Course Management Software

This pie chart depicts the different types of course management software evaluated and the number of people who evaluated each one.
Select a sofware package to view its survey results.

Angel

Blackboard

Breeze

Desire2Learn(D2L)

Moodle

WebCT

 

Angel

Angel         Average Rating

How easy was it to learn this product?

4 3 5 3 3.75
Comments          

How proficient do you need to be with programming or technical skills in order to learn this program?

3 4 4 4 3.75

What are the prerequisites for using this software?

ability to use a computer for things like word and power point come in handy        

Was this a FTE or individual purchase?

FTE   FTE FTE  
How much did you pay for it? don’t know it was a collegewide purchase   Don’t know, just know that it was cheaper than Blackboard or WebCT and easier than producing a "home grown" one.    

Based on what you paid for this product how well did it meet your needs?

very well

 

meets well

   

How would you rate this product in accordance with how well it met your needs?

3 3 3 3 3.00

Knowing what you know now about this product would you purchase this product ? Why or why not?

yes   no, because I’ve heard that other systems are better    

How difficult is it to implement a site-wide license?

easy   easy    
What is the expense of upgrades? Does it automatically upgrade? automatic   the upgrade last year was a disaster… it crashed during the first week of school and took forever to come up again. It requires many man hours which doesn’t work so well at a small state school    

What year did your institute first try using this software?

2000   2001    

What tasks did you want it to perform?

move class from Web ct into angel        

Are there maintenance requirements?

no        

Editing: How easy is it to make changes to the product?

very        

Technical considerations Rate the level of problems you or your users have had with this software package.

3 3 2 3 2.75
Additional comments: pics did not upload        
Does this program require a lot of memory on your computer? no        

Does this software work with or is able to create various necessary file formats?

yes        
Can you install program yourself or does it require help of systems admin? sysad        
Overall Pros ease of use        
Overall Cons          

Final Comments

         

 

