As Oregon State University continues to redefine the model of the 21st century land grant, we are actively assessing our methods of instructional delivery and the tools needed to help faculty deliver quality instruction and to help students meet desired learning outcomes.
Find out more here about OSU’s evaluation of a learning management system (LMS) that best serves our needs for innovation, flexibility and performance.
Q. What are we doing?
A. In December 2013, OSU issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Learning Management System. We received four proposals in January and conducted a comprehensive review process of those proposals to select candidates that best meet our teaching and learning needs. Of the four proposals, two leaders emerged: Canvas by Instructure, and Blackboard, our current LMS provider. The OSU community can evaluate each of these systems hands-on throughout Spring term 2014. Read on to find out more about the evaluation activities.
Q. Why are we doing this?
A. Our goal is to ensure that OSU has the best system to meet our diverse needs, and that we are well positioned to adopt and integrate innovative solutions to support teaching, learning, communication and collaboration.
Q. What is the timeline for evaluating the systems and making a decision?
Canvas and “Blackboard 14” – the updated version of Blackboard we are evaluating – are now available in “sandbox” systems that have been set up by the vendors specifically for OSU’s hands-on review.
All OSU students, instructors and staff are encouraged to log into each of the “sandbox” systems, try out the features and functionality, and provide feedback via surveys and focus groups. In addition, we have 16 recruited instructors to teach a Spring 2014 course in a sandbox system (either Canvas or Blackboard 14). Live courses will provide an excellent opportunity to determine how well a candidate system meets the needs of our teaching and learning community.
We plan to announce the award in Summer 2014, after considering all feedback from instructors, students and administrators, as well as technical and financial analysis by subject matter experts.
Q. Who is reviewing the systems? How can I get involved?
A. There are three primary groups who will deliver structured feedback: the project Core team; OSU instructors, students and staff; and a group of Specialists.
- The Core team is a working group that is executing the campus-wide review and evaluation process, and is providing communication and coordination to ensure we complete all activities on-schedule.
- OSU instructors and students will access the sandbox systems, submit surveys, and participate in focus groups. The Core team is working to ensure all areas of OSU have an opportunity to participate: Cascades; Ecampus, Extension. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can be involved, please contact Lynn Greenough: email@example.com
- Specialists are subject matter experts who will review targeted areas of the proposed systems. Specialists will ensure the evaluation teams have sound recommendations on areas such as disability access, system security and performance, and integration with other OSU systems.
Q. How will the final decision be made?
A. The Core team will analyze all feedback and specialists’ analysis gathered during the Spring term evaluation process and draft a summary report of the findings. Based on the feedback, analysis, and evaluation criteria outlined in our RFP, the Vice Provost of Information Services will consult with leaders in Faculty Senate and Instructional Governance Committee to make a recommendation. This recommendation will be submitted to OSU’s Provost for review and final decision.
Q. What will be the impact on users if we change LMS?
A. If we select Canvas, OSU will develop a comprehensive implementation and rollout plan to migrate courses to the new system. We do not anticipate completing the migration in a compressed timeframe, but details have not been defined. Instructors will have time and support needed to migrate their courses to a new system. The implementation will include training for all users, and a rich offering of help documentation and tutorials.
Q. What does a learning management system do for teaching and learning at OSU?
A. It is true that learning management systems require resources to purchase, use and maintain. They do not necessarily meet all needs of all users. However, given OSU’s broad geographical and curricular range, and our mission as a land grant university, a learning management system presents several critical benefits:
- It offers students 24 x 7 access to course material and real-time feedback on assignments and assessment scores.
- It provides a secure FERPA-compliant platform for course delivery, communication and collaboration.
- It is integrated with Banner to validate that enrolled students can access course material; instructors have current enrollments of students in their course sites.
- It serves as a foundation for OSU’s learning environment of technology, tools and integration to other systems (e.g., publisher content; educational resources shared with other institutions; multi-media repositories).
- It provides a way for the university to assess how effectively we are reaching academic goals.
- It provides students with a consistent and familiar framework to access course information and gauge their progress in multiple active courses.