- 1 Overview
- 1.1 History of the Transition to Blackboard
- 1.2 Decision Making Instruments
- 1.3 References
- 1.3.1 Some Articles Behind the Decision for Blackboard
- 1.3.2 Frequently Asked Questions
- 2 Related Articles
Blackboard is the learning management system the University of Windsor has adopted as of Winter 2016, bringing the state of the art technology to campus and is one of the most popular learning management systems used around the world.
History of the Transition to Blackboard
The initial pilot group for the LMS was the Centre for Executive and Professional Education, and their Advanced Qualifications courses were ported over to Blackboard Learn during the summer of 2014. The Faculties of Education, Human Kinetics, Law, Nursing and Odette School of Business switched to Blackboard Learn (replacing CLEW) during Fall 2015. The remainder of the transition to Blackboard for Engineering, FAHSS and Science occurred for the Winter 2016 semester. More details on the project are found at http://www.uwindsor.ca/bbproject. Finding, implementing and adopting technology on campus is a constantly evolving process. There are many factors, stakeholders, phases and structures that are considered before, during and after a significant shift in technology occurs. As part of an ongoing quality control process, the learning management review (LMS) occurred, beginning in 2011. As a result, the decision to adopt Blackboard Learn was made in April 2014. Details on the history, decision, related news items, and frequently asked questions follow below.
In 2011, a CLEW Campus Survey at the University of Windsor was administered to inform the decision-making process needed in an LMS Review. This study and a subsequent needs assessment helped to form the criteria to determine what the LMS requires to serve the campus through the next phase of strategic development. Many campus stakeholders were represented on the LMS Review Committee including a faculty member and members of the Centre for Teaching and Learning, Office of Open Learning, Information Technology Services, Leddy Library, and Finance. The group has been analysing essential, important and desirable ("nice-to-have") features available on various learning management systems, including the University's current system based on Sakai, to help address the ongoing and evolving needs of all of the campus community.
From the LMS Review process, and through collaborations with St. Clair College, Blackboard Learn was chosen as the campus Learning Management System. The official announcement about the move to adopt Blackboard Learn as the University of Windsor's official LMS took place on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at Campus Technology Day. In the "University of Windsor Replaces Existing LMS with Blackboard" press release of June 16, 2014, Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning and Chair of the LMS Steering Committee Dr. Alan Wright stated, "We need to invest in technologies that facilitate new ways of teaching and learning and align with the strategic directions of the University.” An important factor in this final decision was the new IT Vision developed by the IT Steering Committee. The campus IT Vision is now governed by a vendor-driven philosophy, which the IT Steering Committee arrived at after extensive consultations with members of the campus community. An additional critical factor was the efficiencies and cost savings realised by a joint licence arrangement with St. Clair College.
Decision Making Instruments
Below, are the instruments used in the decision-making process. Faculty and staff were given one version of a CLEW survey, with questions related to their enhanced use of the system as a site administrator, while students were given another form of the survey based on being consumers within a course environment.
Additionally, the criteria to conduct a full LMS review are available from the LMS Assessment Guide below.
The CLEW Survey was administered to the campus in November of 2011. In total, 1024 students and 292 faculty / staff responded to the survey. Questions contained in the survey are available in the attachments below:
The Final Report summarising the findings of the survey can be found below:
CLEW Survey Final
LMS Assessment Guide
The LMS Assessment Guide was based on the CLEW Survey results and the Gap Analysis and was informed by grids used in previous institutional analyses.
The criteria to select a system for the campus are contained in the attachment below. There are over 300 items to be evaluated, based on feature need criteria of E = Essential, I = Important, and N = Nice-to-have. The systems evaluated were rated with a numeric value of 0 = Not Available, 1 = Poor, 2 = Average, 3 = Good, and u/k = Unknown.
