Learning Management System (LMS) selection: Brightspace provisionally number 1
Brightspace is the provisional winner of the contract to supply a Learning Management System (LMS) to Leiden University. It still has to go through a verification process, in the form of a Proof of Concept, but if that is successful – and following positive contract negotiations – Brightspace will be definitively announced as the university’s new LMS.
Ranking of four suppliers
Following a thorough assessment process, the four suppliers were ranked on the basis of award criteria agreed with the faculties beforehand. This ranking has been confirmed by the Executive Board and the Management Board. Brightspace finished in first place, taking a clear lead in terms of points. There was only a marginal difference between the second and third tenders in the final assessment.
Brightspace came out on top in terms of its price/quality ratio. The system also scored highly on other criteria, including:
- the implementation plan,
- the vision for further development
- the system’s contribution to personalised and flexible education
The new LMS is in line with the university’s ambitions. Brightspace makes it possible to support personalised, flexible and innovative education, and the new environment also works well on laptops, mobile phones and tablets. The accessibility of the system has also been taken into account, both for the novice and for advanced users.
Multidisciplinary assessment team and user tests
The bids received from the LMS suppliers were assessed by a multidisciplinary assessment team within the university which included members from all faculties and a number of central management boards. This team assessed the Programme of Requirements, the implementation plan and the vision for further development.
The user tests also made an important contribution: 54 testers – consisting of 24 teachers, 18 students and 12 administrators/BB/ICTO coordinators from all faculties – gave their assessment of the user-friendliness of the four LMS systems. The user tests were included in the final assessment.
The provisional choice has been made. What are the next steps for the project?
Proof of Concept
The supplier has now been requested to take part in the aforementioned Proof of Concept (PoC). In the PoC phase – scheduled for February 2018 – in cooperation with the supplier, the university will test some of the system’s most important functions and connections. If the PoC phase is successful, the university will officially announce the intention to award the contract. Brightspace’s selection is expected to become definitive in March 2018.
Implementing the new LMS
The steps that need to be taken with regard to the implementation of the new LMS will of course be considered at an early stage in the process. Among those considerations is a thorough review of the commitment of the organisation and the supplier, as well as the timeframe within which the implementation should be completed. Input from staff is crucial in order to achieve a successful implementation plan. In 2018, we will be consulting the faculties and central functional management about the implementation of the new LMS.
TU Delft also decided some time ago to use Brightspace, and in 2018 the Radboud University will begin using this learning environment too. The university will definitely take advantage of the lessons and expertise gained from these decisions.
Consequences for users of the current LMS (Blackboard)
Students and staff members who use the current LMS Blackboard will not initially notice any changes as a result of the intended switch to Brightspace. We will make all necessary preparations for the PoC and the further implementation process in January 2018. This process will be discussed extensively in the coming months with those within the university who are directly affected.
Everyone involved will be informed when there is greater clarity about specific timelines and details. Sufficient time will, of course, be scheduled to ensure a smooth implementation process, including the necessary user training.