The latest (hopefully not last) issue of The Technology Source has this great article by Jo Paoletti on the issue of course revisions within a CMS environment. She’s absolutely right when she says that “course maintenance and revision [have not been] on the horizon. It is time to put the latter on the agenda…”
The software change cycle and its effects on users is definitely not just an issue for CMS, it effects almost all software and one could say it is almost pandemic. Paoletti has a number of reasonable suggestions to start to address the issue within the CMS sector.
Interestingly, this is one area where standards for content re-use can and are helping – building content in a standards compliant way, and using a standards compliant CMS, can alleviate some of the more mundane issues that new versions bring, and it is an often overlooked ‘re-use’ for standards-based content. But as the article illustrates, there is much more to migrating a course between versions (let alone different CMS) than porting the content, especially if the content in part deals with how to use specific versions of the system, or when alternative means to accomplish functionally similar tasks have been used in earlier versions of the course but are later offered in the CMS. – SWL