Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version

Fall 12-2011

Document Type



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies, Under the Supervision of Professors James King and Allen Steckelberg. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2011

Copyright (c) 2011 Kathleen Eitzmann


This is a phenomenological research study about a college that is changing course management systems for online courses and the experiences that the full-time faculty go through during the transition from one course management system (CMS) to another.

Colleges are seeing a student enrollment shift away from the traditional classroom toward the online environment. This demand in online learning means colleges have to offer more online courses, train more faculty, and support the technological requirements of online learning. Many colleges purchase a course management system to support their online courses. When a college changes the course management system, faculty must learn a new system and transition their courses into the new CMS.

The research question was: What are the experiences of online faculty as they transition from one course management system to another? From sixteen interviews, three themes emerged. The themes related to training, technology, and workload.

The essence of the study was that this transition was an emotional change process for faculty. From the results, a process chart is developed and the recommendations include methods to reduce the emotional impact on faculty members.

Currently, there is little research about the effects of changing course management systems. More studies need to be done with faculty, students, and distance programs to gather more data about the effects of changing a CMS.

Advisors: James King and Allen Steckelberg