Process and Timeline


The configuration of Blackboard Learn as a locally hosted (on ISU servers) LMS product is reaching an end of life state. The license with the Blackboard vendor ends December 2017. With the contract coming to an end and the Blackboard product changing to a cloud hosted product, there was an opportunity to review other LMS options to determine the future direction. A change needed to be made: either to the cloud hosted version of Blackboard, which will be a product with a very different look and feel; or to a different LMS product.

In addition to the LMS review at ISU, Regent Universities continue to partner and implement efficiencies that support recommendations in the TIER report in 2015. The University of Iowa migrated to Canvas in summer 2017 (from Desire to Learn) in part because of their involvement with the Unizen consortium. The current Blackboard Learn contract the University of Northern Iowa expires on September 30, 2019 and they continue to review LMS options.

Quick Overview of LMS Review Process

The review and implementation process will be co-led by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and the Office of the CIO. Review LMS options from October 2016 - May 2017 to determine current and future teaching and technological needs for an LMS product.

Phase 1 – Organization

  • Dr. Ann Marie VanDerZanden and Mike Lohrbach were project leads with a 17-member steering committee. They were charged with reviewing stakeholder input, existing LMS features, and creating required and preferred features list for RFP.
  • Established a LMS Review Steering committee with representation from the Faculty Senate, faculty, college instructional support staff, the ISU Web Accessibility Coordinator, ISU Purchasing, and CELT and ITS staff involved with LMS support and system integrations. The Steering Committee included:
    • David Cantor, College of Business, Faculty
    • Denise Crawford, College of Human Sciences, Faculty
    • Lisa Gestrine, College of Veterinary Medicine, P & S
    • Steve Holland, College of Engineering, Faculty
    • Eric Johnson, Purchasing, P & S
    • Zayira Jordan, IT Services - Accessibility Coordinator, P & S
    • Jacob Larson, IT Services, P & S
    • Zhen Li, IT Services Systems and Operations, P & S
    • Steve Lonergan, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Faculty
    • Emily Morgan, College of Design, Faculty
    • Annette O'Connor, Faculty Senate and College of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty
    • Gary Ockey, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Faculty
    • Allan Schmidt, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, P & S
    • Amy Ward, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, P & S
    • Mike Wilson, IT Services, P & S
  • The Steering Committee:

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Phase 2 – Evaluation

  • The LMS Steering Committee gathered feedback through 6 stakeholder input sessions with faculty, instructional support staff, graduate and undergraduate student leadership, and central staff whose work interfaces with the LMS. Additionally, a campus-wide survey available from November 11-December 1, 2017 provided additional information. 
  • Based on the data collected via the multiple face-to-face stakeholder meetings as well as the online survey results, the Steering Committee met three times to develop the required and preferred elements list for the RFP. These broad categories were created to ensure vendors address specific needs based on stakeholder input: Course Management, Migration, Mobile Capabilities, Learning Analytics, Accessibility Requirements, Technology, and Integration.
  • Required and desired feature survey posted for open comment period (January 19 - 31). Promoted through the following channels:
  • Review of feedback by LMS Steering Committee
  • RFP out for bid February 23 - March 24, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
  • LMS selection enters final stages article (May 4, 2017) on Inside Iowa State website.

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Phase 3 – Demonstration

  • Vendors were selected for the learning management demonstrations, view the Vendors selected for learning management system demonstrations article (April 6, 2017) on Inside Iowa State website
  • Presentations by Instructure Canvas and Desire 2 Learn were held on April 17 and 18 for instructional designers, faculty and students. CELT and ITS staff provided scenario-based overviews of the two LMS product vendors. Feedback was gathered on each LMS product and reviewed by the LMS Steering Committee. Read the LMS selection enters final stages article (May 4, 2017) on Inside Iowa State website.
  • Following campus input and evaluation, the decision was announced in June by the Senior Vice President and Provost to select Canvas. Read the Canvas is the new learning management system article (June 9, 2017) on the Inside Iowa State website.

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Phase 4 – Migration and Implementation


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Phase 5 – Ongoing Operations

  • All Spring 2018 courses that use a centrally-supported academic learning management system will be taught in Canvas.
  • CELT led face-to-face, online webinars, and online orientation guides: My Canvas Teacher and My Canvas Student at ISU provide orientation materials to assist with learning Canvas.

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