortia adopt a common LMS include cost-savings, operational efficiency, equity across member institutions of varying sizes, better leverage in negotiations and centralized support, training and instructional design.
- "A Retrospective on Implementing Common Course Management Systems: Motivations, Benefits, Drawbacks and Recommendations" was developed via a range of interviews with representatives from higher ed consortia that have implemented a system-wide LMS and those that have not, seeking to provide the best practices learned.
- The report notes utilizing a common LMS allowed more flexibility on an institutional level because of the wider range of tools available — but the approach isn't without its drawbacks.
Chief among the downsides: Any problem with the LMS affects every school in the consortium as opposed to being confined to a single school. And that's on top of any issues that arise via bureacratic red tape or concerns related to an institution's academic culture. That said, the streamlined approach does seem to have provided value to the institutions that have embraced it. The cost-saving factor alone is likely to have greater appeal amid higher ed's current fiscal uncertainty.
For those considering the approach, the report's authors suggest closing any gaps between IT and ed tech teams, focusing on student and instructor needs, encouraging communication and buy-in across the consortium, utilizing vendor support to free up internal resources and taking advantage of the opportunity to redesign courses.
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