An update on the learning management system review

Information Technology and the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) are continuing their review of Iowa State’s learning management system (LMS). Faculty, staff and students can assist now by reviewing a proposed list of required elements for vendor proposals and offering feedback by Jan. 31.

CELT director Ann Marie VanDerZanden and IT director Mike Lohrbach are co-leading the effort to determine the university’s future teaching and technological needs. Iowa State currently uses Blackboard Learn, hosted locally on university servers. That license ends in December 2017, providing an opportunity to evaluate the newer, cloud-based version of Blackboard Learn — and explore alternative products.

Processing campus input, developing RFP

VanDerZanden and Lohrbach conducted six listening sessions with faculty, instructional support staff, graduate and undergraduate student leaders, and central staff whose work interfaces with the LMS. Additionally, more than 330 employees, including 270 faculty, offered input through an online survey.

An LMS review steering committee was established, with representation from the Faculty Senate, faculty, college instructional support staff and procurement services. It also includes CELT and IT staff. Members are:

  • David Cantor, College of Business
  • Denise Crawford, College of Human Sciences
  • Lisa Gestrine, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Steve Holland, College of Engineering
  • Eric Johnson, procurement services
  • Zayira Jordan, accessibility coordinator, IT
  • Jacob Larson, IT
  • Zhen Li, IT
  • Steve Lonergan, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Emily Morgan, College of Design
  • Annette O’Connor, Faculty Senate and College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Gary Ockey, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Allan Schmidt, CELT
  • Amy Ward, CELT
  • Mike Wilson, IT

Based on the listening sessions and survey, the committee developed a list of required and preferred elements for a request for proposals (RFP) to ensure that vendors address specific needs. These elements include the broad categories of course management, migration, mobile capabilities, learning analytics, accessibility, technology and integration.

The required and preferred elements list, part of a draft RFP, is posted in CyBox. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to provide comments about the list through Jan. 31 (a link to a comments site is provided).

Next steps

The RFP will be issued in February, with a proposal deadline of March 10. The current plan is to choose two to four vendors who would provide campus demonstrations after spring break. The steering committee will collect and evaluate input on the demonstrations before making a decision in April.

For more information on the LMS review, contact Lohrbach (mlbach@iastate.edu) or VanDerZanden (vanderza@iastate.edu)