Choosing a Robust, Flexible CMS

As mobile applications begin to be an integral part of e-learning solutions, it is increasingly important to have a robust, flexible and easy-to-use content management system (CMS). Not only will your CMS support the widest possible range of content types, including documents, audio, video, animation, multimedia and Web pages, it should also integrate well with other servers, databases and systems, including the learning management system (LMS), the learner information system, and the various cloud-based servers from which you’ll pull content for online programs and courses.

A good CMS is easy to use, and the workflows are intuitive and easy to follow, from file creation (with clear naming protocols and directory structure) to file sharing and automated notification processes.

Because the CMS constitutes the heart of the organization and is essential framework, the content must be accurate, the delivery consistent, and it must be easy to manage updates and changes.

At the bare minimum, a CMS should be able to:

>> establish easy-to-follow workflows;

>> allow the easy importation of files;

>> automate notices of changed content;

>> maintain version control;

>> enable automatic distribution of new docs to defined users; and

>> facilitate the integration of databases.

The following list contains a few examples of popular proprietary solutions. Most are Rackspace- or Akamai-ready, which is to say that they are cheerfully cloud-based. Many of the CMS solutions contain easy-to-use interfaces, even drag-and-drop, to make it easy to get started. Some, such as Centralpoint, have incorporated Single Sign On in order to allow the simultaneous log-in to all the relational databases.

At the same time, there is data mining capability in the ability to emulate customer relation management functions and develop adaptive and targeted mailing lists.

>> OpenText Web Site Management (Formerly RedDot): on a Java platform, works with Oracle, SQL Server

>> DotNetNuke: on ASP.NET – on SQL Server

>> Microsoft SharePoint Server on ASP.NET, with SQL Server or SQL Express

>> IBM Enterprise Content Management, with Oracle, SQL, or DB2

>> Percussion Software CM1: Java/MySQL/

>> Limelight: MySQL

A CMS is all about creating a framework that allows the useful and predictable manipulation of schema having to do with digital objects. It’s easy to get lost in the structure and forget that we’re in a time of rapidly evolving delivery systems, and that “going mobile” represents the leading edge of one or more sea changes. So it’s fairly short-sighted to think of CMS as only relating to content. It has to be delivery-friendly as well, no matter what, how or when the delivery manifests itself.

—E-Learning Queen (http://elearnqueen.blogspot.com) focuses on distance training and education, from instructional design to e-learning and mobile solutions, and pays attention to psychological, social and cultural factors. The edublog emphasizes real-world e-learning issues and appropriate uses of emerging technologies. The author of this post, Susan Smith Nash, is the Queen’s assistant.

As mobile applications begin to be an integral part of e-learning solutions, it is increasingly important to have a robust, flexible and easy-to-use content management system (CMS). Not only will your CMS support the widest possible range of content types, including documents, audio, video, animation, multimedia and Web pages, it should also integrate well with other servers, databases and systems, including the learning management system (LMS), the learner information system, and the various cloud-based servers from which you’ll pull content for online programs and courses.

A good CMS is easy to use, and the workflows are intuitive and easy to follow, from file creation (with clear naming protocols and directory structure) to file sharing and automated notification processes.

Because the CMS constitutes the heart of the organization and is essential framework, the content must be accurate, the delivery consistent, and it must be easy to manage updates and changes.

At the bare minimum, a CMS should be able to:

>> establish easy-to-follow workflows;

>> allow the easy importation of files;

>> automate notices of changed content;

>> maintain version control;

>> enable automatic distribution of new docs to defined users; and

>> facilitate the integration of databases.

The following list contains a few examples of popular proprietary solutions. Most are Rackspace- or Akamai-ready, which is to say that they are cheerfully cloud-based. Many of the CMS solutions contain easy-to-use interfaces, even drag-and-drop, to make it easy to get started. Some, such as Centralpoint, have incorporated Single Sign On in order to allow the simultaneous log-in to all the relational databases.

At the same time, there is data mining capability in the ability to emulate customer relation management functions and develop adaptive and targeted mailing lists.

>> OpenText Web Site Management (Formerly RedDot): on a Java platform, works with Oracle, SQL Server

>> DotNetNuke: on ASP.NET – on SQL Server

>> Microsoft SharePoint Server on ASP.NET, with SQL Server or SQL Express

>> IBM Enterprise Content Management, with Oracle, SQL, or DB2

>> Percussion Software CM1: Java/MySQL/

>> Limelight: MySQL

A CMS is all about creating a framework that allows the useful and predictable manipulation of schema having to do with digital objects. It’s easy to get lost in the structure and forget that we’re in a time of rapidly evolving delivery systems, and that “going mobile” represents the leading edge of one or more sea changes. So it’s fairly short-sighted to think of CMS as only relating to content. It has to be delivery-friendly as well, no matter what, how or when the delivery manifests itself.

—E-Learning Queen (http://elearnqueen.blogspot.com) focuses on distance training and education, from instructional design to e-learning and mobile solutions, and pays attention to psychological, social and cultural factors. The edublog emphasizes real-world e-learning issues and appropriate uses of emerging technologies. The author of this post, Susan Smith Nash, is the Queen’s assistant.

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