Integrating learning management and social networking systems
Learning Management Systems (LMS) have become ubiquitous tools in support of both
classroom and distance education programming. They bring significant advantages that digitize and
automate many of the functions and pedagogical activities of traditional campus teaching. At the same time
social networks have become ubiquitous tools for communication, entertainment and informal learning by
both students and teachers. In this article we examine the characteristics, strengths and limitations of both
toolsets and the ways in which innovative distance educators are attempting to merge the best qualities of
each. We conclude with a case study of one such integration from Athabasca University in Canada.