Short information systems activity

Part I Learning Management System: Acquisition Strategy Exercise

Activity: Create an Alternative Matrix similar to Fig 7-6 on page 235 for the OurU LMS system. Dr. Ryan Sougstad, a member of the LMS selection committee, is available to answer any of your groups questions.

Make a recommendation to OurU on which approach to take. Explain your rationale for the recommendation, drawing on your Alternative Matrix and/or other class material.

Submission Details: Submit Alternative Matrix and Recommendation as word or .pdf document

OurU is a small (2500 students) university located in a small midwestern city. OurU is currently looking into an LMS solution.


  1. Our strategic plan: New Horizon 2019 claims that OurU will be Technology Rich. This would seem to imply cutting edge or at least up to date. To what degree, or not, are we either of these?
  2. We have no plagiarism detection software (PDS).
    1. Faculty are left to sort our plagiarism on their own, typically using Google. A PDS would do the hard work for them, automatically flagging copied portions as soon as a student uploads and assignment.,
    2. A PDS can function as a deterrent and actually encourage greater awareness of what is and is not plagiarism.
  3. That student senate has expressed strong student concerns for readily available and transparent grades
    1. Typically, students are used to this having had full access to grades in their high school LMSs.
  4. Nursing Faculty have voiced concerns with not having locking browsers and no Plagiarism Detection Software
  5. Pressure for user-friendly fully functional LMS will only grow as more new faculty are hired who have always used an LMS.

Some other considerations are also known:

1a) Faculty adoption on the current system has been slow. Many of the seasoned faculty do not use moodle and are very resistant to any mandate to post grades in an LMS system, or even to mandate the use of the system.

1b) Many of the junior faculty have expressed frustration with the current moodle implementation (slow, poor user interface, limited functionality for quizzes and discussions) .

2) Budgets are tight at OurU. The administration is willing to make an investment in an LMS if the business case is strong.

3) OurU has one instructional technologist. Sherry works at max capacity and spends most of her time trouble shooting issues with access and functionality for students and faculty. Typical issues are questions like: how do set up a quiz or how can I implement a weighted gradebook (faculty) or My paper didnt upload or I cant access the quiz. In addition, Sherry has to work with the IT department to resolve any technical difficulties with moodle. It is hopeful that in the future, Sherry can spend more of her time helping faculty integrate more advanced capabilities of LMS rather than trouble shoot.

4) Eventually, the administration would like integration with the Jenzabar system that controls handles registration, grades, and scheduling. So for example, grades could populate from the LMS directly to Jenzabar.


1) Continue in-house development on moodle. OurU It department will continue to host moodle. This is the cheapest option. Plagerism detection can be implemented in moodle, but it will take some time. Lock-down browser capability will have to wait until the next fiscal year. The administration is willing to invest in a part-time student assistant to work 20hrs/week with Sherry to help offset some of her workload. Jenzebar integration cannot happen here.

2) eThink eThink is provides an outsourced hosting service for moodle. eThink will provide all of the functionality in the problem statement, and will also provide 24×7 user (admin, faculty, student) phone support.

The current look and feel of the moodle system will not change dramatically, but now ethink will integrate any new modules/capabilities that OurU requires. The cost is $30,000 per year. Jenzebar integration can be accomplished, though it will require additional consulting fees or OurU IT staff resources

3) Canvas Canvas provides a rich user interface and all of the functional requirements, and is hosted remotely as a SaaS. There would be a learning curve for faculty to adopt the new system. Student senate representatives are impressed by the transparency of the grade reporting in Canvas. Some junior faculty are impressed by the ease of use and functionality of quiz development, chat and wiki capabilities within Canvas. Jenzebar integration is native and seemless on Canvas. The cost is a $100,000 one-time licensing fee and $15,000 annual subscription/maintenance.

Canvas provides call-in support only for Administrators (Sherry and IT staff). However, Canvas has a rich online self-service support for students and faculty (superior to Moodle or eThink).