Our environment

elearning at Duke today

Many elearning tools are in use at one or more of Duke schools to support broad and specific needs. The wide range of elearning tools used at Duke includes:

  • Blackboard
  • Duke Capture lecture streaming
  • Duke Wiki
  • Webfiles
  • WebAssign (Chemistry)
  • WebWorks (Economics)
  • Streaming media
  • FuquaWorld & Duke Learning Platform (Fuqua School of Business)
  • Chalk&Wire ePortfolio Tool (some A&S programs, Divinity)
  • MediaSite, Maple TA (Pratt School of Engineering)
  • BlueDocs (School of Medicine)
  • Second Life (School of Nursing, some A&S courses)
  • Moodle (School of Nursing, Duke Global Health Institute [pilot])
  • WordPress MultiUser (pilot for Fall 2009)

Among these tools, Blackboard is the most widely adopted, currently in use by thousands of Duke courses each year. Course sites are created for over 2700 course web sites each semester; over 3200 course sites were activated by instructors in 2008-09. Duke first began using Blackboard ten years ago. A large majority of faculty in Arts & Sciences have used Blackboard for at least one course in the past academic year, and all of Duke’s professional schools (with the exception of Fuqua) use Blackboard to support a significant number of courses. Currently, Blackboard is used to meet a variety of needs including sharing documents and assignments,  discussion boards, grading, blogs, wikis, email lists, group project spaces, library resource guides, online testing and web-based audio recording. Duke’s existing commitment to Blackboard extends through the 2011-2012 academic year. According to the 2008 Campus Computing Survey, the Blackboard LMS is used by over 70% of private universities.1

Many institutions have begun to explore other alternatives, particularly in light of Blackboard’s market dominance and increasing maturity of open source alternatives including Moodle and Sakai. For example, in 2008, the Campus Computing Project survey reported that:

  • The number of campuses identifying an open source LMS as the campus standard had doubled in two years (from 7% to 14%)
  • The proportion of private four-year colleges using Moodle as the campus standard had increased by nearly 35% in one year (from 17% to 24%)
  • Nearly a quarter of respondents expected to adopt an open source LMS within 5 years (by 2013)

Given the wide proliferation of cloud computing and increasing ease of use of tools that once required specialized knowledge and skills, many institutions are also considering what role an LMS should play in their campus elearning infrastructure.


1. 2008 Campus Computing Survey. See “Background Information About LMS Deployment from the 2008 Campus Computing Survey.

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