Learning Management System Updates

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Rush University began evaluating its current Learning Management System in early 2019 with the development of a committee made up of faculty, students, and staff members.

Committee members:

Paula Jo Belice (CHS)
Beth Bolick (CON)
Melinda Earle (CHS & CON)
Aeja Jackson (Student)
Amber Kujath (CON)
Doug Kuperman (CHS)
Kathryn Osborne (CON)
Anna Semprit (IS)
Angela Solic (CTEI)
Tara-Ann Waller (Student)
Brenda Weddington (Registrar)
Matt West (CTEI)
Adam Wilson (MC)
Helen Wood (GC)


The Process

The LMS Review Committee developed a survey to evaluate institutional needs with regards to a learning management system; one survey was sent to faculty and one to students. After the needs were established, a Request for Proposals was written.  The committee decided that it was in the best interest of Rush University to focus its RFP on the two leading LMS vendors, Canvas and Blackboard.

Canvas provided all-day demonstrations on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.  Recordings of those sessions can be found below.
LMS Basic Overview

Faculty session

Student session

Canvas questions from Rush with answers (file)

Blackboard Ultra provided an all-day demonstration on Thursday, January 23, 2020. The recording below is one recording that lasted the entire day. Feel free to advance the recording to the appropriate place (7am overview; 9am faculty session; 10am open Q&A; 12pm student session; 1pm open Q&A; 2pm faculty session; 3pm overview).

Blackboard recording

Blackboard Ultra questions from Rush with answers (file)

If you watch one of these and would like to fill out an evaluation form, please email CTEI@rush.edu and ask for an evaluation form for faculty/staff or students.


Course import recordings

Blackboard 9.1 to Blackboard Ultra course import video

Blackboard 9.1 to Canvas Course import video

It is important to note that converting courses is not simple for either LMS choice. Both of them will require work and finesse. The university will be providing funds to help with course conversion and CTEI staff members will work very hard to help with this transition so that the workload is not 100% on the faculty member. 


Wish to get some hands-on time with each LMS vendor?

It is possible to get access to Playgrounds and sample courses in both Learning Management Systems. However, time to do so is limited. Please contact CTEI@rush.edu as soon as possible to request access.

The LMS Committee will be taking feedback from all faculty members who try BOTH Blackboard Ultra and Canvas by March 9, 2020.  If you spend time with both LMSs, please give the committee your overall experience, in written form, by emailing CTEI@rush.edu.


What are the next steps?

The LMS committee members are actively playing with both Canvas and Blackboard Ultra.
The CTEI instructional design team has been doing research from other institutions to see who transitioned to Ultra and who transitioned to Canvas and what that transition looked like. If you would like to see the information gathered from that research, access the file here.

The committee will use information gathered from post-demonstration surveys, faculty feedback from direct experience with both LMSs, personal experiences with both LMSs, and information gathered from other institutions to make a recommendation to the University Administration. The committee will be evaluating all of the data on March 12, 2020 and writing their recommendation to Administration on March 16, 2020.

At some point after March 16, 2020 the administration will make the final decision and begin the process of contract negotiation.

At this time, we will potentially begin the transition in the summer of 2020 with some courses running in the new LMS then, more added Fall of 2020, and the final push to the new LMS in January 2021. This timeframe is subject to change.