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Systems Analysis Research

In: Computers and Technology

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Technology has come to a point where it is fully integrated into most American’s lives. With phones having more processing power than some computers, the educational system has made it a goal to keep up with the times and has taken it out of the classroom and brought it into homes all around the world. A Learning Management System (LMS) allows users to login from a server or sometimes mobile device and can either regulate their academic progress, assignments, and future goals; or even help to learn in their homes and earn a degree from their living room. There are many LMS packages to choose from but the two I will focus on are Brightspace and Moodle.
Brightspace formally known as Desire2Learn (D2L) is one of the leading LMSs on the market today. It is almost an entirely customizable system for both the teacher and the student. Teachers have a multitude of teaching methods to choose from to best fit their curriculum and then they simply plug the information in to be taught as well as shared automatically with Brightspace’s customizable content release software. Teachers can also enjoy a design wizard that makes designing a course quick and easy with little confusion or need for extra training on the software or integration thereof. Brightspace is an open platform system that also adheres to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 standards (WCAG) which allows the usability and compatibility with other technologies to be nearly unmatched (D2L, 2015). Two of the biggest features of Brightspace that sets it in a league of its own are its interactive nature and accessibility. Brightspace developers have worked hard to develop tools in the software that allow for maximum classroom-like interactions. Not only does this system utilize standards such as discussion boards, email, and instant messaging, but it uses VideoNote a web chat tool to allow students to interact with one another as well as the teacher. Furthermore, shared course documents and mobile friendly e-Textbooks take the course on the road (D2L, 2015). Brightspace has a mobile friendly application that allows students and teachers to access all class information on the go. Students can also easily track their progress with Brightspace’s customizable online student profiles that are similar to social media profiles and encourage students to take an interest in their education. The only major flaw in Brightspace is that it is not an open source system. While Brightspace offers thousands of different combinations of customization, if for whatever reason, it still was not a good fit; there would be no coding to turn to make it exactly what a university needed. Starting where Brightspace left off, Moodle is a LMS that is one of the leading open source LMS on the market. The appeal of Moodle lays in its open source coding and seemingly “free” price tag. All a university needs to do is download the free starter version of Moodle online and just like that they have a working LMS. Moodle essentially offers a website building tool that can be customized, page-by-page to fit different courses. It is more a simplistic approach to online learning in the way that is mostly involves a teacher loading the course information and the student reading the information and doing assignments (Moodle, 2015). There is very little interaction involved between the two. Unfortunately, the old adage “you get what you pay for” holds up with Moodle, and the cons of choosing Moodle greatly outweigh the initial free download that seems to be so appealing. The general set up is not very user friendly in Moodle and just getting the site going may require a technology professional to set it up, because the initial program is mostly bare bones coding (Yorkshire). Furthermore, these bare-bones set up offers little flair or accessibility in the way convenience features for either student or teacher, however add-on features, such as video chat can be added on for a certain price. In fact, Moodle offers 100s of Plugins that are either free or need to be purchased. The obvious disadvantage of this is the amount of time that would be spent customizing this system, with features, such as “grade book” or “plagiarism services” not initially included in the set up; the time it takes to fully customize every last detail of the software seems superfluous (Moodle, 2015). While is can be nice to be able to fully customize a system, with Moodle you pay for all the customizations that need to be done in a system that is not easily ran by the non-tech savvy. Moodle may be appropriate for a small group of users that only need the bare minimum to fill their educational needs, but on a large scale, such as a university the system falls flat.

References
The easy, flexible, and smart LMS| Brightspace. (2015). Retrieved September 5, 2015, from http://www.brightspace.com/ Moodle. (2015, August 1). Retrieved September 5, 2015, from http://moodle.org/
Yorkshire, T. (2010, October 31). Moodle: Effective or Flawed Learning System? Retrieved
September 5, 2015, from http://www.brighthub.com/education/online-learning/articles/94013.aspx

Learning Management System Request Proposal for University

Objective:
To integrate a learning management system into our university to enhance the way our current students access and track their information and educational tools. It must also give online enrollees an innovative and interactive learning tool to earn a degree without stepping foot in the classroom.

Functional Requirements:
a. Exceptional teacher and student interface.
b. Online tracking of grades and educational progress.
c. Reliable mobile application.
d. Content release software.

Technical Requirements:
a. Software must be easily integrated with current system.
b. System must be user friendly for both the technologically savvy and those with little technological skills.
c. System must be flexible, customizable, and open platform.

Other requirements:
a. Plagiarism detection software built in.
b. Basic messaging a must: email, instant messages, and discussion boards/blogs.
c. Student and staff security is paramount in this system; secure login for every user is a must.
d. Personalized student profiles with their current academic information consistently saved and updated.

Timetable:
a. The university is planning to integrate this system over the course of the 3 month lull in classes over the summer. Not to exceed 6 months total in the integration process.
b. Proposals must be received no later than March 31, 2016 at 11:59EST.

Integration:
a. Software must be able to seamlessly integrate with our current software in order to keep on schedule.
b. Minimal staff training required during integration.
c. Allow for future system growth.

Evaluation Criteria:
Proposals that meet the above mentioned standards and features will then be evaluated on:
a. Past customer retention.
b. Proposal presentation.
c. Pricing structure vs. product value and competitor rates.…...

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