Development of these systems has been the coming of age for external students, no more feeling isolated now we can converse with lecturers and fellow students, check progress with online tests, follow weekly timetables, web stream lectures and print materials. My experience through CQU has been with Blackboard and this term with Moodle. It is easy to see the difference with Moodle being able to incorporate more UTube, web links and animations. Whereas Blackboard was more traditional with layout and content.
My challenge has been with access and bandwidth in a small rural town, the slowness or non access can be frustrating and expensive. Sometimes if it didn't work I had to walk away and try again tomorrow, which can really disrupt your study schedule.
Main advantages - engagement, inclusion and self management of study, access to everyone with a computer and broadband access.