Making strategic decisions about technology not only support the existing activity but to direct transformation for the next generation of development in a university is a complex, expensive and risky activity (Bates & Sangra, 2011). Several factors influence final decisions with respect to choosing an LMS including:
- Funding and Policies (Institutional and External)
- Systems Integration (Internal and External)
- Campus Software Support Culture (Open-source in-house development vs. vendor supported)
- University Strategic Direction (Differentiation, Teaching and Learning, Research, Retention)
- Stakeholders' Needs (Internal - Students, Faculty, Staff), (External - Prospective Students, Researchers, and Collaborations)
- Local to Global Post-Secondary Education Trends (Analytics, Access, Accountability, Risk, Collaboration)
- Online Education Approach, Practices, and Pedagogy (Enhanced, Blended, Totally Online, MOOCs, Future Development, Access)
Bates, A.W. & Sangra, A. (2011). Managing technology in higher education: Strategies for transforming teaching and learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Some Articles Behind the Decision for Blackboard
An article featured in the Daily News on June 19, 2014 articulates some of the many benefits of adopting a system like Blackboard Learn, including digital literacy, contemporary communication capabilities, and independent learning. In addition to the many new tools and features available in Blackboard Learn that were missing from CLEW, Blackboard Learn has an integrated virtual classroom, Collaborate, already available to instructors for virtual classroom and online meeting space needs.
Michael Feldstein, a past member of the Sakai Foundation Board of Directors, commented on his blog e-Literate about some significant recent Blackboard developments announced at the BbWORLD 2014 conference. Feldstein is considered to be an e-learning expert by a variety of media outlets, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Associated Press, and U.S. News and World Report. He summarised in his article "Blackboard's Big News that Nobody Noticed" some reflections about significant changes in store for Blackboard institutions including overhauling the user experience (Major UX Overhaul), technical advances, cloud implementation, bundled products and new mobile app. These announcements spell good news for those organisations adopting or using Blackboard, such as the University of Windsor. It is especially important when industry insiders like Michael Feldstein take note of the changes, new products, and philosophy emerging within the Blackboard ranks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens to my CLEW site materials?
We designed a tool to avoid data loss called CLEW Import, and you are welcomed to use that tool in any Blackboard site. Find the CLEW Import tool in the Control Panel -> Course Tools section. You can request new Blackboard course shells for archival purposes of previous material by submitting a Service Request to request a site at http://www.uwindsor.ca/bbhelp. Include a name you wish for each site you require and your UWin ID. Tools with migration options include - Announcements, Assignments, Syllabus, Resources, Lessons, Quizzes & Tests (MS Word copy of test only), and Discussions / Forums. You may need to spend some time formatting and restructuring previous materials when migrated to the new Blackboard Learn system. Some tools were not possible to copy content over due to the incompatible structures between the systems. You will have until December 2017 to copy your materials over to Blackboard and then the CLEW server will be archived, and not available to log into.
How Accessible is Blackboard Learn?
Blackboard Learn's Accessibility article details Blackboard's commitment to ensuring accessibility has been designed at all levels of their software. Blackboard states "Our products are designed and developed in accordance with the internationally recognised Web Content Accessibility (WCAG) Guidelines 2.0 Level AA as well as the Section 508 standards in the United States. A third party conducts regular audits of our software to ensure quality expectations are met and maintained". More links to specific topics such as VPAT conformance and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA conformance audits are found in this Accessibility article.
The official announcement about the decision to adopt Blackboard Learn as the University of Windsor's official LMS took place on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at Campus Technology Day. In the "University of Windsor Replaces Existing LMS with Blackboard" press release of June 16, 2014, Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning and Chair of the LMS Steering Committee Dr. Alan Wright stated, "We need to invest in technologies that facilitate new ways of teaching and learning and align with the strategic directions of the University.” An important factor in the final decision was the new IT Vision developed by the IT Steering Committee. Currently, the campus IT Vision is governed by a vendor-driven philosophy, which the IT Steering Committee arrived at after extensive consultations with members of the campus community. An additional critical factor was the efficiencies and cost savings realised by a joint license arrangement with St. Clair College.
