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Queen's University

Centre for Teaching and Learning

What is a Learning Management System?

A Learning Management System may be best described as an online learning environment system that allows course administrators to create an online site for their course. On this site, administrators can customize the resources and tools available for authorized students to view and utilize as a supplement to learning.

For example, Learning Management System can allows users to:

  • Post course materials such as a syllabi, documents, PowerPoint presentations/slides, assignments and pictures for student access and download
  • Design a calendar with important course dates such as scheduled course times, due dates, test dates, etc., for students, TAs and instructors to use.
  • Facilitate discussion through online discussion boards, email systems, or chat rooms where course administrators, TAs and students can interact in an asynchronous or synchronous format
  • Facilitate student evaluation with online quizzes or surveys as well as track and view progress on evaluations through online marking tools
  • Collaborate through evaluation or group editing programs such as Moodle
  • Perform numerous other tasks similar to the ones listed above through a range of other tools that overall support or supplement learning

Learning Management Systems @ Queen's


Used for many programs across campus, Moodle is a password protected Learning Management System that may be used to manage and deliver course materials either in manner of supplements traditional teaching methods, such as lectures, or in a manner that allows for completely online-based courses. Queen's ITServices has a full guide to using Moodle, which you can access through the link:

Desire2Learn (Faculty of Education)

Deire2Learn is used by the Faculty of Education where students can access course materials and learning tools that facilitates collaboration and communication. To access Desire2Learn from the Faculty of Education portal, please visit:

MEdTech Central (School of Medicine)

Used by the School of Medicine here at Queen's University, MEdTech stands for "Medical Education Technology Unit". The goal of MEdTech is "for all learners to have ubiquitous access to curriculum information and interactive learning resources through a secure and user-friendly portal." The discipline-specific course management tool seeks to integrate effective technology into medical education, encourage active, self-directive learning and facilitate communication throughout the medical education community. For more information about MEdTech please visit:


QShare is a password protected online environment that allows for the storage, distribution, and sharing of files. For example, a Word document containing an essay or thesis work could be stored on QShare, not only serving as a form of backup, but allowing for the document to be viewed by colleagues, supervisors or other editors. All faculty, staff and students are entitles to access QShare and may do so through

For more information about QShare and the many ways it can be used, please visit:

Why Use Learning Management Systems?

Learning Management Systems facilitate learning by creating private learning communities for the exchange of information. Learning Management Systems also enhance student-administrator as well as student-student communication.

The numerous tools available to course administrators when designing and using Learning Management Systems allows for the creation of a very customized and flexible resource that meets course, administrator and student needs.

Students have found Learning Management Systems extremely useful in accessing course content. Posted lectures, assignments and other resources are not available to students any time, any where making Moodle an invaluable source of learning materials.

Strategies for Using Learning Managment System

The Instructor as a Choreographer

Intellectual Role Organizational Role Social Role Support Role

Development of intellectual materials and direction of the site

Eg. Posing questions on the discussion board plays a role to direct intellectual inquiry

Control of course structure, appearance and layout of the site

Provides direction and clarifies direction for students

Facilitation of a cohesive social network of users

For example, discussion boards promote debate collaboration and expansion of thought

Aid users in accessing and using the site

May range from providing technical support to acknowledging everyone is learning new skills together

The Role of a Learning Management System in your course

Learning Management Systems can be used to differing degrees thereby serving a range of different roles to your course. Your level of experience with course management tools as well as your expectations of them in relation to your course(s) will help you establish the way in which you will use this resource in your teaching. Consider the below questions when considering the specific course management tool you will be using:

Do I want this tool to have a supplement role to my course?

In the supplemental role, Learning Management Systems allow students to access course materials such as the course syllabus, an assignment schedule, or instructor contact information. While these materials are useful to students they are not critical to the course and therefore the course management  toll plays a role in supplementing a traditional classroom learning environment

Do I want this tool to have an essential role to my course?

In an essential role, the student cannot be a productive member of the course without regular access to the course management tool being used as most of the course content and materials are provided through the tool.

Do I want this tool to have a communal role to my course?

In providing a communal role, the course management tool is set up to build a community of learners where students are expected to make consistent use of materials and learning activities that are designed to create this communal environment.

Do I want this tool to have a virtual role in my course?

In this role, students rarely meet in a traditional classroom setting; instead the course is delivered primarily or completely through a course management tool. All course materials, learning activities, and assignments are accessed and completed through the tool. Students may play a role in generating course content through discussions, real-time chats and presentations.

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