Learning Management System Review Process – The Next Phase (Product Demos)

D2L-Blackboard-Canvas-01After reviewing results from surveys and open forums, examining data on current LMS usage at Missouri S&T, and collecting input from faculty representing a range of use cases, the LMS committee reached a unanimous decision on October 30th: Blackboard may not be adequately meeting the needs of Missouri S&T faculty and students, and should be evaluated against alternative learning management systems to determine the best fit for our campus.

The committee recommended that Blackboard and 2-3 additional LMS alternatives be evaluated in an actual course environment beginning as soon as January.

Educational Technology has invited two alternative learning management system providers to campus to showcase their products and answer questions from the campus community (students, faculty and staff).

Instructure Canvas will host a presentation on Wednesday, December 11 at 10:00 a.m. in the Turner Room of the Havener Center.

Desire2Learn will host a presentation on Tuesday, December 17 at 10:00 a.m. in the Maramec/Gasconade Room in the Havener Center.

All faculty and students are welcome to attend!

For more information and updates about the Learning Management System review process, please visit: http://edtech.mst.edu/teach/projects/lmsreview/

BLACKBOARD/LMS EVALUATION UPDATE

Educational Technology has been conducting an evaluation of Blackboard as a Learning Management System (LMS) suitable for this campus.

A committee was formed with instructors and students from across campus to answer the question “Does Blackboard meet the teaching and learning needs on our campus?”  The campus community had several opportunities to offer opinions and feedback through open forums and a survey.

The committee was unanimous in its decision that Blackboard and other Learning Management System alternatives should be evaluated and compared to determine which LMS would best meet the needs of the campus.

The committee recommends that—beginning as soon as January 2014—an additional 2-3 LMS alternatives should be evaluated, if possible in an actual course environment to more fully explore both Blackboard and the alternative products available.

Educational Technology is recruiting for the next committee in this process. This committee will meet with vendors, complete the evaluation of alternatives, listen to the campus community and make a recommendation to campus on which LMS should be used on campus.

We need your help!  If you are interested in being on this committee please contact Angie Hammons, Manager of Educational Technology, at hammonsa@mst.edu.

More information about the Blackboard / LMS review process can be found at:

http://edtech.mst.edu/teach/projects/lmsreview/

LMS review committee reaches decision

After reviewing results from surveys and open forums, examining data on current LMS usage at Missouri S&T, and collecting input from faculty representing a range of use cases, the LMS committee reached a unanimous decision on October 30th:  Blackboard may not be adequately meeting the needs of Missouri S&T faculty and students, and should be evaluated against alternative learning management systems to determine the best fit for our campus.

The committee recommends that Blackboard and 2-3 additional LMS alternatives be evaluated in an actual course environment beginning as soon as January.

To read the full report, visit http://edtech.mst.edu/teach/projects/lmsreview/resources/

Online Survey and Open Forum Winners Selected!

LMS Review Prize Winner

Participants in the LMS review’s online survey and open forums had the opportunity to enter for a prize after sharing their opinions.  The winners are:

Faculty

Dan Reardon
Amber Henslee

Students

Robert Fallon
Sonia Franz

Congratulations to the winners, and a big thank you to everyone who attended the open forums and filled out the survey!

Blackboard Open Forum Happening Now!

The 2nd Blackboard open forum is occurring now in the Havener Center atrium. Stop by and share your opinions in a visual voting format! The forum will continue until 1:00PM!

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Blackboard Review – Not Replacement

I wanted to take a minute to answer the question that I have been asked the most since we began this process for reviewing Blackboard.  Have we already made a decision to get rid of Blackboard and is this just a way to get a new LMS?  No. That is not the case at all.

When I started working at S&T over six years ago, my first assignment was to “make Blackboard better.”  As an educator my first question was, how did Blackboard affect teaching and learning?  I started working with instructors across campus, trying to understand their needs and whether Blackboard met or did not meet those needs.  Over the years, we have added different third party products in order to provide more functionality, but the overall question remains, Does Blackboard meet the teaching and learning needs of our campus?

About a year ago we began to evaluate all the tools used in teaching and learning on our campus (we call this our Learning Technology Portfolio). The objective was to see if we had any gaps or overlaps in our tools.  We wanted to make sure we were spending the money allocated for teaching and learning in the best possible way.  At the end of last year we had one item left to evaluate in the portfolio: Blackboard.  Do we or don’t we review? Many schools wouldn’t because it gets everybody excited on campus and it is labor intensive.  We decided that to truly evaluate our portfolio and be fiscally responsible we had to do a review.

