Review of learning management system has begun

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and Information Technology (IT) are leading a review of Iowa State's learning management system (LMS) needs.

The license with the current LMS provider, Blackboard Learn, ends in December 2017. IT systems and operations director Mike Lohrbach said the current configuration of Blackboard Learn, hosted locally, has reached the end of its life span. Replacement options include a newer, cloud-based version of Blackboard Learn (Blackboard Ultra) or a different product.

Functions of a typical LMS include:

  • Managing access to syllabi and other course materials
  • Posting assignments, quizzes and tests
  • Maintaining a grade book
  • Providing written comments or messaging to students
  • Connecting to other learning tools such as Panopto, Top Hat and Class Climate surveys

"Moving to a new system will offer users a wider variety of features and capabilities to support student learning," said CELT director Ann Marie VanDerZanden. "For faculty who may not have used Blackboard extensively in the past, the change will be an ideal time to incorporate the technology into classes and course administration."

The LMS review will address the benefits and limitations of the current system and identify future needs in areas such as learning analytics and integration with other third-party products. An LMS review website is available for interested faculty, staff and students.

The review includes extensive outreach to campus stakeholder groups, including associate deans for academic programs, undergraduate and graduate student leaders, Faculty Senate members and college instructional designers. Central unit staff who work with the LMS also will be consulted, including the web accessibility coordinator, registrar's office, student disability resources, library, IT and CELT.

All may complete a short survey

All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to complete an LMS review survey to offer feedback on a future LMS. The survey will close on Dec. 1. Questions are based on the LEARN ecosystem report completed in 2014.

Review timeline

  • October-November: Gather input from stakeholders
  • December: Finalize request for proposals (RFP) for new system
  • January 2017: Issue RFP
  • February: Review RFP responses
  • March: Award contract
  • March-August: To prioritize transition and training efforts, identify fall 2017 courses that will use the new LMS
  • August-December: Identify spring 2018 courses that will use the new LMS to further prioritize transition and training efforts