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Managing OER - Choosing appropriate storage and retrieval facilities

Page history last edited by David Porter 13 years, 3 months ago

The online learning material or objects that you will develop during the course of your project need to be placed or stored  in a container or system from where they may be easily retrieved and used. In this unit we will be looking at systems that serve this function with the addition of features and functions that contibute to a learning environment for an OER user.



At the end of  this unit you will be able to


  • Explain what a Learning Management System (LMS) is
  • Explain what a Content Management System (CMS) is 
  • The steps to determine whether an LMS/CMS suits your requirements 


Learning Management System

A learning management system (LMS) is a software system for planning, delivering, and managing learning events within an organization, including online and classroom programs, and instructor-led courses.


LMSs may be web-based or standalone[1]. They can be procured from a vendor or one could use an open source LMS such as Moodle.


LMSs come with a varied range of functions to provide the end user with a friendly learning ecosystem. An LMS is usually more focussed on management than on content generation. An LMS is used to perform administrative tasks like managing students, their progress and performance tracking. The advantage of using an LMS to manage your content is in being able to sequence your content and to create a manageable structure for instructors/administrative staff.


Freeware and proprietary LMS 

There are a large number of learning technology companies marketing LMS, many of which are very popular within the academic community. Prominent among these is the Blackboard (http://www.blackboard.com/) company that has patented its LMS. WebCT is a BlackBoard product that provides a basic framework into which web pages of content are placed; another is the SharePointLMS (http://www.sharepointlms.com/) based on the Microsoft sharepoint server platform. There are a number of advanced learning technology companies that offer LMS and service support.


Popular open source LMS projects include Moodle (www.moodle.org) and Sakai (http://sakaiproject.org). These are LMS software that may be downloaded for free and deployed on your local server[2]. These are attractive options for educational institutions and those with budget constraints. An open source LMS provides for cost savings and greater control of the environment, but at the cost of additional local staff being required.



Read more from this blog of how learning management systems have evolved:



Read about the desirable characteristics in an LMS:



An assessment of open source learning management systems is available at this link:




Content Management Systems

 CMS is a software like LMS that allows users to create, edit, manage and finally publish a variey of content(text, graphics, video, documents etc) in a number of formats. A centralised set of rules, processes and workflows ensure coherent, validated electronic content.


A workflow is a sequence of steps or operations that must be performed to complete a task. A workflow could have a number of actors performing a variety of actions, with action paths, results and decisions that could be represented as a flow diagram. Also see Workflow scenarios for digitization and distribution 


A CMS provides authoring tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of programming languages or markup languages[3] to create and manage content with relative ease. Most systems use a database to store content including metadata. To facilitate reuse and enable flexible presentation options, the content is often stored in formats like XML (Extensible Markup Language). A presentation layer displays the content to website visitors based on a set of templates.



Robertson, J. (2003). So, what is a content management system? Accessible at http://www.steptwo.com.au/files/kmc_what.pdf. in November 2009.



Must I use a management system? If so which one should I choose.....



  1. Computer software that can work offline, does not necessarily require network connection to function.
  2. A software/hardware system, dedicated to running one or more services that serve the needs of programs running on other computers on the same network.
  3. A markup language is a formalized way of providing markup to a document. The annotation code mixes text with additional information about the text so the computer can understand and identify pieces of the document. These instructions would indicate where font and other layout changes start and stop, which part of the text is the heading etc.

Comments (3)

Jayashree Balaji said

at 6:15 pm on Apr 30, 2011

From Review Workshop
--Freeware usage to be revised
--some more on CMS; perhaps a tabular listing
--mention rise of alternative platforms like Wiki/Blogs

wayne mackintosh said

at 6:09 pm on Apr 7, 2011

Need more explanation on CMSs -- or leave out. I don't think the current CMS inclusion adds real value.

wayne mackintosh said

at 6:06 pm on Apr 7, 2011

Freeware is the wrong concept here. Use open source software (Freeware refers to proprietary software which users can download without cost.) As per earlier note I would add:

1) The canvas LMS (OSS which has no cost hosting at the moment)
2) Alternate delivery platforms like wikis and blogs. Here is a wiki example: http://wikieducator.org/OCL4ED

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