Key Points “If travel to campus is difficult we will announce an electronic way for you to teach your students in their residence halls or homes using a combination of Blackboard, conference calls and other technologies.” “Please make sure now that all your classes are activated in Blackboard with your name as instructor of record and with the class syllabus. Whether or not you use Blackboard regularly these preparations will be crucial in an emergency.”
Our Initial Response: Bb We auto-provision a Bb course for every course in the schedule of classes that has an assigned instructor or teaching assistant. Courses are unavailable by default. We have an institution license for Blackboard Mobile Learn.
Why Not Managed Hosting? Our data center services the entire Pacific Rim. –Colo –HPCC –Shoah VHI Bb is only a part of USC’s much larger business continuity strategy.
Why Evaluate LMSs? It is a standard practice in academia to periodically reevaluate LMS options and opportunities, particularly in light of –Recent shifts in market share for proprietary LMS software vendors, –The entrance of new LMS vendors into the marketplace, and –The recent emergence of open-source LMS solutions.
USC’s LMS evaluation is a due diligence effort. Blackboard will continue to be USC’s enterprise-level LMS until 2015 … and possibly beyond.
USC’s LMS Evaluation Process 1 Environmental Scan 2 LMS Needs Assessment 3 Request for Information 4 Vendor Demos: Faculty Review and ITS Evaluation 5 Request for Proposal 6 Recommendation
Local (Non-Enterprise) LMS Usage at USC Blackboard 9 –Viterbi School of Engineering DEN Moodle (2U) –Rossier School of Education MAT –School of Social Work MSW Moodle (Embanet) –School of Policy Planning and Development MPA Others Photo: Philip Channing
The Enterprise LMS World at Large: 2013 Effects of global economy. New entrants. New or expanded concepts (see definitions on the next slides). –Proprietary, open source, and community source products. –Locally hosted and SaaS solutions.
9 Task Forces 1.Analytics and Data Mining 2.Compliance and Accessibility 3.Feature Requirements: Instructors and Teaching Assistants 4.Feature Requirements: Students 5.Feature Requirements: School System Administrators and Support 6.Feature Requirements: Non- Semester-Based or Non-SIS Courses and Programs and Research 7.Infrastructure and Disaster Recovery 8.Security 9.Training, Documentation, and Support
Three Assumptions 1.The ideal LMS may not yet exist. 2.A campus-wide LMS needs assessment may identify gaps unrelated to tools and technology (e.g., knowledge/skills, motivation, and organizational processes). 3.‘Abilities’ trump tools.
LMS Needs Assessment Report The task forces identified 350 needs, of which 36 were both highly-rated and unmet in Bb at the time of the assessment.
From Needs to RFI In fall 2012 ITS created and distributed a “request for information” (RFI) to the enterprise-level LMS vendors currently being used by our peer institutions. The RFI’s content was based on data obtained –during USC’s LMS needs assessment, –from peer institutions such as Duke University and the University of Texas – Austin, –from independent learning management system consulting companies, and –from USC’s certification and compliance training platform evaluation process.
RFI Evaluation Process An ‘initial evaluation group’ of Blackboard stakeholders reviewed the submitted RFIs. –Members: ITS Blackboard staff, school or academic unit Blackboard domain administrators, and faculty volunteers from the Blackboard Advisory Committee. ITS staff also evaluated the submitted RFIs to determine if the vendors’ responses met ITS' expectations. The initial evaluation group then voted (via a Qualtrics survey) on which LMS vendors they suggest should be invited to do on-campus demonstrations.
VENDOR DEMOS: FACULTY REVIEW AND ITS EVALUATION Step Four
On-Campus Demonstrations In April 2013, these three vendors were invited to campus to demonstrate their LMSes to, and answer questions from, three separate constituent groups: 1.A task force comprised of one curricular dean- recommended faculty member from each USC school or academic unit as well as representatives from the undergraduate and graduate student governments. 2.USC's Information Technology Services (ITS) leadership. 3.USC's IT managers and staff.
Vendor Demo Guidelines The vendor demonstrations were scenario-based and scaffolded. The vendors were required to present a live, in- person, on-campus demonstration of the latest, publicly available, general release of the vendor's learning management system platform. The vendors were not allowed to discuss plans for future product features or releases.
Vendor Demo Guidelines (Cont’d) The vendors were not allowed to use PowerPoint or any other slide-based presentation tools or techniques. The demonstration could only include the tools, apps, and extensions that are included in the install of the vendor's product or that the vendor was willing to provide to USC and its users at no cost in perpetuity.
Faculty & ITS Evaluation Participants were provided with sample instructor accounts on each vendor's LMS platform and asked to evaluate each vendor's presentation and platform through an online survey. Additional input was also solicited from ITS subject matter experts on additional dimensions of each vendor's LMS platform including security, infrastructure, support, and staffing requirements.
Results In the end, neither the survey results nor the individual feedback from ITS subject matter experts support excluding any particular vendor from further consideration.