Insidious pedagogy: How course management systems affect teaching


  • Lisa M. Lane MiraCosta College



Course management systems, like any other technology, have an inherent purpose implied in their design, and therefore a built-in pedagogy. Although these pedagogies are based on instructivist principles, today's large CMSs have many features suitable for applying more constructivist pedagogies. Yet few faculty use these features, or even adapt their CMS very much, despite the several customization options. This is because most college instructors do not work or play much on the Web, and thus utilize Web-based systems primarily at their basic level. The defaults of the CMS therefore tend to determine the way Web-novice faculty teach online, encouraging methods based on posting of material and engendering usage that focuses on administrative tasks. A solution to this underutilization of the CMS is to focus on pedagogy for Web-novice faculty and allow a choice of CMS.

Author Biography

Lisa M. Lane, MiraCosta College

A history instructor at MiraCosta College in California since 1989, Lisa M. Lane has been teaching online for over a decade. As founder of MiraCosta's Program for Online Teaching, she works with both novice and experienced online instructors, emphasizing the pedagogical foundations of distance education. She posts regularly at Lisa's Online Teaching Blog on issues of interest to online professors, instructional technologists, and teachers. Lane holds a Master's in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an Online Teaching Certificate from UCLA. E-mail her at


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How to Cite

Lane, L. M. (2009). Insidious pedagogy: How course management systems affect teaching. First Monday, 14(10).