Surveying the landscape of learning management systems

Over the past couple of years, new developments and standards in teaching with technology are allowing companies to offer new or completely redesigned web applications and accompanying mobile apps to universities. The main selling points of these products is that they have sleek and intuitive user interfaces, interoperability, improved accessibility, and a mobile-friendly experience. Learning management systems (LMS) in particular are being re-engineered to these new standards to support innovations in teaching and learning.

Because of the recent changes in the LMS market, as well as a constant focus on how best to serve teaching and learning needs at Mizzou, The Office of the Provost and the Division of IT have assembled a task force to help the campus community conduct a formal evaluation of the needs and tools available. In doing so, Mizzou joined the growing list of universities that are reviewing their LMS options. A quick Internet search on “LMS campus evaluation” reveals a list of universities that are evaluating, transitioning, or have already transitioned to a new LMS. As part of the evaluation process, many universities have also chosen to continue using their current LMS. Mizzou’s main current learning management system is Blackboard Learn, and it has been for more than ten years. It has scaled well for our dramatically increasing enrollments and demands for a richer course experience.

Will Mizzou switch to a new LMS? The goal of the LMS review task force is to guide a transparent, open dialogue about which technologies assist with our overall teaching and learning goals. The campus community will participate in this process throughout the fall through focus groups, open LMS demonstrations, and completing surveys. It is the intention of the task force that a recommendation be made to the Chancellor in December of this year. Anyone with questions about the LMS review, or how to participate in the process can contact Danna Vessell or Kevin Bailey, co-chairs of the LMS review process.