Limitations of the LMS and External App Support


I was administrator of of UofM’s LMS (D2L’s Brightspace) and I led the evaluation, selection and implementation of it.

There are many issues with LMSs, but the issue at hand is the roles and requirements of the many stakeholders in an enterprise system, which is also the teaching and learning system. There are many functional non-functional and technical requirements, which are primary to the needs of individual instructor and course.

The stakeholders of UofM’s LMS include:

The LMS owner, faculties, departments and divisions, which includes Extended Education:

  • Requires robust authoring environment
  • Supports institution’s teaching and learning needs
  • Maintains user data: instructor course content and student work and grades

IT, which requires:

  • Stability, security, reliability, maintainable, interoperability, scalability, compatibility, portability, complex data systems (send, store, retrieve), efficient administrative functions, complex user management, future proofing, support for IMS global standards and APIs for integrations…

Registrar and Student Services, which requires:

  • Interaction with Student Information System for course registrations, transactions, records (grades, transcripts), maintenance of user data (enrollments and grades)

Legal, Privacy and Copyright, which requires:

  • Security, privacy (FIPPA), user data stored in Canada, copyright audits

Google Apps

Some institutions licence Google apps to provide to flexible, collaborative content creation and sharing on a secure and reliable platform. UofM does not have a Google licence. I’ve had this discussion. UofM does not have the demand for Google apps, nor the capacity to support them.

I still use Google apps to create and share course content because Google is secure and I’ve already shared, by choice, so much of my personal information with Google already. Google also provides robust tools for creating and sharing and collaborating which the LMS does not provide. LMSs provide so very few content creation tools for learners.


About jhounslow

Soccer enthusiast, cyclist, web developer, e-learning professional, educator, husband to a graduate student, and father of four daughters.
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