higher education, evaluation, CMS, course management system, e-learning, distance learning, online learning, instructional technology, educational technology, blackboard, blended learning


Nearly all colleges and universities are using some form of e-learning system, usually an expensive course management system (CMS), to create online course offerings or to enhance regular, classroom-oriented courses. Our university has invested a large amount of resources into purchasing and supporting one of the two most popular CMS vendors, and it has become imperative to understand what the effects from using this technology have been, as well as how we can improve the integration of this and other educational technologies into different instructional contexts. This project, through a combination of surveys, call-log analysis, and interviews, was used to investigate the following questions: How has the implementation of a CMS (Blackboard) impacted students and faculty at the university? What are the benefits and challenges from supporting this tool on an institution-wide basis? Our findings conclude that instructors and students are moderately satisfied with the course management tool, but only if it is stable. However, for all of the features available through the CMS, there are only four features regularly used, primarily to increase the efficient transfer of information from teacher to student. We discuss the benefits and challenges reported by students and faculty, along with the acknowledgment that the tool has become critical to many participants' practices.

Original Publication Citation

West, R. E., Waddoups, G., Kennedy, M., & Graham, C. R. (27). Evaluating the impact on users from implementing a course management system. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 4(2). Available online at

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning




David O. McKay School of Education


Instructional Psychology and Technology