Last term I explored using a brand new EdTech tool call Coursekit.com that was a free online alternative to Blackboard. I was teaching two sections of my Creativity in the Workplace class and I put both sections on it, after asking the students if they were game to test it out. It went well.
It was brand new and still a little rough around the edges but the feedback from the students was that they liked it better than Blackboard, which they are all familiar with because it is heavily used at MRU. Coursekit is interesting because it is free to use, well supported and developed by university students. It was the last characteristic to attracted my attention the most. I was intrigued with how university students would design a better LMS.
This summer Coursekit was renamed to LORE.com and received a significant facelift. It is very student and community centred. Not unlike Facebook. I found it the most useful to get the students to share with each other, which is not easy to do in Blackboard.
You need to check it out if you are looking for an alternative to your institutionally provided LMS. What is great about LORE.com is that it is designed to be adopted at the instructor level so you don't have to try to talk your institution into adopting it. And your students can use their Facebook logins to log in to LORE.com so they don't have to manage another login.
I don't think I will be using it this year because now that we have Google Apps for Education, I am going to be designing our course sites using Google Sites and Groups. These are more mobile device friendly, too.
If you have used LORE.com, post a comment about it.