Our objective with the Blackboard review isn’t to change to something different.  Our objective is to identify the needs of our campus for a learning management system (like Blackboard) and meet those needs as effectively as possible. We put together a committee of instructors and students.  We started a survey and have hosted two open forums.  The focused purpose is to determine what our campus needs from an LMS in order to help in the teaching and learning mission of our university.    The committee will analyze the information gathered from the survey and open forums and formulate a scoring guide or rubric that identifies all of the requirements for a learning management system. Using the scoring guide, we will score Blackboard to determine how it measures up to the needs of our campus.  The committee of instructors and students will recommend what the next steps are.  That decision will be what drives the next steps.  We want to make sure the students and instructors at S&T have the best possible technologies available for teaching and learning.

We want to hear from you. If you didn’t have a chance to take the survey or attend the forums, you can send an email to me at hammonsa@mst.edu.

–By Angie Hammons; posted by Joshua Woehlke

FINAL REMINDER: Blackboard Open Forum on October 2, 2013

Educational Technology will be hosting a second open forum about Blackboard and Learning Management Systems (LMS) in general on Wednesday, October 2, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the main atrium of the Havener Center. Students, faculty, and staff are all welcome to attend. Refreshments will be provided. Participants will be eligible to win a door prize.

If you have not yet taken the Blackboard/LMS Review survey, please take a few minutes to do so. Participants can elect to be entered into a drawing for a prize!

http://tinyurl.com/LMS-Review
(Survey is available until Tuesday, October 1, 2013)

Statement from EdTech on New Building Blocks in Blackboard and Other Technologies

Pearson Education recently sent an announcement to several instructors that a new building block for Blackboard was now available, similar to other publishing company building blocks (e.g. McGraw Hill Connect). We will not be able to deploy the Pearson building block at the beginning of the Fall semester 2012.

We here in Educational Technology (EdTech) are always excited with new technologies become available, but timing is often a critical issue for us. In this case, Pearson announced the release of their building block just before the beginning of the semester before we had a chance to thoroughly evaluate it.

Whenever new learning technologies are released on campus, we here in EdTech take three things into consideration:

  1. First and foremost, it must pass a thorough security audit to ensure that confidential student and faculty information is not compromised and that the integrity of the network will not also be compromised. We take both issues very, very seriously.The Pearson building block so far has not passed this first test to our satisfaction.
  2. New technology must also be tested to ensure that it will work well with the other technologies that have been installed on campus. This is often a very challenging process, but in most cases we are able to find an acceptable solution.Again, the Pearson building block for Blackboard does not meet our expectations for how well the technology will work from inside Blackboard.
  3. Finally, EdTech staff needs time in order to become familiar with the technology ourselves. We will not be able to provide adequate support to our campus community unless we have a thorough understanding of how the technology works, including any potential quirks. Our general preference is to have the technology made available to us (EdTech) in our development environment in the semester prior to its deployment to the production environment. In practice, this means that we want access to the technology in the Spring semester if it will be used in the Fall. This gives us the opportunity to test the technology, learn how it all works, and use the Summer semester as an early-adopter phase for some instructors.Once again, Pearson Education has not been able to meet this simple requirement despite our repeated requests.

Our commitment in Educational Technology is to provide the instructors we support with the best possible experience we can with the technologies that are available. Only when technology has met the three basic requirements above do we feel comfortable supporting it for the campus.

As always, we welcome all feedback from our campus community on this or any other educational technology issue.

REMINDER: Taking a hard look at Blackboard…how well does it measure up?

Do you think Blackboard should have features that it doesn’t have?  Are there things you like about Blackboard that you don’t want changed?  How well is Blackboard supporting your teaching and learning needs?  If you don’t use Blackboard, why or why not?

During the fall semester, Educational Technology will be working with a committee of instructors and students to evaluate Blackboard against S&T’s needs and expectations for a learning management system. The features of other learning management systems will be reviewed as well. The process will allow everyone to be heard through surveys and open forums.

Your input – what you like, dislike and wish for – is important to the project team! 

This process works best if everyone is involved. Here is your chance. The link below will take you to the survey to offer your opinion and feedback. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and let us know what you think. You will have the opportunity to enter your name for a prize.

http://tinyurl.com/LMS-Review
(Survey is now available until Tuesday, October 1, 2013)

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Educational Technology at edtech@mst.edu or Angie Hammons at hammonsa@mst.edu.