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Pepperdine | Community

LMS Study Initiative

Letting your voice be heard. Charting the next path to the Courses LMS at Pepperdine University.


The Learning Management System (LMS) Study is a University-wide initiative to measure the efficacy of and satisfaction with the University LMS, Courses (powered by Sakai). While Courses remains an active and innovative platform, it is important for Pepperdine to periodically assess its learning management system. We want to provide our students, faculty, and staff with a feature-rich solution for traditional, hybrid, and online teaching formats. To this end, the Technology & Learning team routinely partners with our TechLearn Faculty Steering Committee to assess the community's satisfaction with the Courses LMS, ideas to improve the platform, and comparisons with alternate systems. The LMS Study happens every 3-5 years.


In 2011, Pepperdine University selected Courses (Sakai) as its learning management system (LMS), and the platform has served us well. In 2018, two years prior to the July 2020 contract renewal, the TechLearn team facilitated an evaluation of the LMS market to compare options to our current solution. The 2018-2020 LMS Study was selected by IT as one of its IT Annual Strategic Initiatives at the time.


This study was conducted based on the following goals:

  • Understand the student experience by assessing how students interact with content, resources, assignments, assessments, faculty feedback, and their peers.
  • Enhance teaching and academic rigor by exploring which tools faculty believe facilitate the highest quality of student engagement and learning.
  • Expand online learning to provide new contexts for collaboration, communication, and community.


The 2020 LMS Study was guided by the IT Leadership Council and the Faculty Steering Committee. It was carried out in multiple phases (see the full LMS Study Timeline). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the LMS Study was concluded earlier than originally planned.

Overall, preliminary community feedback was favorable about our current platform, and the community suggested ideas for improvement. The University will continue with Courses (powered by Sakai) as its primary LMS, investing in planned upgrades or enhancements over time.


If you have any questions related to the study, please see our FAQ.