Guest post by Harold Powers, Project Manager, University System of Georgia, and a member of the Ask Dr. C program, a free question and answer service for Blackboard users. Harold flies gyroplanes and is building a Zenith 750 in his spare time, too.
As an LMS administrator, have you ever been asked about what you do at work? It’s pretty difficult to explain, right?
Although responsibilities vary from campus-to-campus, I think many of us have similar workflows and, with that in mind, I’ve divided them into three major categories. This might, once and for all, help explain what we do for a living!
- Create and Manage. These duties encompass things like enrolling and managing users, creating and organizing courses, and building institutional settings and functions. Other responsibilities, in this realm, include password management and course archival.
- Communicate and Coordinate. This is where many of us spend a great deal of our time. While wearing this hat, we monitor and report usage statistics, document institutional workflow processes (and improve them!), post campus wide announcements, and distribute acceptable use or security policies to our end users. Other tasks include communicating course archive policies to faculty and other staff, serving as LMS liaison on various campus committees, and coordinating with student information system administrators to ensure the course creation and enrollment happen on a timely basis.
In addition, it is necessary to coordinate with your IT department and make sure any upgrade or maintenance is effectively communicated to end users.
- Support. This category entails a broad range of services your institution may, or may not, provide. It often includes functional activities that are framed by the question, “How do I do this?” It also can include helping faculty build courses in an efficient and effective way. On some days, an issue can be resolved personally, or by your IT department, or by submitting it directly to Blackboard support. In many cases, we also run face-to-face training sessions for educators and staff, and create online training modules.
Whew! I set out to define the elevator pitch of a LMS administrator, and ended up listing many of the core facilities of our day-to-day profession.
For me, when asked what I do as an LMS Administrator, I have found the simplest answer to be “I help manage our institutions’ technology through the creation, management, communication, coordination and support of our e-Learning programs.”