Blackboard

Blackboard                     Average Rating
How easy was it to learn this product? 5 2 4 3 4 3 3 3 4 3 3.40
Comments       Need support              
How proficient do you need to be with programming or technical skills in order to learn this program? 3 2 2 2 3 4 3 3 3 4 2.90
What are the prerequisites for using this software?   Being a techie who can easily think in 3-D?   Understanding basic attachment, time/date release. basic computer skills I found Blackboard very easy to use and navigate. The help tutorials are well-written and walk you through the steps necessary to do the task.     Have a Blackboard account, such as an instructor account, or if possible, a Sys Admin account. Content knowledge. Instructional design (designing bad online tools is WORSE than not having any) Keyboarding. Html or xhtml skills help when posting content. However, FrontPage can alleviate that need.  
Was this a FTE or individual purchase? FTE   FTE             FTE  
How much did you pay for it? I don’t know.                    
Based on what you paid for this product how well did it meet your needs? It meets my online teaching news.(sic)                    
How would you rate this product in accordance with how well it met your needs? 3 1 3   3 4 2 2 3 3 2.40
Knowing what you know now about this product would you purchase this product ? Why or why not?           I would definitely purchase this product.     Yes. Since so many institutions use Bb for some purposes, it makes sense for libraries to develop a strong presence in Bb. Probably  
How difficult is it to implement a site-wide license? I don’t know         Not very difficult     Not difficult, just expensive 🙂 It’s available via our distance learning program, so I have no idea.  
What is the expense of upgrades? Does it automatically upgrade? I don’t know         I don’t know this information.     My understanding is that upgrades are part of the deal without addiitonal costs. Bb does have different packages, however, and if you want ot upgrade from one package to a higher level package, the cost will go up. Upgrades are not automatic. Our Bb administrators carefully examine the upgrade release notes, and determine whether they will install the upgrade or wait until perceived problems with the upgrade are resolved. Don’t know.  
What year did your institute first try using this software? 1998               2003    
What tasks did you want it to perform?   Have students submit assignments online and have the software keep track of each student’s grade, while keeping that confidential between student & teacher.       I used Blackboard extensively in a former workplace. It was easy to use–we implemented an online     To hold and deliver instruction content in the form of interactive tutorials on a very granular level I wanted it to hold external links, provide discussion space, permit posting of assignments and email  
Are there maintenance requirements? Yes, but I don’t know them. ??       Just to maintain current course content.     We designed the content so that maintenance would be minimal    
Editing: How easy is it to make changes to the product? I don’t know.       very Very easy to make content edits.     Fairly easy. Again, we design content to focus on concepts, in the hopes of reducing the need for constant changes and updates. Simple  
Technical considerations Rate the level of problems you or your users have had with this software package. 4 2 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 4 3.20
Additional comments:           Connectivity was problematic infrequently     Many of these are instigated by user error    
Does this program require a lot of memory on your computer? ?? It’s on a server outside my building.       no     No more than anything else. It is on a separate server.  
Does this software work with or is able to create various necessary file formats? Hmm…Word?         yes     It is more of a repository for various file formats. As with any tool, it had limitations, but can have most file types uploaded and serve them up to the viewer accurately. Yes  
Can you install program yourself or does it require help of systems admin? Systems Admin puts Blackboard on the SJSU server. Systems admin + department (all outside my building) + off-campus (in another city!). Abundant       Easy access to Blackboard site once institution has license.     Since Bb is installed at the institution level, and all I need is an account to access it, I will answer "no, it is installed by IT.    
Overall Pros Blackboard is user-friendly. Looks like the software has lots of functionality and can do a lot of things. Thank goodness I’m using it in a hybrid situation, because I wouldn’t be able to use the software well enough to teach with/from it. It’s that complex, at least to me and a constant challenge to my learning style. Takes forever to "learn" (and I’m not even halfway there yet).     ease of use Excellent product, easy to use     It gets me off the proverbial bench and onto the playing field. It allows me to make available JIT It was good, clear, easily learned. We have a staff member who teaches its use.  
Overall Cons Our version has communication limitations – just text-based chat. No training yet (new version, 7.2; but no training until Sept. 28; classes started Aug. 20th. Go figure. On-line tutorials not very helpful. Can’t get a real fix on what all I’m dealing with or how things function/interact. I like training, or at least a handbook, or a "Dummies" or "For the complete idiot" type book.     boring interface       It’s clunky and imperfect… But so am I.    

Final Comments

I have limited knowledge/experience here Very frustrating.                  
                       

 

Breeze

Breeze   Average Rating

How easy was it to learn this product?

4 4.00
Comments    

How proficient do you need to be with programming or technical skills in order to learn this program?

3 3.00

What are the prerequisites for using this software?

You just (I think) need to have a dedicated server for publishing Breeze presentations. So, the process of publishing it was the hardest part, but not too hard  

Was this a FTE or individual purchase?

   

Based on what you paid for this product how well did it meet your needs?

   

How would you rate this product in accordance with how well it met your needs?

3 3.00

Knowing what you know now about this product would you purchase this product ? Why or why not?

Yes, I would use it again. Its a great tool to add audio components to a PowerPoint.  

How difficult is it to implement a site-wide license?

I am not sure.  
What is the expense of upgrades? Does it automatically upgrade? Don’t know.  

What year did your institute first try using this software?

5 5.00

What tasks did you want it to perform?

Audio over slides.  

Are there maintenance requirements?

Not that I’m aware of.  

Editing: How easy is it to make changes to the product?

You can go back and add or change audio slide by slide. I am not sure if you can still do that once the presentation is published.  

Technical considerations Rate the level of problems you or your users have had with this software package.

4 4.00
Additional comments:    
Does this program require a lot of memory on your computer? I don’t think so.  

Does this software work with or is able to create various necessary file formats?

yes  
Can you install program yourself or does it require help of systems admin? Sys admin makes Breeze available on our campus network for authorized users.  
Overall Pros Easy enough to use and create presentations.  
Overall Cons If you are not good at PowerPoint then this won’t improve your skill at that.  

Final Comments

   

 

Desire2Learn(D2L)

Desire2Learn(D2L)   Average Rating

How easy was it to learn this product?

3 3.00
Comments too many odd ways to do things  

How proficient do you need to be with programming or technical skills in order to learn this program?

3 3.00

What are the prerequisites for using this software?

a manual, because you’ll never remember all of the odd and different ways to do any single particular process, because it won’t work like anything else you’ve ever done.  

Was this a FTE or individual purchase?

   

Based on what you paid for this product how well did it meet your needs?

   

How would you rate this product in accordance with how well it met your needs?

2 2.00

Knowing what you know now about this product would you purchase this product ? Why or why not?

it’s really no better or no worse than any of the other major CMS systems. It’s at least easier for the students to use than WebCT  

How difficult is it to implement a site-wide license?

don’t know, but our campus moved from WebCT with out having major deaths of previous courses  
What is the expense of upgrades? Does it automatically upgrade? don’t know  

What year did your institute first try using this software?

2 2.00

What tasks did you want it to perform?

deliver course to non-degree students, ie current librarains, via all distance, no face contact  

Are there maintenance requirements?

other than starting, ending or continuing the course, nope  

Editing: How easy is it to make changes to the product?

not horrible, too many steps, but none difficult  

Technical considerations Rate the level of problems you or your users have had with this software package.

3 3.00
Additional comments:    
Does this program require a lot of memory on your computer? nope  

Does this software work with or is able to create various necessary file formats?

yep  
Can you install program yourself or does it require help of systems admin? system admin folks required  
Overall Pros system admins set up and babysit and give instructors accounts, so teachers can focus on content and formats etc.  
Overall Cons too many steps to do every process. not a bad UI for instructors but still definitely not intuitive. So if you haven’t done a specific process in a while, you’ll likely need a quick glance at the manual to remember how to do it, because there won’t be an intuitive approach to remembering  

Final Comments

better than the other CMS systems  

 

Moodle

Moodle     Average Rating
How easy was it to learn this product? 5 3 4.00
Comments      
How proficient do you need to be with programming or technical skills in order to learn this program? 3 3 3.00
What are the prerequisites for using this software? ENGL 101 with a "c" or better Must be mounted on a server; you should have used a CMS before or be willing to explore its various features; should understand some of the underlying concepts that govern some CMSs, particularly, the areas over which instructors have control, like the ability to upload items and then choose to display or not display them for the learners.  
Was this a FTE or individual purchase? Individual FTE  
How much did you pay for it? 0    
Based on what you paid for this product how well did it meet your needs? Exceptionally well. Utilized by the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies for all courses for the past few years. Instructors who want a web site for their courses are assigned a Moodle site by the GSEIS Web Manager.  
How would you rate this product in accordance with how well it met your needs? 4 3 3.50
Knowing what you know now about this product would you purchase this product ? Why or why not? Yes. It works I didn’t have anything to do with the purchase, but I do like Moodle. It was fairly easy to use, though uploading items was a bit clunky, as it is with some other CMSs.  
How difficult is it to implement a site-wide license? Don’t know. The rest of college is on BlackBoard but I think Bb [expletive deleted)    
What is the expense of upgrades? Does it automatically upgrade? Automatic    
What year did your institute first try using this software? 6    
What tasks did you want it to perform? Front page for BI Upload documents, PPT shows, other items; provide discussion board capability; allow student to upload documents & other items; view student roster with photos; email students as a group or individually  
Are there maintenance requirements? none yet    
Editing: How easy is it to make changes to the product? very UCLA has now decided to go with Moodle as its *preferred* CMS, and is working on developing a standard look and feel to a newer version of Moodle than I’ve used. Many different CMSs are used in different departments on campus, and it will be mostly a voluntary transition. I don’t really know how easy it is to make changes to the product itself, though, as I’m not involved in that aspect.  
Technical considerations Rate the level of problems you or your users have had with this software package. 4   4.00
Additional comments:      
Does this program require a lot of memory on your computer? no Stored on server…  

Does this software work with or is able to create various necessary file formats?

yes Seems to work with standard file formats like Office, but that’s all I’ve tried  
Can you install program yourself or does it require help of systems admin? self Mounted on server…  
Overall Pros easy to use and free Fairly easy to use, again, though, you need to grasp underlying concepts.  
Overall Cons none Emailing the roster didn’t seem to work that well, partly because in that portion of CMS, the system listed all the  

Final Comments

Moodle forever Keep in mind that I’m not a total techie  

 

WebCT

WebCT         Rating Average

How easy was it to learn this product?

