LMS Review

LMS Review Logo

The Office of eLearning and Innovation in partnership with the Tech Governance Committee is leading an LMS Review.  The purpose of this review is to analyze different LMSs in order to determine which LMS best fits the needs of Tri-C. Click here to check Task Force progress.

We completed the “downselect” process on 11-21-14.  Blackboard, Canvas, and Desire2Learn/Brightspace are the three systems we are continuing to test and analyze.  Find the full blog post with all related information here.

Want the video short version?  Check it out here:

Video link for LMS Review update video

The Short Version of What We’re Doing:

  • Tri-C is going to be looking at LMSs to assess if our current system (Blackboard) is our best fit, or if another LMS is our best fit.
  • The process was initiated in Spring 14, continued throughout Summer 14 with vendor demos and project tasks.
  • Experimental sandboxes will occur from December – March 2014 with a decision on the LMS (Blackboard or other) in March 2014.
  • Pilots will be conducted in Summer 15. Concurrent systems (new LMS AND old LMS if a change is made) will run Fall 15 and Spring 16. As of Summer 16, all courses will be in the new LMS (or Blackboard).  It will be a 2 & 1/2 year process.
  • The initial planning phase was handled through a the Tech Governance LMS Review Team.  A full LMS Review Taskforce has been convened with faculty, staff, and students.
  • We have had surveys, interviews, and focus groups with faculty, students and staff to gather initial data.

Want a visual calendar of the process?  Check it out below.

Interested in the initial demos? Refer to this blog post with all the details.

What is an LMS?

An LMS is a Learning Management System.  It is the technology platform on which online and blended courses, supplemental course sites, and organization sites are housed at Tri-C.  Currently, Tri-C’s LMS is Blackboard Learn 9.1.

Why an LMS review? 

Tri-C has used Blackboard as its LMS since the late 1990s.  At the time, Blackboard was one of only a couple of options for LMSs.  Many new LMSs have been created in recent years.  Different LMSs have different strengths and weaknesses, and the Office of eLearning and Innovation is excited to lead a transparent and inclusive process whereby all stakeholder groups have opportunity to contribute to the institution’s choice of LMS.  Blackboard will be included as one of the LMSs that will be reviewed according to faculty, student, and staff needs.  It is not a foregone conclusion that we will not select Blackboard.  We are looking at finding our best fit for students and faculty, focused on teaching and learning.

What are the assumptions that will guide our review?

There are several assumptions that are guiding the investigation into a possible new LMS implementation at Tri-C.  They are:

  1. The current LMS (Blackboard) may or may not be the best institutional fit for an LMS.  This can only be determined by a review of all feasible LMSs.
  2. There will not be an LMS that matches perfectly with the college’s needs.
  3. Only with a thorough review of enterprise-level LMSs can we determine what the best institutional fit for the needs of students, faculty, and staff will be.
  4. The process must be inclusive.  All are encouraged to participate and provide feedback as we conduct a needs analysis, prioritize our needs, and implement a rubric-based selection process.

Find a synopsis of the process HERE. Note that this document will be updated with feedback from faculty leadership and the Core Group.

Check out the comparison doc!

Analysis of LMS Categories of Function


Help us create our FAQs!

Got a question? Share it with us. It’s likely other faculty or students may have the same question. Use the comment feature on the blog to let us know what information we need to get out to folks. The more minds we have working together, the better this process will be.

Faculty perspective from other institutions – needing assistance!

If you know any fellow faculty at other institutions in Ohio that use an LMS other than Blackboard, please email Sasha.Thackaberry@tri-c.edu so that I can reach out to connect us with more info on LMSs from the faculty perspective. We don’t just want the vendor’s view and information. We want to know what it looks like for the instructor, day-to-day, in class with students.

17 thoughts on “LMS Review”

  1. I taught at another institution that choose Moodle without adequate training. I tried to convert my BB science course. The “roll over” was a complete disaster, especially the assessments. My courses are run by chapter not by modual. My chapters are grouped into 3 distinct sections based on the exams. Moodle would not let me do this. Moodle also would not let me create folders to keep the clutter down. It would not let me compartmentalize anything. It was “all in your face”. There were no separate “Discussion Board”, Messages, or create your own tabs. Thus quizzes, lectures, and supplemental items were all on the same page! Also, it listed every student enrolled in any course like Facebook does with your “friends”. The issue was that most were not enrolled in my class. You could not maneuver your own students up to the top. You literally had to scroll down the column to find your students. The technical support was nil to none. We need to be reminded that the authors of Moodle are Australians and they teach a different way than we do in the U.S.
    I frequent UNC-Charlotte campus and have asked many students which system they liked or preferred. I have yet to meet a student that likes Moodle. It has been a unanimous….”please bring BB back…”. Having been exposed to Moodle first hand, reinforces my loving BB.

  2. Hello,
    I teach in Blackboard, I find Quizzes and tests difficult to construct, grading threads in the forums awkward if you are trying to follow a discussion for grading it, it seems like I always have to upload another Blackboard window and go back and forth between views.However, I enjoy working in Blackboard, and each updated version is more improved and “user-friendly.”

