Content Management System or Course Management System? Good Question

As I started researching ideas for my CMS Matrix, I noticed there was a distinct difference between a “content” management system and a “course” management system. Through some discussion on Ning, it was determined it made more sense for us to review course management systems (CMS) to determine what system would be best for to use to deliver our final online course.  As I think about the features that are important to me for an online learning environment, several things come to mind. I’d like to provide a list of features that are important to me. These are initial brainstormed ideas. 1) Strong communication capabilities between the instructor and student 2) Ease of accessibility 3) Collaboration Integration 4) Ease of social media integration (ie. twitter feeds) 5) Social Learning Integration 6) Customization Options 7) Ease of grading assignments 8) Flexibility for the Instructor (and student) 9) Overall Functionality 10) Synchronous and Asychronous 11) Ability to Motivate Students

I am somewhat new to the various learning theories as they relate to online learning, but feel there is certainly a blend of constructivist, connectivism, and transformative learning that can be integrated into an online learning environment. As I review and compare several course management systems, I will think about learning theory, in addition to the features I included above (I may include additional features in my final comparison). Choosing a course management system might also depend on what learner you focus on. There are differences between an adult learner and a high school student, and theses should be taken into account when determining what CMS to use as well. 

I’m about half through my matrix review, and will hopefully be able to make a final determination between three different CMS’s in the coming weeks. It’s definitely a good exercise, as there are many CMS’s out there, and it’s difficult to determine the best one for my needs without doing an in-depth review. 

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