About LMS Future Directions

Contact: Please contact the chairs, Shohreh Bozorgmehri (shohreh@uci.edu) and Sarah Eichhorn (s.eichhorn@uci.edu) with any questions.

Background

The Electronic Educational Environment (EEE) suite of web tools has served as UC Irvine’s learning management platform since 1996. UCI faculty, students, and staff have guided EEE development over the years, and it is well integrated with Registrar and other campus systems. In this age of high-expectations and aging, problematic IT systems, EEE stands out as one of the few that continues to well meet end-user needs. It is a consistent topic of praise from UCI faculty, staff, and students.

However, EEE is unique to UCI, and there is some impact of being different. Our faculty and students are exposed to Moodle through summer session and some online classes, and will also start to use Sakai through the UC Online Education Common Learning Environment (CoLE). It seems problematic to use multiple systems, but it is unclear what the actual impact is. Perhaps UCI is missing out, or will be missing out, on the benefits of community efforts on systems like Moodle and Sakai. One question along these lines is whether or not EEE provides the level of support for online education that other tools do. Sentiment has also been expressed by some that, for the most part, EEE functionality exceeds that in Moodle or Sakai.

A process is needed to assess current learning management system needs, consult with faculty and staff, and thoughtfully consider future directions. A “Learning Management Directions Review Team” will be established to lead this effort.

Components of the effort

  • Collecting and considering past work done at UCI or other campuses that would be helpful.
  • Assessing the relative functionality of EEE, Moodle, and Sakai, and perhaps other learning management systems that are showing significant promise, including functionality that supports the use of online educational materials.
  • Assessing the impact of staying with EEE even though other campuses are using different tools; assess the impact of supporting/using multiple learning environments versus the benefits of moving to a single one.
  • Researching literature, interviewing external experts, conducting site visits, and bringing in speakers to gain the best understanding of how technology’s role in learning is evolving.
  • Surveying/interviewing UCI faculty; both those focusing on traditional forms of teaching as well as those who are embracing online materials and technology.
  • Understand what the impact and costs would be of transitioning away from EEE, should we decide to go that route.

Future directions to consider

Future directions to consider include:

  1. Continuing to use EEE Web tools as UCI’s primary learning management platform, extending it as needed to respond to evolving requirements, including online education support.
  2. Continuing with EEE, but making a subset of Moodle or Sakai functionality available over time (i.e., make use of the best of multiple environments).
  3. Establishing long-range plans to move from EEE to one of the open-source alternatives.
  4. Making EEE available to other campuses as open source or through UCI hosting it (akin to the way UCI does for UC Recruit project)