Last week, the university Cabinet officially approved a proposal to change learning management systems from Blackboard to Brightspace by D2L. That transition process will officially begin July 1 of this year, allowing for a full year of overlap between the two systems. Our contract with Blackboard expires in June 2017 and we will be completely switched to Brightspace by July 1, 2017.
(Just to clarify something that may get a little confusing. In the past, the LMS was called Desire2Learn or D2L for short. Now, the company is called D2L and the LMS has been renamed to Brightspace.)
We have established a Transition and Implementation Team from across a number of university departments and offices. This team will develop and oversee the timeline and roadmap for helping transition students, faculty, and courses over to the new system across this coming year. D2L also has assigned us a Project Manager and an implementation team from their end who will work with us to ensure a smooth transition.
What are the main reasons behind this switch?
- A more intuitive, user-friendly interface with better tools for course design, incorporating media into course content, and grading
- 24x7x365 end user support for students and faculty
- Significantly financial savings (About half the price of our current contract)
- More mobile friendly
- Greater access to reporting/monitoring tools and data analysis tools
You will be hearing plenty more about this transition in the next few weeks, but the three main objectives of the Transition-Implementation Team are:
- Communication – ensuring frequent, effective, and useful communication during the whole project
- Training – everybody has had adequate and necessary opportunities for training in the mode that works best for them
- Course Migrations – carefully planned and well-supported migration of courses and course materials into Brightspace platform
For the time being, the main thing to know is that this transition will happen in stages. Not everybody will have to make the jump right away and not everybody will all do it at the same time. Some of you will happily volunteer to be early adopters. That’s great! You will have the opportunity to let us know so we can account for that in our planning. Others of you we may need to ask to adopt early because of a particular course you are teaching that needs to be migrated in the first phase. But that will all come in the communication as we go along.
I am excited about this transition as I believe it will help us have a better all-around experience, gain much-needed tools for our administration and support, all while spending a great deal less money. That’s a win-win!
So be on the lookout for more information coming soon.