3 3 4 3 3.25
Comments   We have excellent WebCT training opportunities.      

How proficient do you need to be with programming or technical skills in order to learn this program?

4 4 3 3 3.50
What are the prerequisites for using this software?   No skills are required to do the basics, but programming or technical skills will allow you to customize or add additional features to the course. WebCT is a lot like content management systems, where you have to know how to upload, how to create pages, etc. It is not as intuitive as straight Web site management packages, but is easy to learn, and there is usually campus training available. Best if your institution supports the tools.  
Was this a FTE or individual purchase?          
Based on what you paid for this product how well did it meet your needs?          
How would you rate this product in accordance with how well it met your needs? 3 4 3 2 3.00
Knowing what you know now about this product would you purchase this product ? Why or why not? Yes, although I would like to see if anything better is available. I wanted to be able to be included on instructors web CT course sites and have reference chat sessions with students. I think this may have been possible but I did not really look into it enough to know how easy it would be to do this with Web CT. Yes! It allowed me to launch interactive tutorials before I had any HTML skills at all. While I don’t have exact pricing, I know that WebCT is expensive compared to other similar products. Great for programs with registered students (students enroll in library instruction for credit).  
How difficult is it to implement a site-wide license?   I don’t know. This was done by University administration. Not difficult Don’t know  
What is the expense of upgrades? Does it automatically upgrade?   I don’t know about the expense. Upgrades need to be installed. It does not automatically upgrade.    
What year did your institute first try using this software?   2000 2003    
What tasks did you want it to perform? I wanted to be able to have it do email referral by subject specialist librarian or me DS librarian. I wanted that to be a link from the course page so that students would be more likely to use it. There was a link from the Web CT page but you no longer see that link when you are in Web CT. I wanted to do virtual reference chat sessions either with the whole class or individually within Web CT. Create interactive web pages, quizzes, surveys, chat, assignment submission, etc. We wanted a link to the library on the course page, and the ability to be added to classes if the professor wanted us to be so that we could participate in discussion board assignments. Deliver course specific content to students; & Provide a platform for student interaction  
Are there maintenance requirements?   Regular updating of information on the part of the instructor. There are administrative and technical maintenance requirements that are taken care of by our IT staff. Not for us, but for technology services who runs the service for the campus. each semester, revisit the module  
Editing: How easy is it to make changes to the product?   As an individual, it is easy to edit the pages and tools one has created. It is easy to make changes. very easy to make changes  
Technical considerations Rate the level of problems you or your users have had with this software package. 3 3 4 3 3.25
Additional comments:       some students have difficulty logging in  
Does this program require a lot of memory on your computer?   Not on an individual PC. I don’t know how much is required on the institutional server. No–you interact with it via a Web browser. no  
Does this software work with or is able to create various necessary file formats?   It works with standard HTML and image formats. WORD, PowerPoint, etc. can be added as well Yes–you can upload just about any kind of file, but of course the students have to have the necessary software to read the files that you upload. yes  
Can you install program yourself or does it require help of systems admin?   Systems Admin WebCT needs to be maintained by the central technology services folks. It is hosted by our institution  
Overall Pros Helpful because it organizes by class. When I have been included in access to an instructor’s class I have been able to see by the group emails what problems students are encountering and have been able to address those in a more proactive manner by emailing tipsheets, making reference suggestions to the entire class list, or arranging to make resources available for students that they would need for particular assignments. It allowed me to offer interactive tutorials with minimum knowledge of HTML. Very reliable and powerful Good for students registered in a library instruction class.  
Overall Cons Probably that each instructor has to arrange to let you onto his or her course site and that there may be more capability which could have been better advertised if it exists. There is a bit of a learning curve when new versions are introduced – but it is well worth it. Expensive compared to other software like it, and does not allow library modules to populate courses in the same way as other software does. Not great for single session library instruction  
Final Comments   We started using WebCT in 2000.      

 

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