Next LMS

On April 6th, 2022 Brock University announced that that the next university-wide Learning Management System (LMS) will be D2L’s Brightspace – Brock News Article

On October 27, 2021 Brock University’s Senate endorsed a plan for Brock University to acquire a new Learning Management System (LMS).

Through a competitive process, we are seeking a modern, cloud-based, Learning Management System (LMS) and corresponding implementation services.

Brock University is planning to conduct a phased transition to our next LMS. General availability of Brock University’s next LMS is planned to begin in August of 2022, while maintaining access to Brock University’s legacy LMS during the transition. The transition will start with a series of limited pilot offerings for the new LMS in the second quarter of 2022. Brock University’s current Sakai-based LMS will be fully retired before the end of the five-year contract.

Projected Timeline

LMS Timeline: Spring 2021: LMS Review, University-wide survey, LMS sandboxes Winter 2021/22: Public procurement, Brightspace selected March 2022: Implementation Project initiation, Content migration planning and execution, Training and documentation planning April 2022: Project Kick-off with vendor, Technical integrations, Early adopters program, exploration sites available June 2022: Training of Instructors & TAs September 2022: General Availability, Phased decommissioning of Isaak/Sakai January 2023: Full Deployment

Early Adopters

Instructors have responded to the call for Early Adopter courses in Brightspace. The Early Adopters Program is an opportunity for instructors and students to give formative feedback into how Brightspace is implemented at Brock University.

Explorer Sites

All faculty and staff will be given a Brightspace course shell to explore Brightspace hands-on before regular courses are offered in Brightspace.

Availability of Integrated Services

Part of what distinguishes a modern LMS is its role as a hub for other integrated services. The link below provides an update on the status of integrations as they become available in Brightspace.

Reports

For more information on our LMS Review university-wide consultation activities and results see the three reports linked below:

Requirements

The Resource Selection Team, created by Senate on March 3, 2021, consulted with the Brock University community, and compiled a list of specific priority and feature requirements of a modern LMS that Brock University’s current Sakai-based LMS does not meet, these are:

A modern, straightforward, familiar interface

The most salient theme across all consultations is the need for an intuitive and user friendly LMS. After experiencing a variety of other systems, the Brock faculty, staff, and students reiterated that the most-liked features are ease of use or navigation (specific to creating and building a course), the aesthetics of the system (desirable layout), and intuitiveness.

 

Ease of content creation

The Brock community desires intuitive and effortless content creation and navigation through prioritizing processes such as: automating tasks, simplicity in completing tasks, and allowing for content and options of their choosing.

 

Integrated and interactive dashboard

The ability to see a snapshot of each course in one place, identify deadlines and outstanding assessments, and view an integrated calendar and checklist, allows students and instructors to stay organized and focus their attention on top priorities.

 

Seamless integration of multimedia

Video and audio content are a crucial aspect of online teaching and learning. The ease of upload of multimedia content (audio, videos, images) into the LMS is the most important feature when it comes to site and content creation for faculty, staff, and students. More specific features such as simple submission of video and audio content for assessments, and providing video and audio recorded feedback to students were mentioned as desirable aspects.

 

Robust grading and feedback tools

The high usage and the importance of these tools supports the notion that a robust grading and feedback feature is foundational to the LMS. This includes annotation, bulk editing, import/export of grades, event log in gradebook, grader notifications and specific file type submissions.

 

Complementary mobile experience

One of the most significant challenges with Brock University’s current Sakai-based LMS is its lack of a platform-specific mobile app. Members of Brock University community expressed an interest in the integration of LMS-based calendars and notifications with mobile phones.

 

Ease of content migration

When considering a change in the LMS one of the most important considerations that faculty, staff, and students have noted is the need for an easy import/export of content between sites, other LMSs, and related technologies. The short-term success of a new LMS will be primarily judged by the migration experience.

 

What about Sakai? 

Sakai has served Brock University since 2007 and will continue to operate through Fall/Winter 2022-23.

One of Brock’s advantages during this review process has been the open-source nature of Sakai which will allow us to run two systems at one time. However, long term, there are significant ongoing resource costs associated with using two platforms, and two systems provides a less than ideal student experience.

The experience and feedback from the Early Adopters and Exploration Sites programs, along with the evaluation of the process of automated conversion of content from Sakai, will have a big influence on Brock’s plan for Sakai after Fall/Winter 2022-23.

Once feedback is available from the Brock community during the Spring and Summer terms, a more detailed support plan for Sakai will be developed.

Work has already begun to make the period of time while two LMSs are in operation as easy to navigate as possible for the Brock University community.