As I begin to study Course Management Systems (CMS) for a class in my Masters program at Full Sail University, I can't help but see a connection between the large scale CMS programs being discussed and what my students and I can create (and in some cases have created) for my course using a blog and a wiki. In a way, the course sites have become a personal version of a CMS.
The National Learning Infrastructure Initiative (NLII) identified five learner-centered principles (http://net.educause.edu/nlii/mappingthelearningspace/2954) that lead to "deeper learning" in the learning experience: social (feedback and interaction between learners and instructors), active (peer and expert feedback), contextual (learner-centric design), engaging (individualized learning), and student-owned (some degree of self-control).
Through a comment section and added chat window, the site can become social and active for my students. It is contextual in the fact that students can explore the links and information in any order but it has also allowed me to build a visually interesting and somewhat interactive site. This also makes it more engaging for many of my students, although I do not think they are given multiple paths to all of the information. Finally, with a connection to the wiki the site is student-owned in many respects.
The study of CMS has lead me to further examine what I do with my own web presence for my students and courses. This will also be valuable to me as I develop my media project in the coming weeks. Keeping the sound CMS principles in mind will help guide me to a stronger and more powerful learning environment. Hopefully, one that leads to deeper understanding of the content.