The Brightspace Learning Management System (LMS) implementation project is just past its midpoint and is on track to ensure a successful full launch of the new platform in January. The new LMS, which replaces Blackboard Learn, will host all but a few two-term courses this Winter semester.
Brightspace is an agile, cloud-based system that offers enhanced accessibility features and a mobile-first design. It has a modern interface that is clean and easy to navigate. Users can also expect minimal downtime as updates and enhancements are delivered monthly.
A Fall pilot is currently underway with 37 instructors and over 1300 students in 31 credit and 18 non-credit courses or project sites.
“We had a phenomenal response from instructors wanting to be part of the pilot and become early Brightspace adopters,” says Nick Baker, director, Office of Open Learning. “Students in the pilot courses have also commented on the modern layout, how easy it was to find materials and track their progress.”
The LMS implementation team is meeting with faculties and departments to provide a project overview and highlight some of the many features, says Erika Kustra, director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
“The sessions provided an opportunity for instructors to ask questions about the transition,” she says. “We have been able to address concerns and take important feedback to the project steering committee.”
The migration of existing Blackboard courses, from Winter 2021 on, is in progress.
John Osborne, assistant director of Information Technology Services for the Business Systems Group, says efforts are focused on moving the Winter term course content from 2021 and 2022 to Brightspace first, after receiving feedback that course migration should be in line with the academic cycle.
“Instructors can expect to see their old courses, without the students’ work or grades, in the new LMS in the next few weeks, with course content from Fall 2022 added last,” Osborne says. “They will also see their Winter 2023 courses shells in Brightspace soon.”
He encourages instructors to attend their departmental workshop if offered, or join an open session available to all. There are also recordings from online sessions available for self-paced learning and self-guided training through the Brightspace community. Workshops and self-paced learning material will help instructors become familiar with the platform and to learn the basic functionality of the system. Instructors should add their name to the waitlist if a session is full as there are cancellations and sessions are added based on the demand.
Information about the Brightspace implementation project is available at uwindsor.ca/brightspace. The site also provides resources for instructors and students, FAQs, instructor training session registration, sign-in information, and links to self-guided training offered through the Brightspace community.