An article featured in the Daily News on June 19, 2014, articulated many benefits of adopting a system like Blackboard Learn, including digital literacy, contemporary communication capabilities, and independent learning. In addition to the many new tools and features available in the new LMS, Blackboard Learn will integrate seamlessly with the existing Blackboard Collaborate tool already available to instructors for virtual classroom and online meeting space needs. Blackboard Learn has also released an article about the University of Windsor's decision to adopt Blackboard Learn.
More information on the transition to Blackboard is available on the http://www.uwindsor.ca/bbproject website.
Other Dates and Occasions Information Sharing on Campus
The following table indicates dates and selected groups where details about the transition to Blackboard was been shared between 2014 and 2016 when the transition was completed.
|Date||Event or Occassion|
|June 19, 2014||Daily News Article|
|August 11-15, 2014||Training Help Desk Consultants, training offered LMS Advisory and Teaching and Learning Chairs|
|August 22, 2014||Training of CEPE Instructors (Pilot Group)|
|October 25, 2015||Training of CEPE Instructors (Pilot Group)|
|October 30, 2014||AcademicPolicy Committee (APC): presented CTL Annual Report presented by Alan Wright, (mention of Blackboard Learn transition)|
|November 2, 2014||Training of CEPE Instructors (Pilot Group)|
|November 13, 2014||IT Steering – Bala, Alan and Ryan presented update on BB Transition project|
|November 14, 2014||Senate - CTL Annual Report, presented by AlanWright, (mentioned Blackboard Learn)|
|November 19, 2014||Dean's Council|
|November 24, 2014||IT Services - Technology Update presentation, including transition to Blackboard Planning, Administration Executive Committee (PAEC)|
|November 25, 2014||Campus Services|
|November 28, 2014||Human Kinetics|
|December 2, 2014||Registrar's Office|
|December 10, 2014||Faculty of Law|
|December 11, 2014||Facility Services|
|December 12, 2014||Odette School of Business|
|December 15, 2014||Graduate Studies|
|December 15, 2014||LMS Advisory Committee|
|December 17, 2014||Schulich School of Medicine|
|December 18, 2014||IT Advisory Committee|
|January 8, 2015||Faculty of Science|
|January 8, 2015||CTL Teaching and Learning Development|
|January 9, 2015||Online Education UTC Course began|
|January 12, 2015||Faculty of Nursing|
|January 13, 2015||Open Training Sessions Begin - Early Adopters|
|January 15, 2015||Faculty of Education and Academic Development|
|January 19, 2015||Faculty of Engineering|
|January 19, 2015||LMS Advisory Committee|
|January 22, 2015||Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences|
|January 29, 2015||PAR|
|February 5, 2015||Email from Provost to Instructors|
|February 5, 2015||Blackboard Project Website announced|
|February 19, 2015||Introduction to Blackboard Course-Instructors Email|
|February 24, 2015||Leddy Library Committee - Blackboard Integration|
|February 27, 2015||Computer Science School Council|
|March 2, 2015||Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP) - Learning Outcomes Workshop|
|March 4, 2015||Email to Deans|
|March 16, 2015||LMS Advisory Meeting|
|March 21, 2015||Early Adopter Email update|
|March 24, 2015||Migration Morning instructor sessions begin|
|April 1, 2015||Early Adopter email update|
|April 10, 2015||Concentrated two-day Blackboard Training - Early Adopters Begins|
|April 16, 2015||FEAD Faculty Council Meeting|
|April 17, 2015||Faculty Specific training workshops begin|
|April 29, 2015||Dean's Council Meeting|
|May 6, 2015||Open sessions Instructor Training begins|
|May 7, 2015||Campus Technology Day|
|May 15, 2015||FEAD Faculty Council Meeting|
|May 17, 2015||Online Courses for instructors available|
|May 29, 2015||Odette School of Business Faculty Council Meeting|
|June 1, 2015||Nursing Faculty Council Meeting|
|June 10, 2015||Law Faculty Council Meeting|
