Learning Management Systems Evaluation and Transition
For a summary of Chico State’s process, surveys, evaluation and reasons for our recommendation, as well as a timeline and list of new features, please see our slide show.
Chico is looking forward to leveraging Learn's improved focus on these four main themes:
- Fostering Student Engagement
- Supporting Educator Efficiency
- Delivering Open and extensible learning
- Connecting student instruction with overall institutional improvement
Chico State's Learning Management System (LMS), Blackboard (formerly WebCT) Vista, will reach the end of its lifecycle in January 2013. A committee comprised of faculty and Academic Technologies staff reviewed potential LMSs during Spring and Fall 2010, narrowing down the choices to Moodle 1.9 and Blackboard Learn 9.1. The committee conducted interviews with other campuses using these LMSs and surveyed faculty and students on our campus. Faculty were also given demonstrations and provided with LMS "sandboxes" so that they could rate the functionality and usability of the systems as well as compare how well course content migrated. A recommendation was presented to the Provost and Council of Academic Deans that Chico State move forward with Blackboard Learn 9.1 which includes Community and Content Systems for increased functionality and ease of use
Why are we changing LMS?
Vista has reached the end of its vendor support cycle and hasn't had new features or functionality developed in recent years. Blackboard Learn 9.1 offers a host of exciting new teaching and learning functions while respecting the work faculty have already done building courses in previous systems.
How is the new LMS different from Blackboard Vista?
In addition to being fully supported and in active development by Blackboard, the new LMS Learn 9.1 has many improvements and new features to improve teaching and learning. View the feature gallery for an overview of some new features and attend one of the upcoming informational meetings for more detail (see above).
When will Chico adopt Blackboard Learn 9.1?
A tentative timeline would have Learn 9.1 available to faculty in Spring 2012. Blackboard Vista will available to all faculty as the main campus LMS at least through the Spring, Summer and Fall 2011 terms, and possibly longer. More details will be announced when the plan is finalized and presented.
Will faculty have to rebuild online course materials from scratch?
No. Similar to the way WebCT 4.0 courses were able to be imported largely intact into Vista, courses from Vista can be imported into Learn 9.1. Specific features, course layout and new capabilities may require some training and redesign, so the Technology and Learning Program will provide migration strategies, workshops, and many other resources to assist faculty with this transition.
If you are interested in the evaluation process, we have an LMS mindmap (PDF) available and a Fall 2010 Evaluation Rubric (PDF) that we were used in our analysis to evaluate the many aspects of an enterprise LMS. You can also read the LMS Crossroads blog which documents this process.
Chico was an early leader in changing LMS back in Fall 2005 to WebCT's Vista product from the earlier Campus Edition version. We were making the change while Blackboard purchased WebCT. This LMS migration project was an enterprise project recognized on this campus as the fourth module to the ERP change to Peoplesoft which included the SIS, Human Resources, and Finance. The LMS project plan and coordination engaged more people on campus than the previous LMS projects and planning had ever done before on a technical, administrative and academic level. You can see more about the 2005 committee’s work in the TLP website.