General availability of Brightspace, Brock University’s next LMS, has begun.
On April 6th, 2022 Brock University announced 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.
Teaching With Brightspace for Fall/Winter 2022
Instructors may choose to teach with Brightspace or Sakai for the Fall/Winter of 2022. A guide to help with choosing which LMS is best for your course is available.
To assist in this transition all active Brightspace sites will automatically be given a matching Sakai site directing participants to Brightspace. These sites are updated daily and require no instructor intervention.
Instructors are welcome to sign-up for Brightspace training and workshops offered by CPI.
Students are welcome to sign-up for Brightspace training and workshops offered by Learning Services.
Brightspace Explorer Sites are now available for all faculty and staff. Explorer sites give you an opportunity to get into Brightspace and start exploring available tools and features. These specific sites are not intended for teaching. Access your Brightspace Explorer Site by logging into brightspace.brocku.ca
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.
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.
Availability of Sakai Content
Sakai content has been automatically converted from Sakai and imported into Brightspace. Instructors are being given access to their migrated content department-by-department. Instructors will be added to their full collection of 2018FW to 2022SP/SU sites by teaching department. This process has started with WRDS-UG and WGST-UG and will conclude with ABED-UG and ABTE-PS across all 150 teaching departments.
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.