    1. Thanks for the feedback Tracy! Be sure to check out the feedback for as well so that we can combine your thoughts with that of other faculty. – Sasha

  3. Hello,
    I teach in Blackboard, I find Quizzes and tests difficult to construct, grading threads in the forums awkward if you are trying to follow a discussion for grading it, it seems like I always have to upload another Blackboard window and go back and forth between views. On the other hand copying elements between older semesters and current ones is easy in Blackboard. Also downloading the class list in BBrd is a pain. Just my thoughts, you asked:)

  4. I have been using Blackboard since 2005. I found it to get better and better. In its current state, it allows me to do a lot to make my classes engaging and presentations more deliverable. I recommend that we stick to it at tri-c. – Wei

    1. Thanks for the feedback! You can also use our feedback form so that we can grab more details from you on your experience. Getting opinions like yours help inform the project. Please help us out and encourage fellow faculty to “follow” our blog so that they stay informed when updates occur. We want to make sure everyone has a chance to weigh in throughout the project. -Sasha

    2. Oh, by the way, if Blackboard can function to auto-send an announcement to student emails, it will be great. Right now, I think, the announcement email can only be sent out when the choice box is clicked and submitted. When the announcement is pre-programmed, no email is sent when the clock clicks. – Wei

      1. Professor Huang,

        Hi! While the “email immediately” option does not work with scheduled announcements, students and faculty have the option to set up Notifications in Blackboard. Using notifications each user can opt in to get an email when an announcement posting, or other activity occurs. You can set Notifications by going to the Global Navigation Menu and selecting settings.

  5. I have taught numerous courses using Blackboard and I find the interface extremely clunky and outdated. It inhibits discussion and cannot even allow for a copy/paste from within the site. Students who are very media savvy are continually frustrated by how slow and counter-intuitive the system is. I hope very much that we choose to go with an alternate system. There must be better choices out there.

    1. I agree with movingstudio we need to update the Blackboard, he is my reason. I was involved in a group project this semester and we used blackboard in class to discuss the project. We had no way of knowing in the group discussion if someone responded to our post (most forums have now days) is an instant notification like how this blog works. We also need to look at groups link on MyTri-c which has a lot of the same faults. Students, clubs need a forum that we can have discussions. In Philosophy club I have used my own SMF forum for the club to have discussions.

      Another issue with black board is my assignment disappeared at midnight, when I protested to the instructor she said it was set to disappear even though the syllabus allowed one letter grade for each day late. I look for traditional classes and stay away from web based classes. Blackboard is only a support device not a teaching device.

  6. I am an older student returning to college, (OU), to complete my nursing degree, while continuing to work full-time. The only way to do this was on-line learning, Initially this process was very difficult, but with the support associates calling 1-2 times a week to check with me was a “god send” if it were not for this I would have quit. This support person spoon-fed me through the hard times with the computer. I was computer illiterate, but with help managed to proceed through the learning process.. The information was provided and you basically taught yourself through reading the text assignments, viewing lecture, if provided, watching videos, researching articles, and computer search for materials to complete assignments. The APA format was challenging as anything else new, and we were on our own, which the support associate was very helpful with providing a brief sample of APA format. The discussion boards were helpful at times, with other students help, but the response time for questions to the TA/instructor was not very timely, which I can understand, since they are not always on the computer 24/7.I can’t say enough for the support team, they are great. I will graduate this May 2014, upon completing this elective through Tri-C. Yeah!!!!!! Thanks to the support associate which I have developed a friendship with, and still keep in touch with her via the e-mail, a whole-hearted thank you!

    I feel support team help should be initiated with any on-line learning as an added feature to on-line learning.

    1. Linda – Great points all. Getting that support is critical!

      I’m actually going to link to a great resource from OWL on APA, but our librarians are really the local experts on that, as well as instructional faculty. Find that APA chart HERE.

      Online support is so critical for student success. We hope to be able to provide even more support in the future! – Sasha

  7. I have taken several online classes. In general, I love it! However that is because I have had the privilege of video lectures.
    A fellow classmate is currently experiencing a complex class (Writing) without any recorded lectures. For us right-brained folks, Navigating everywhere for mass readings and directions is frustrating, confusing, time consuming and a nightmare!
    **** This classmate is currently considering dropping out of college, due to this experience!****
    I strongly recommend mandatory lectures on video for Blackboard. A large percentage of students are right-brained dominant, and ADHD. Please also consider the possibility of many students struggling, without the knowledge of possessing a learning disorder! It wasn’t until college that I became aware that I am dyslexia in math, and have ADHD. I am 41 years old!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story Diana! It is so valuable to hear directly from the students. Video lectures are a great option – for exactly the reasons you mentioned. We have some standard tools to help faculty with that, including Camtasia Relay – which is lecture capture – and Adobe Presenter for narrated PPT presentations.

      What you mention about different types of learners is exactly what something called “Universal Design” is all about. Find more info on Universal Design for Learning on their homepage linked here. The central concept is that by designing a course for learners with specific needs, you’re actually improving the course for all learners. Please have your friend who is considering dropping out of college call one of our counselors! We don’t want that to happen! We want every student to succeed. Please email me directly if this friend can’t access that resource. I will personally connect her with one of our excellent counselors. Sasha.Thackaberry@tri-c.edu

  8. I as an older student with five campuses have seen a lot of systems but traditional in class instruction is the best and only classes I will take. I have seem professor write and write only to not understand the question. I think online is for reference but we need more traditional classes. The only aspect you might improve is getting an email when a member of your group commented on the project in group discussions. Just like this posting has an follow up why does blackboard never or Tri-c groups not have a follow up. You also need to do more for clubs so they can interact with follow up email on post to forums.

    1. Hi Ron – Thanks so much for sharing! eLearning is not for everyone. I’m actually a student myself (at Kent State), and a working mom. For me, if it wasn’t for online and hybrid/blended courses, I wouldn’t be able to be working on my PhD. Different what we call “modalities” are best for different types of students with different needs. Some of what you’re sharing has more to do with the specific classes that you ended up in rather than “online learning” in general. It can be incredibly engaging and effective. But for you, it sounds like face-to-face is best. It’s great that you have discovered that for yourself and are committing to the best learning methods for yourself. Get that degree or certificate:) Jobs for joy! – Sasha

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Cuyahoga Community College

%d bloggers like this: