Due to the upcoming expiration of our contract with Blackboard, UB has the exciting opportunity to seek out an LMS for the campus that will best support the needs of our faculty and students.
The SUNY contract with Blackboard for Blackboard Learn is expected to expire in December, 2022. While UB has its own contract with Blackboard, the pricing model and approval of Blackboard as a vendor is contingent upon the SUNY contract. SUNY has gone through an RFP process and selected Brightspace as the new LMS vendor for SUNY. Through UB’s own internal review of Blackboard Ultra, Brightspace and Canvas, the functionality of Brightspace and Canvas were found to be greater and a better fit for UB’s instructional needs as compared to Blackboard. Further, the equivalence of Brightspace and Canvas combined with the ease of procurement of Brightspace that results from the SUNY contract have led the sponsors to the selection of Brightspace.
While this transition will not be simple, it does present us with opportunities to improve course design and delivery for nearly 4,000 courses per term in a three-semester time frame. In addition, it will provide an opportunity for all instructors to fully learn the functionality of the new system and it will provide a 21st century online environment through which instruction can be fully implemented or as a supplement to in-person instruction. Finally, adoption of the Course Merchant module will allow us, for the first time, to address and improve the management and delivery of non-credit continuing education programs for external participants.