You now have access to the new LMS!
You now have access to the new Learning Management System (LMS), which replaces Blackboard Learn as of the spring/summer 2017 Term. In order to login to this new platform, you need to use your uoAccess credentials. Connect to the new LMS...
To have your course(s) created on the new platform
Attention! With the way the new SIS functions, Professors are required to create their courses from our new portal for Professors. Once logged in, you will see your courses as they are sent to us from the SIS and will be able to confirm their creation in the LMS. You will also be able to merge sections or labs, which are currently displayed as multiple courses in the new SIS, prior to having them created in the system. Please note that this merge is a one-time operation that has to be requested at the time of course creation. We are unable to merge courses once they are created.
If you are unable to view your courses, it's most likely because your faculty has not entered the information in uoCampus yet. We start receiving courses from uoCampus on March 1st for the summer semester, and on June 1st for the Fall and Winter semesters, so please be patient if your course is not showing up in your list the first few days. In the meantime, you can still benefit from the new LMS because you already have access to a demo course, which we have created specifically for you. This course will be available to you throughout your career at the university of Ottawa. This will not only help you get familiar with the new platform, but could also allow you to start the development of your course (if your course is not showing in your list yet). Once your official course shows in your list, you can transfer this content to your course using the LMS tools.
You can also register to an online course, which consists of various videos explaining most of the functions of the new LMS. If you are interested, simply complete the form below and indicate your language of preference.
To have your Blackboard Learn course migrated to the new LMS Brightspace
During the course creation process within the Maestro portal, you'll also have the option to request the migration of BBL content to the new LMS. The content that needs to be migrated in the upcoming spring/summer courses will be migrated within 2 business days from the request submission time, the fall 2017 and winter 2018 courses content will be migrated after June 1st, as soon as those courses become available in the new LMS. You are still required to request the creation of your fall and winter courses in the new LMS.
Reminder for the Phase 1 Training
The first phase of the training program for the new LMS is available!
Training will focus on the basic functions of the platform (navigation, content management and an overview of available tools). To further explore or work with a particular tool, you can visit our computer lab which will be open from 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. from Monday to Friday during the months of March and April (Vanier Hall, room 1020).
During phase two, from May onwards, we will continue to offer the workshops featured in phase one as well as a series of more targeted training workshops to provide a deeper look at the use of basic functions (communication tools, assessment tools, etc.) and to introduce new ones such as the ePortfolio tool and the analytics tool to monitor class progress and each student’s performance.
Keep an eye on our website to find out about phase two programming which will be released in April. The new program will also be in our spring newsletter.
The Teaching and Learning Support Service (TLSS) began the LMS renewal process more than a year ago for the following reasons:
- The current license with Blackboard expires on May 31, 2017.
- The version of BBL used by the university will no longer be supported by the supplier as from 31 May 2017 and the new bugs discovered will not be corrected.
- After more than ten years with the same provider, it was time to explore the possibilities of other LMS to address the changing needs of users.
- The current competition in the LMS world allows us to realize substantial savings.
1. When will the change take place?
As of May 1, 2017, all courses will be on Brightspace and as of June 1, 2017, the Blackboard Learn platform will be deactivated.
2. Is D2L's Brightspace platform bilingual?
Yes, the platform is fully bilingual and the support offered by D2L is also available in both official languages.
3. How will professors and students be assisted and trained throughout this transition process?
To allow faculty members to become familiar with the new LMS, several training sessions will be offered as of March. Our priority is to provide training and assistance to professors who teach a course in spring and summer. The training workshops schedule will soon be sent to all professors. As for those teaching in the fall 2017, training will begin in early June.
Information sessions will also be offered to students in each faculty before the beginning of each semester.
Throughout this process, the TLSS will send messages on a regular basis to provide information and news about the tools made available to the university community in the upcoming weeks (training calendar, guides, tutorials, various documents, Frequently Asked Questions, etc.). In the meantime, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the TLSS by e-mail.
4. How will the existing courses be migrated to D2L's new Brightspace platform?
If you already know that you will be teaching a course in the spring and you wish to migrate an existing course, you can contact the TLSS next week by filling out the form at: http://maestro.uOttawa.ca. Your course will be migrated as of March 1. Professors who teach courses this fall or winter can also use this form to submit a migration course request. The migration will take place starting May 1.
5. Why are we migrating so fast?
To avoid paying for two LMS licenses at the same time (BBL and D2L), it was decided to proceed with a rapid migration. The TLSS has put in place a transition and assistance plan that aims to minimize the impact of this aggressive schedule.
6. Why are we opting for a new platform?
• The current license with Blackboard expires on May 31, 2017.
• The version of BBL that is currently used by the university will no longer be maintained by the supplier as from May 31, 2017, and the technical issues will not be corrected.
• The current competitiveness in the LMS world allows us to make significant savings.
• Since the University of Ottawa purchased Blackboard Vista in 2006, LMS have considerably evolved, which is why it was necessary to explore other platforms to address today’s users’ needs.
7. Who is the D2L company?
Established 1999, D2L is a Canadian company, whose headquarters are located in Toronto and Kitchener. Its Brightspace platform is used by more than half of Canadian research universities, including Queen’s University, the University of Waterloo, the University of Calgary, McMaster University and McGill University. Brightspace is also used by La Cité and the e-Learning Ontario Consortium for its bilingual feature. D2L is also based in the United States, Europe, Australia, Brazil and Singapore.
8. What was the selection process?
In January 2016, the TLSS put in place a consultation process with the university community to better define its needs. In collaboration with the Procurement Service, a call for proposals was launched on October 17. A selection committee, consisting of TLSS members, a professor, a vice-dean, a student representative, a member of the Information Technology team and a member of the Procurement Service, evaluated six products last fall. Each supplier was evaluated according to 9 mandatory criteria (including bilingualism and accessibility), and was required to offer detailed answers to 125 questions corresponding to the needs expressed by the community during the consultations. At the end of this selection process, the Canadian company D2L, and its platform Brightspace, won the call for proposals. Following this rigorous selection process, a five-year contract, which includes the option of a five-year renewal, was recently signed.
Please do not hesitate to contact the TLSS by e-mail for more details on this change.
The first answer is simple: Our three-year contract with Blackboard Learn (BBL) expires on May 31, 2017. We must therefore follow the rules of the University, and launch a call for proposals allowing all potential suppliers to be evaluated fairly.
Our agreement with BBL allowed us to renew our contract for an optional year. However, the University's budgetary situation, the quality of our current version of BBL and the level of service prompted us to explore the many possibilities as quickly as possible to find out what was on the market and at what price with a one-year safety net, if necessary (if we had done the exercise next year, we would have no choice but to opt for another LMS, whether we liked it or not). Finally, we came to the conclusion that an immediate change would be appropriate, and enable the University to make significant savings over a five-year period.
In summary, here are the reasons why this exercise was relevant in the given context:
- Our contract expires on May 31, 2017;
- Considering that the University has been with the same supplier for more than a decade, it was time to explore various alternative LMS options that better meet the evolving needs of today's users;
- The current competitiveness in LMS world allows us to make significant savings. Among other things, BBL, being an American company, costs of the system were charged in US dollars, which did not allow us to effectively control costs from year to year;
- The version of BBL that is currently being used by the University will no longer be supported by the supplier as of May 31, 2017 and technical issues related to the platform will not be corrected;
It should be noted that, even if BBL had won the call for proposals, we would be in the same situation of a completely different platform since the new version proposed by this supplier (still incomplete to date) has a completely redesigned structure.