Developing, Deploying, Using and Evaluating an Open Source Learning Management System

Heinz Lothar Grob, Frank Bensberg, Blasius Lofi Dewanto


Every modern institution involved in higher education needs a Learning Management System (LMS) to handle learning and teaching processes. It is necessary to offer e.g. electronic lecture materials to the students for download via the internet. In some educational contexts, it is also necessary to offer internet tutorials to be able to give the students more personal support and accompany them through the whole lecture period. Many organisations have introduced commercial LMS and gained the experience that monolithic solutions do not fulfil the dynamic requirements of complex educational institutions and are very cost-intensive. Therefore, many universities face the decision to stick to their commercial LMS or to switch to a potentially more cost-effective and flexible solution, for instance by adopting available Open Source LMS. Since we have made profound experience in developing and operating an Open Source LMS, this contribution enlightens the main characteristics of this alternative. This paper describes a use case dealing with a full product lifecycle (development, deployment, use and evaluation) of an Open Source LMS at the University of Muenster (Germany). It identifies relevant instruments and aspects of system design which software architects in practical application domains should pay attention to.

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