|June 22, 2015||LMS Advisory Meeting|
|June 22, 2015||Fall 2015 instructors email update|
|August 6, 2015||New Faculty instructor training|
|August 7, 2015||LMS Advisory Meeting|
|August 12, 2015||Daily News article about transition|
|August 14, 2015||HotNews message posted to MyUWindsor portal about the transition|
|August 17, 2015||Social Media through PAC sites post information about transition|
|August 17, 2015||Announcement / Email announcing the transition, Student Orientation course, and links in both systems sent to all registered students|
|August 17, 2015||Announcement / Email announcing the transition, semester checklist, and Student Orientation site set to all instructors, GA/TAs in Bb Cafe Organization site|
|August 20, 2015||Daily News article featuring students' perspectives on using Blackboard over the summer|
|August 26, 2015||Help Desk Staff training|
|September 3, 2015||GATAcademy - GA / TA training|
|September 4, 2015||Email - Announcement and Email settings - sent to all instructors, GA & TAs from Bb Cafe site|
|September 4, 2015||Email - Mobile app, notifications, and reminder of which Faculties are transitioning for Fall 2015 - sent to all registered students|
|September 8, 2015||Drop-in sessions for Q & A begin for Faculties of Education, Law, HK, and Odette for instructors and assistants. (9.5 hrs Education, 35 hrs Law, 20 hrs Human Kinetics, 16 hrs Nursing, 17.5 hrs Odette)|
|September 21, 2015||LMS Advisory Meeting|
|September 30, 2015||Women's and Gender Studies - Training|
|October 2, 2015||Training provided to Help Desk staff|
|October 6 - 31, 2015||Grade Centre specific training and drop-in sessions offered to OSB, Law, Education, Nursing, Human Kinetics|
|October 8, 2015||Presentation - FAHSS Faculty Council Meeting|
|October 9, 2015||Presentation - Languages, Literacies, and Cultures AAU Council Meeting|
|October 15, 2015||Workshop - Odette School of Business - Threshold Concepts and Blackboard workshop|
|October 23, 2015||Presentation - Political Science AAU Council Meeting|
|October 30, 2015||Presentation - Dramatic Art AAU Council Meeting|
|November 2 - December 22, 2015||Getting Started Training and drop-in sessions begin and offered to FAHSS, Science|
|November 2, 2015||LMS Advisory Meeting|
|November 4, 2015||Presentation - Philosophy AAU Council Meeting|
|November 5, 2015||Presentation - Faculty of Science Council Meeting|
|November 6, 2015||Presentation - Creative Arts AAU Council Meeting|
|November 13, 2015||Presentation - Communication Media & Film AAU Council Meeting|
|November 13, 24, 2015||Engineering Getting Started Training offered|
|November 17, 2015||Presentation - Psychology AAU Council Meeting|
|November 19, 2015||Email all instructors - Tips for wrapping up Fall Bb Courses, Preparing Winter 2016 Courses|
|November 25, 2015||Presentation - Social Work AAU Council Meeting|
|December 7, 2015||LMS Advisory Meeting|
|December 4, 2015||Email all instructors - Getting Ready for Winter 2016 Tips|
|December 22, 2015||Email all instructors - Holiday Recess Bb Tips - Preparing for Winter 2016 Courses|
|January 4 - January 15, 2016||FAHSS, Science and Engineering specific drop-in sessions begin (11.5 hrs FAHSS, 15 hrs Engineering, 15 hrs Science, 16.5 hrs All)|
|January 4, 2016||Email all instructors - Drop-in sessions available|
|January 25, 2016||LMS Advisory Meeting|
|February 8, 2016||Announcement / Email all instructors - New features available (Auto-groups, Roles)|
|March 7, 2016||LMS Advisory Meeting|
|March 18, 2016||Email instructors and assistants regarding migration of Project sites to Blackboard Organization sites|
|April 11, 2016||Announcement / Email all instructors - End of semester help available|
|April 18, 2016||LMS Advisory Meeting|
|May 5, 2016||Reminder email about migrating contents from CLEW to Blackboard sent to instructors in CLEW (CLEW Collaboration Announcement)|
|May 30, 2016||LMS Advisory Meeting|
|All Faculties currently transitioned to Blackboard|