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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

How to Integrate Public University Web Sites and Embed Learning Management Systems

How to Integrate Public University Web Sites and Embed Learning Management Systems
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Author(s): Axel C. Schwickert (University of Giessen, Germany) and Bernhard Ostheimer (University of Giessen, Germany)
Copyright: 2006
Pages: 4
Source title: Emerging Trends and Challenges in Information Technology Management
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-019-6.ch206
ISBN13: 9781616921286
EISBN13: 9781466665361


Within a university, there are often several hundred independent web presences, representing various levels of hierarchy within the organization. “Technology follows organization!” – is the principle according to which a large number of public web presence islands represent the organizational units of the university, which are highly decentralised and frequently to some extent autonomous (as illustrated in fig. 1, Schwickert 2004 a). The organizational, management and task structures within a university are mostly highly decentralized. Consequently the organizational units can make decisions and act with a high degree of autonomy. The result of this is that the layout, design, and navigational and functional concepts of web sites vary greatly within a university. There is no doubt that a patchwork of public web sites can not project a professional image of the university as a whole to the outside world. One problem is, therefore, that a corporate design needs to be integrated into the numerous university public web sites and aggregated information needs to be efficiently accessible. Universities have by now realized that the quality and efficiency of their research and teaching can benefit from a supporting program of online elements. This requires electronic teaching and learning environments – “learning management systems” (LMS) – which are available to students and researchers online in the Web. The fact that the university’s core business units can, as described above, largely make decisions and act autonomously, has led to a situation where several LMS in the various schools and departments of a university operate separately from each other. Financial, personal and technical resources are implemented to introduce and operate these LMS islands, to a great extent redundantly. Different systems also prevent network effects which would be beneficial for the experience and learning curves of the operators and users when working with the LMS within a university. As a result the growing number of students on interdisciplinary programs in particular, where different subjects and courses are involved, are confronted with several LMS, mainly open source systems such as Moodle, StudIP, Ilias, ATutor, OpenLMS and many others. Consequently, alongside the integration of navigational and functional concepts and a corporate design into university web sites, there is also the problem of establishing how and which LMS is best suited to the teaching areas of the university. The two problems have a great deal in common: the addressee and the medium, i.e. the students and the Web.

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