The Educational Value of Integrating a LMS and a SNS

The study investigated the educational value of integrating a Learning Management System (LMS) and a Social Networking Site (SNS). A LMS, Moodle, and a SNS, Mahara, (both open source) were used in the study. The two systems were selected because of the rich features they offer for educational purposes. In addition to providing robust features for education use, Moodle LMS was selected because Rhodes University uses a Moodle-based LMS called RUconnected (RUconnected) to manage the delivery of course and course materials to students to supplement classroom learning and many students are familiar with the use of the system, which made it easy for the students to use the system during the study.

The two systems were integrated through a single-sign-on(SSO) which enabled the students who were authenticated by Moodle to access Mahara through a link on the Moodle interafce without the requirement of being re-authenticated again. The users could also move back to Moodle from Mahara through a link on Mahara page without being reauthenticated. The system was tested with the students for a period of 5 weeks and they later provided feedback of the use of the system through a questionnaire which was developed for data collection during the study