[Faccus] UW-ACE software replacement selected
chappell at uwaterloo.ca
Wed Mar 16 15:34:22 EDT 2011
On behalf of the LMS Selection Project team I'm happy to announce the
selection of the replacement for UW-ACE's ANGEL software. We have chosen
Desire2Learn, a KW company. It's been a long process, starting in the
summer of 2009. With the decision made, we're now focusing on a
contract, and gearing up for retraining, converting courses (roughly
1300 run in the fall and winter terms), and moving to Desire2Learn.
You'll find more information in the announcement below.
My apologies to those on multiple IT mailing lists who are seeing this
yet again ... we're hitting all the lists :-) The message also was sent
to all instructors today, and will appear in the Daily Bulletin tomorrow.
Andrea Chappell, for the Project team
UW-ACE Replacement Selected - Welcome Desire2Learn
Since June of 2009 a team of representatives from CEL, CTE, IST, OPD,
Library and faculty and student representatives, and other areas, have
been working together to find a learning management system (LMS)
replacement for ANGEL. The new system needs to address some unique
teaching needs of University of Waterloo instructors while having an
easy-to-use interface. Pending contract negotiations, the committee has
recommended that the University of Waterloo adopt Desire2Learn as the
new LMS. Outlined below are the reasons for the move, the process
leading to the recommendation, and plans for the roll-out.
In May of 2009, Angel Learning Inc., the producer of the software used
for UW-ACE, was purchased by a competitor LMS vendor, Blackboard Inc.
While moving to Blackboard was one option, it became clear that it would
mean a significant change. This was seen as an opportunity to consider
the larger LMS market and determine the best fit for the University of
Waterloo's next online course system. In looking for a replacement, we
wanted to offer the same level of functionality and also to expand the
LMS capabilities to enhance learning at UW.
The process began by gathering, analyzing and assessing the LMS needs of
the campus. (Data was gleaned from a just-completed project, the Online
Learning Environment Project, that ran faculty focus groups and a
student survey.) In May of 2010 a Request for Information (RFI) was
issued to establish the breadth of responses to expect, followed by a
formal Request For Proposals (RFP) to which LMS vendors could submit
their solution proposals. In addition to an in-depth assessment of the
RFP submissions, the committee explored Open Source solutions that are
not represented as part of the RFP process. To ensure that a
comprehensive investigation was undertaken for all possible solutions,
system sandboxes were created for testing and reference calls were
placed to other institutions for their insight and experience.
Desire2Learn consistently emerged as the most comprehensive and suitable
solution for the University of Waterloo's LMS needs.
Started by a former University of Waterloo student in 1999, Desire2Learn
is a local company that provides LMS solutions internationally and to a
number of local universities, including Wilfrid Laurier and Guelph. They
provide a LMS environment that will make a relatively easy transition
for UW-ACE users, and also an environment that allows extensibility and
greater mobile connectivity. In addition, Desire2Learn has worked hard
to make their system accessible, beyond the requirements of the
anticipated Ontario legislation. Desire2Learn also offers an ePortfolio
system, and a separate project investigating ePortfolios opted to use
Desire2Learn's system, as it satisfies their needs and provides useful
integrations with the LMS.
To provide the most stable system possible and to reduce disruption as
much as possible, the move to Desire2Learn will be scaled over the next
three terms. Spring 2011 will be the initial procedural and
troubleshooting phase, while the Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 will see the
migration away from ANGEL. Training in a variety of forms (videos,
documentation, one-on-one and group sessions) will be provided to our
LMS community. The project team will be working to minimize the impact
on instructors, including the move of their course materials to the new
system. Further details of the transition will be provided in a future
email to instructors. An Open House will be announced shortly where
representatives from Desire2Learn and the LMS Selection Committee will
provide more information and address questions. In the meantime, please
feel free to contact lms at uwaterloo.ca with any questions.
More information about the Faccus