LMS Project News
Canvas and Brightspace to be piloted this spring
As a final step in the process of selecting a potential new Learning Management System to replace TRACS, we will pilot the two finalists, Canvas and Brightspace, during the spring 2019 semester.
The pilot gives instructors and students an opportunity to use, evaluate and provide feedback about the systems and see how they perform in actual teaching environment scenarios. Six courses will test how online, hybrid and large enrollment courses perform in the systems.
While pilot courses have been selected, all of campus still has the opportunity to provide valuable feedback for the two finalists through the sandbox environments. We encourage you to explore the sandboxes, and provide feedback on your experiences.
For more information about the pilot and the participating courses, visit the project website.
Visited a sandbox? Please fill out a survey
More than 1,800 people have visited the Brightspace and Canvas sandbox environments since they were opened for exploration in October.
If you are one of those Bobcats, please look in your email for a survey asking questions about your experiences. Surveys were sent out in early December.
The IT Division's LMS team will use the results of the survey, and the comments in them, to help guide us in the decision about which product might be a better fit as Texas State University's next digital learning management tool.
The sandboxes will be open through March, and more surveys will be sent in spring semester for those who visit then.
Sandbox Coming in October
The IT Division LMS team is currently working with Canvas and Brightspace in preparation for opening university sandbox environments in October. All faculty and staff will be able to explore each providers system and tools in temporary site environments. Sandbox guides will be provided to help in accessing the most commonly used tools. Each participant will be surveyed at the end of the sandbox test to gather feedback that contributes to the evaluation process.
LMS Finalists Chosen
Texas State officials notified Desire2Learn and Instructure that the university would like to work with their companies to further explore a potential new learning management system (LMS).
Desire2Learn makes an LMS system known as Brightspace. Instructure's system is called Canvas. Officials at a third potential provider, Blackboard, were notified their product is no longer being considered.
The two finalists were chosen through an in-depth process that culminated in April with a unanimous recommendation from the LMS Advisory Committee and Information Technology staff.
Now is the time to give feedback on recent demonstrations
March 19, 2018
Just before spring break, three potential solution providers visited Texas State to talk about their learning management systems – part of our project to look at a potential future replacement for TRACS.
We want your feedback to help guide the next part of the process. If you haven’t already, please watch the demonstrations and then fill out a survey with your thoughts on what you saw. Your comments will help us choose which providers we might move forward with into project pilots and in-depth evaluations.
Results of 2017 faculty survey now available
March 1, 2018
We have released an executive summary and the full data from our spring 2017 survey of faculty about Texas State's learning management system.
The survey solicited information from users regarding utilization, perceptions of usability, and satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the current system, and experience with other systems. Survey responses informed the development of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a potential new system. The RFP was released in November 2017.
Product demos to be livestreamed for Texas State students, faculty, and staff
March 1, 2018
Next week, representatives of Blackboard, Instructure (Canvas), and D2L (Brightspace) will be on the San Marcos campus for three-hour demonstrations of learning management systems that could eventually replace the current university system, TRACS.
The demonstrations will be livestreamed for anyone with a Texas State NetID and password. If you would prefer to watch in a group, join us for the live broadcast in the Albert B. Alkek Library’s Open Theater, located on the second floor just behind the main stairway.
Invite to solution provider demos sent to faculty
Feb. 23, 2018
All Texas State faculty should have received an email earlier today making them aware of the upcoming demos from potential future Learning Management System solution providers.
We have a limited number of spaces in the room. If you are a faculty member and are interested in attending one or more of the demonstrations, please go to the demos web page on this site and sign up.
If you aren't a faculty member and want to take part, or if you are a faculty member who can't get away to be at the events, we will be livestreaming each demonstration. Those livestreams can also be accessed through the demos web page.
A message from Dr. Carlos Solis
Feb. 11, 2018
Dear Texas State Faculty, Students, and Staff:
For the last 10 years Texas State has defined its digital learning strategy around one enterprise application which runs on the open source Sakai environment – known locally as TRACS. Over the same period of time, technology and pedagogies have evolved. The range of solutions now available to the university, that allow it to align supportive technologies to its mission, has expanded significantly.
A Digital Learning Vision for Texas State University
Texas State University's mission statement reads that we are to be a "student-centered institution dedicated to excellence and innovation in teaching, and research, including creative expression, and service." This unified educational vision, and shared set of values and goals, is implemented in various ways across departments, programs and instructors.
The evaluation of the current Learning Management system (LMS) is part of a larger process, which will take the university from a course-centered approach, to one which is more learner-centered. This is based on an ecosystem of integrated, standards-based applications and services, which support a variety of pedagogies. It will allow for greater learning personalization and provide a wider set of opportunities for engagement that can influence instructor and student success.
This ecosystem, dubbed the Digital Learning Environment [DLE], creates a greater opportunity for growth and expansion as needs evolve.
How Digital Technologies Can Support the University's Goals
Students differ in the ways they learn and instructors differ in how they approach teaching. Therefore, the technologies which support learning at Texas State should strive to balance our institutional mission with the flexibility to enhance personalized learning and teaching approaches.
The DLE environment would be rich with more intuitive features and enhancements, supporting faculty selection of tools that work best for them. It would provide more learning, assessment, and advising functions, such as personalized quizzes and practice items.
In short, the DLE would provide the following benefits:
- Common user interface which meets accessibility and universal design needs.
- Customizable environments for the individual as well as the university as a whole.
- Analytics, advising, and assessment components provided through shared data.
- Integration of component applications that support teaching and learning.
Building a New System Over the next two years, Instructional Technologies Support (ITS) will be partnering with the university's instructional community to evaluate and identify an LMS solution upon which an ecosystem of tools can be built that defines the Digital Learning Environment. The new LMS is the initial step in defining a first-generation Texas State DLE.
An advisory body made up of faculty, staff, and students, will help evaluate RFP candidates. Additionally, this coming spring ITS will host public demos of selected candidates, and solicit feedback from the community for review.
Status and Timeline
ITS submitted a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) in October 2017 for vendor responses. In preparation for the RFP, ITS surveyed faculty to gather feedback to be incorporated into the RFP. Initial evaluation of the vendor responses has begun, and public demonstrations of vendors will begin in March 2018. The transition to a new system is expected to begin by spring 2020.
Ongoing communications about the status of this project will be sent, and information and important dates, will be updated on the Learning Management System Review website.
Dr. Carlos Solís, Associate VP - Instructional Technologies Support
RFP respondents to visit campus
Three vendors have responded to the university's request for proposals for this project. They are Blackboard, Instructure, and Desire2Learn.
The three vendors will be on campus in early March 2018 to hold public demostrations of their products and answer questions. Pay attention to this space for more details about the time and place of those demos.
Request for Proposals posted for responses
We have posted a request for proposals for vendors to consider.
Survey out to campus
We have sent out a survey to campus about what soliciting feedback about the current Learning Management System. Please respond if you receive one.
First outeach to faculty leadership
We met and shared the discussion about this project and its goals with the Council of Deans and the Faculty Senate.