UVic selects Brightspace as new learning management system for fall 2020

- University of Victoria

The University of Victoria has recently procured Brightspace by D2L as its new Learning Management System (LMS), to replace CourseSpaces (Moodle) for the fall 2020 term.

As UVic prepares to offer over 90 per cent of undergraduate and 60 per cent of graduate courses fully online in September, having a robust LMS will be an important factor in students’ success and will enable faculty and instructors to better and more easily deliver core learning materials.

“When the university first implemented Moodle back in 2008, this kind of usage and demand was never expected,” says Associate Vice-President & Chief Information Officer Wency Lum. When it became clear that CourseSpaces could not meet the university’s needs for fall 2020, University Systems and the Division of Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation (LTSI) partnered to adopt a new LMS, with additional leadership from the provost's office.

“Online teaching and learning presents new challenges for educators and learners,” explains LTSI Executive Director Laurene Sheilds. “We need a system that will help us address those challenges in new and inventive ways. While necessitated by the move to predominantly online learning due to COVID-19, this is also an opportunity to create a more modern and engaging learning technology ecosystem.”

Other newly adopted technologies that make up this ecosystem include Zoom for videoconferencing, Kaltura for video streaming, Microsoft Teams for collaboration, and CrowdMark for large-class marking.

After reviewing options in the marketplace—and informed by recent community consultation with faculty, instructors and students—Brightspace emerged as the top choice. Reasons include its reliability, ease of use, accessibility features and mobile-first design. Notably, it’s 99.99% observed up-time offers much needed predictability for educators and students.

Brightspace will support the delivery of high-quality, online academic programming for the fall term and beyond. We expect a significant improvement to user experience for our faculty, instructors and students.
—LTSI Executive Director Laurene Sheilds

University Systems is helping to ensure data security and privacy with Brightspace, which is a cloud-based learning platform. Brightspace has internationally-recognized security certifications.

“We appreciate D2L’s commitment to a quality product, partnership, and responsiveness in service delivery,” explains Lum. “We are looking forward to working with their staff to ensure a smooth transition and deployment.”

To support the transition, the university is investing in additional staff in LTSI, including five learning experience designers, three educational technology support specialists, and 80 co-op students who will work with instructors to design course materials and move them to an online environment.

“We expect the vast majority of CourseSpaces courses to migrate in bulk,” say Sheilds, who has been working with University Systems to pre-test and design a migration strategy. “Our co-op students will help migrate any remaining courses and will provide hands-on support to faculty and instructors to ensure successful migration.”

Faculty and instructors can expect to get access to a Brightspace sandbox and training environment in early July, and new students will get an opportunity to interact with Brightspace during the pre-arrival orientation program in the summer. The new system is anticipated to go live campus-wide in mid-August, ahead of the first day of classes in September.

More information for faculty and instructors will be posted on the Teach Anywhere website throughout the summer, with information for students made available on the Learn Anywhere website in August.