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screens displaying Blackboard surrounded by question marksA review committee invites responses to a survey on the University’s learning management system.

Input sought in review of learning management system

The University of Windsor has accomplished a lot with its Blackboard learning management system, says Erika Kustra, director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and input from users will advance that progress.

Kustra is co-chair — with Nick Baker, director of the Office of Open Learning, and Ryan Kenney, executive director of Information Technology Services — of a committee tasked with reviewing Blackboard.

The Learning Management System Review Committee, a multidisciplinary team of faculty, staff, and students, aims to collect as much data as possible from community stakeholders, vendor engagement, and environmental scans to inform decision-making.

“Over the last 18 months it has become clear just how critical learning management systems are in higher education as the hub of digital learning,” says Baker. “All the major LMS have moved to hosting in the cloud to improve reliability, scalability, and support. With Blackboard also moving in that direction, it is time to review the system and the impact such a move would have.”

The University of Windsor has used Blackboard Learn as its LMS since 2015. The company has announced it will no longer support the University’s self-hosted model of Blackboard as of the end of 2023. Continuing with Blackboard will require significant work to switch to its cloud-based software as a service model. The changing landscape and the expiration of the University’s contract with Blackboard makes it an appropriate time to review campus needs.

The team is inviting faculty, staff, and students to participate in a 20-minute anonymous survey on the usability of current tools, desired features, and anticipated needs.

It is important to capture the perspectives, needs, and aspirations of users from across the campus community, says Jasleen Dayal, president of the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance.

"By participating in this survey, students will also have the chance to give direct and detailed feedback on their experiences using Blackboard, which will play a crucial part in selecting an LMS we can feel confident in to support the future of our online learning for years to come," she says.

Upon completing the survey, participants will have the option to enter a raffle draw for one $250 Amazon gift card and five $50 Amazon gift cards. The survey has been approved by the Research Ethics Board and will conclude Oct. 15.

For more information about the LMS Review and how to get involved, visit https://uwindsor.ca/ctl/lmsreview.