This page will be dedicated to keeping faculty and staff at the University of Lethbridge up to date with the Learning Management System migration process. Updates will appear below. Book mark this page if you would like to stay up to date.
Why are we changing Learning Management Systems
The University of Lethbridge began using the WebCT Learning Management System (LMS) in September 1999. In late 2005 WebCT was purchased by the Blackboard LMS company, which merged the two organizations in 2006. The Blackboard company has ceased further development of the WebCT(Blackboard CE) software, and therefore the U of L must replace our current LMS with another LMS product in the near future.
A move to the Blackboard Learn LMS, Blackboard 9, would be a major transition. Due to the magnitude of the transition, it was decided that it would be appropriate to evaluate competitive products to ensure the U of L invests in the appropriate LMS that will best meet the current and future teaching & learning needs of faculty and students.
How will the University of Lethbridge benefit from a new LMS?
- Improved reliability of the LMS
- Resolution of current defects
- Improved usability, accessibility, and efficiency for staff and students
- Added functionality and features
Progress to Date
In Fall 2009 a U of L Learning Management System Transition Steering Committee (see linked terms of reference) was established to investigate possible alternatives to our existing LMS system. Following the establishment of the steering committee a U of L instructor survey ( Survey | Summary Results ) was conducted to gather input and data to guide the selection process. An LMS technical working group was also created to evaluate the technical aspects of the available LMS products.
UPDATE: June 18th, 2010
In the course of the last year, a Transition Steering Committee (faculty) and an LMS technical group (support staff) have examined a number of possible alternatives to our existing LMS in terms of features, cost, ease of implementation, potential disruption, and future development.
Although the LMS replacement project is still underway, we wanted to take the opportunity to inform all U of L instructors of our progress to date. After considering a number of possibilities, the LMS Steering Committee unanimously approved the following motions at the June 18th LMS Transition Steering Committee meeting:
1. The current WebCT(Blackboard CE) LMS continue to be maintained and supported by the CRDC and IT for the 2010 – 2011 academic year.
2. That the University of Lethbridge adopt the Moodle 2.0 platform for the 2011-2012 academic year.
Moodle is an Open Source learning management system that is used widely by universities, colleges, and schools in Alberta and around the world. A survey of students indicated that it is by far the most familiar to incoming students at the University of Lethbridge. Moodle 2.0 offers superb flexibility and offers instructors the possibility of integrating external programs and services into their class space, in addition to supplying all the standard features and tools found in competing products. Adopting a proven Open Source system will also allow the University of Lethbridge to build valuable local expertise that will result in improved service and support for instructors.
The next steps of the steering committee will be to work with the CRDC and the LMS technical working group to develop a LMS transition timeline, a LMS transitional instructor support plan and a long-term LMS sustainability and software upgrade path.