Blackboard has been USask’s primary learning management system (LMS) for more than 10 years. During this time, university teaching and learning has evolved, and so too has the learning technology marketplace. We are taking an opportunity to look at available options to select a new LMS solution will meet both our current and future needs.
Why are we making this change?
Our current contract with Blackboard is up and it is time for us to assess our options to ensure we have an LMS that meets our teaching and learning needs. The outcomes of this assessment will result in some change in our LMS environment. We need your input to ensure the change ultimately improves learning and teaching at the university.
In our instructor survey in the summer of 2019, you told us Blackboard wasn’t easy and intuitive to use. You weren’t convinced it helped student engagement or expanded teaching approaches and you had concerns about the available assessment, evaluation and collaborative functions.
- Both students and instructors are telling us that our instance of Blackboard is not working well on mobile devices.
Volunteer to test potential alternatives
You can get involved in the coming academic year by volunteering to test potential alternatives in Winter Term 2020. This can be done through experimenting with some of the features or even trying one of the systems in your class.
Faculty and student feedback is essential as we select the new LMS in the summer of 2020.
What are the principles and how will we use them?
Our Learning Charter outlines the teaching and learning approaches we’ve committed to as a campus community. The 8 principles are research supported characteristics of effective digital learning spaces that prepare students for work and life, and they are aligned to our charter. We’ll use the principles to help consider the various LMS options and pick the best one for USask. Of the 8, our instructor survey told us ease of use and accessibility are the two most important principles for USask instructors. As a result, instructors will have the winter term to try different systems and give feedback about their ease of use and accessibility.
Learning must be found easily at any time, and all learners and teachers have equitable access, regardless of culture, language, ability etc.
- Active and social
Learning is a process of meaning-making, constructed through learning with others, and as a part of an intentional, deliberate system within a course and across experiences.
- Designed for reflection and growth
Learning is refined and extended through prompted and supported opportunities to focus on understanding and next steps.
- Designed for the student who are remixing and/or creating
Learning is most effective when systems are designed to help learners find, create, and/or repurpose significant content for the value of themselves and others.
- Designed for student control and ownership of learning
Learners create and control spaces for learning, understanding and retaining ownership, and purposefully choosing how and when they share.
- Efficient and easy to use
Learners need to work is a system that is fluid and requires a minimum number of steps in systems that are intuitive and integrated.
- Designed to enable connection
Learners exist in accessible networks, and connect to the experiences, concepts, people, and ideas that they need.
- Inclusive of learning-centered assessment
Learning and feedback are iterative, and assessment comes from multiple sources, including self, peers, teachers, and outside experts.