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Ivy Tech Learning Management System Selection Process

In late 2015 the College determined that it was appropriate to issue a formal RFP for LMS services.  The primary reasons for this review were communicated to faculty and staff during campus listening tours held in early Spring 2016 as well as various curriculum and leadership meetings throughout the early part of 2016. Those reasons were:

  • Blackboard’s new version, Blackboard Ultra, is significantly different from the current version of Blackboard.
  • Given Ivy Tech’s scale, we need to play an ongoing, active role in the LMS marketplace – communicating the needs of our institution to that marketplace regularly.
  • We have a duty to our students and faculty to review all products in the space particularly with regards to reliability.
  • A Request for Proposal (RFP) would encourage the most aggressive pricing and best customer service from all potential vendors.

In conjunction with the campus listening tours, the College provided faculty and students with the opportunity to see demonstrations of three of the major LMS providers (Blackboard, Canvas, and Desire2Learn).  The College also conducted a survey of students and faculty with approximately 7500 and 1500 responses to those respectively.

The College used the information gathered during these data collection efforts to draft an RFP that was released early in the fall semester.  The RFP was formally distributed to 26 potential vendors.  Four vendors – Blackboard, Canvas, Desire2Learn, and Schoology – submitted formal proposals.  Those proposals were reviewed by functional and technical teams and it was determined that all four vendors would be invited to provide live demonstrations of their LMS for faculty, staff, and students.

On November 14 and 15, 2016 the faculty, staff, and student selection committee members (approximately 80 individuals) were invited to participate in those demonstrations and evaluate the four systems.

Following the two-day demo presentations, participants were asked to rate the four vendors on a scale of 1-4 with 1 being their top choice. Those surveyed were encouraged to reflect on the information they collected through a rubric used during the demos. The collective response provided a clear preference for the selected vendor.

On November 21, selection committee members were invited to a GoToMeeting session. The recommended system was presented along with data from the evaluation process.  Participants indicated agreement that the recommended system was the best choice for the College to move forward with as its learning management system provider.

As a result of this review, the recommendation to commence migrating the College from the Blackboard Learning Management System to the Instructure Canvas Learning Management System was presented to the Board of Trustees at their meeting on December 8.