Department Chairs and School Directors:
As we've shared previously, NIU is in the midst of a review of learning management systems. Since our last email to you, review criteria have been established along with a weighted scoring system that the technical team will use to evaluate vendors against the criteria. The review executive committee has also met with each vendor and the review technical committee is beginning their work reviewing the technical specifics of each platform.
A critical aspect of the review process is inviting vendors to provide demonstrations to our campus community. With "Blackboard Original" gradually being phased out, we have the opportunity to compare "Blackboard Ultra" with other platforms. Our goal is to provide everyone with an opportunity to see the capabilities and provide feedback as to which systems offer the functionality and user experience desired moving forward.
We have reached out to vendors of the leading higher education LMS platforms to learn more about their offerings: Blackboard (Learn Ultra), D2L (Brightspace), and Instructure (Canvas) and have scheduled demonstrations, available to all NIU faculty, staff, and students. Each vendor is providing two virtual demonstrations on the functionality of their system for teaching and learning. Demonstrations will be conducted online via Zoom and recorded for those who may be unable to join live. All demonstration participants will be asked to complete a follow-up survey to rate the system’s functionality.
Demonstration schedule details can also be found in the NIU Calendar.
We’re also asking each vendor to provide a separate virtual demonstration of shopping cart features for outside learners and external programming. Participants of these separate demonstrations will likewise complete follow-up surveys on shopping cart system functionality.
We hope you'll mark your calendar and be able to join the demonstrations or view the recordings to see the features available and product roadmaps and to share your important feedback. We've sent the above details to all faculty, instructors, and TAs.
Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning
Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Division of Information Technology