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Blackboard is the new learning management system the University of Windsor has implemented, bringing the state of the art technology to campus and is one of the most popular learning management systems used around the world. 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 are switching to Blackboard Learn (replacing CLEW) for Fall 2015. The remainder of the transition to Blackboard for Engineering, FAHSS and Science occurs for the Winter 2016 semester except for some courses where instructors have chosen to start using Blackboard early. In the meantime, these three Faculties will continue using CLEW for the fall semester. For more information about the transition, please visit the Blackboard Learn Project website.

In the News

An article in our Daily News discusses the Fall 2015 transition to Blackboard and who will be impacted [1].

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 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.

Additionally the announcement for the shift from the Sakai based operation system entitled CLEW, to the new Blackboard Learn System has been featured in a Campus Technology article. There, the author states that the University of Illinois is also shifting to Blackboard Learn as their preferred LMS platform and is moving away from their current system originally built upon Blackboard Vista.

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 summarized 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 organizations 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.

Acting Provost Academic, Vice-President Dr. Robert Orr sent an email on February 5, 2015 to campus instructors providing an overview of the Blackboard Learn project.

Going Forward

It is anticipated that it will take a year or more to complete the move from Sakai to Blackboard Learn. As such, the LMS Team will be running both systems in parallel until the move is complete. Visit the project timeline for the phases and anticipated system implementation targets.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section will continue to evolve as needed and as details become available.

Will the Blackboard Learn LMS replace CLEW?

Yes. Blackboard Learn will be the University's new Learning Management System, replacing CLEW. There are many reasons for this, and this new tool will provide faculty with a wealth of options for teaching - not just online, but also for face-to-face and blended courses - that are just not possible in CLEW. Essentially, you will have all the same functionality but with additional tools and functions.

Is all of our current course material transferable between CLEW and Blackboard Learn?

We designed a tool to avoid data loss called CLEW Import, but there may be some configuration changes necessary to the content that has been copied over. It was very important to the CLEW Team that what you have now in CLEW is able to be replicated in Blackboard as closely as possible. Tools with migration options include: Announcements, Assignments, Syllabus, Resources, Lessons, Quizzes & Tests (MS Word copy of test only), and Discussions / Forums. Of course, you will notice differences in the way different functions are handled in Blackboard compared to CLEW. For example in CLEW there are two separate tools for facilitating discussions online, as there are for student emails, and these will be unified in one tool in Blackboard. Additionally, 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.

When will Blackboard Learn be available to campus?

The first courses from the Centre for Executive and Professional Education went live in Blackboard in Fall 2014 for a very small group of courses. The system is now ready for use on the campus, with Faculties of Education, Human Kinetics, Law, Nursing and Odette School of Business selected to transition for Fall 2015. Some instructors from the remaining Faculties may choose to adopt Blackboard also, for the Fall. Winter 2016 will complete the move with FAHSS, Engineering, and Science transitioning.

How Accessible is Blackboard Learn?

Below are links to helpful information about Blackboard Learn's Accessibility features including a screen reader tutorial. The University of Windsor is using Blackboard Learn, version 9.1. Blackboard Learn's Accessibility statement

Universal Design Course in Blackboard

Online Universal Design course

A short video (7:20) features the "Perspectives on Disability ECP Course Tour" Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) 2014, award-winning Blackboard site. This video talks about course design and elements of Universal Design for Instruction and how they intersect using Blackboard as an LMS. Students were given opportunities to express their mastery of content in various ways and as this was a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) assessments were of the form of badges of completion vs. grading.

Blackboard Conformance Statement

Blackboard Learn's Conformance Statement details user activities which conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Priority AA, as issued December 2012 by Deque Systems. Visit the Understanding Conformance Claims article for W3C for more information.

I didn’t know about this transition. What has been shared with campus about this?

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 realized 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 website.

Other Dates and Occasions Information Sharing on Campus

The following table indicates dates and selected groups where details about the transition to Blackboard has been shared.

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
More dates will be posted when they become available

Will there be training for using Blackboard Learn?

Yes. Training has been available since March 2015. Face-to-face sessions can be found at

Online courses are also available. Faculty Specific sessions have been occurring on campus since April. Check out the

past offerings.

Where are we at in this process now?

Right now, the system is ready for use for the fall courses. There are still many tasks to complete. Check out the timeline for the project for further details.

Blackboard Index

Access the main index for Blackboard Learn articles.

Related Articles

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