USask is in the process selecting a new LMS solution that will meet current and future needs. With input from faculty members, two LMSs have been identified as potential solutions for the institution, Brightspace and Canvas. In winter 2019, we will be piloting Brightspace and Canvas with a final selection made at the end of the Winter 2020 term. A phased process of replacing Blackboard will begin in the fall of 2020.
Why are we making this change?
- The results of an instructor survey undertaken in the summer of 2019 told us our current LMS wasn’t easy and intuitive to use. Instructors were also not convinced it helped student engagement or expanded teaching approaches and had concerns about the available assessment, evaluation and collaborative functions.
- Both students and instructors have told us that our current LMS is not working well on mobile devices.
- A modern, cloud-based service will work more effectively with other technologies and services on campus, and require fewer “work-arounds” from everyone.
Volunteer to test potential alternatives
You can get involved in the coming academic year by volunteering to test Canvas and/or Brightspace in Winter Term 2020. This can be done through experimenting with some of the features in Canvas and/or Brightspace, participating in vendor workshops, helping test the usability of the tool, or participating in student surveys and focus groups. Faculty and student involvement in this selection process is essential in selecting an LMS that will meet current and future needs.
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.