Next LMS (Brightspace)

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.

Projected Timeline

Spring 2021 LMS review University-wide survey LMS sandboxes Winter 2021/22 Public procurement Brightspace selected March 2022 Implementation project Training planning April 2022 Vendor kick-off Technical integrations Early adopters program June 2022 Migration planning Exploration sites available "Project site" Early adopters program July 2022 Migration planning Exploration sites available July 2022 Training begins September General Availability, Academic Sites - third-party integrations and migrated content in progress October 2022 Migrated Sakai sites become availaing in January 2023 General Availability, All Sites - Integrations & migrated content available May 2023 Brightspace is Brock's primary LMS with expectations that all courses will now operate on Brightspace by Sept 2023 LMS Published: Wednesday August 10, 2022

Teaching With Brightspace for Fall/Winter 2022

Instructors may choose to teach with Brightpace 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.

Brightspace Training

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.

Explorer Sites

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 

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.

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.