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CWRU Learning Management System (LMS) Evaluation

CWRU Learning Management System (LMS) Evaluation

University Technology's Teaching & Learning Technologies Team led an evaluation of learning management systems (LMSs) at CWRU. We began this project by examining the systems that students, faculty, and staff were already using. These included Blackboard Learn, Moodle, and eCurriculum. In order to determine whether these systems best met the University's varied needs, we evaluated a number of potential alternatives, including Blackboard's Ultra Experience, D2L’s Brightspace, and Instructure’s Canvas. Among other things, we invited vendors to CWRU to demonstrate their systems, administered usability tests, and conducted system pilots.

After the end of a thorough evaluation and a recommendation from our LMS Advisory Committees, Canvas was chosen as the new learning management system for the University.

canvas logo

The LMS Evaluation has been completed and Canvas was chosen as the new LMS. Learn more about how you can get started by visiting our Canvas Transition page.
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The goals of the LMS Evaluation included:

  • Determining how LMS’s are currently used at CWRU
  • Identifying which features the CWRU community needs in an LMS
  • Identifying the challenges that people face when using an LMS
  • Evaluating and piloting other LMSs 
  • Determining which LMS best met the diverse needs of the CWRU community

In an effort to reach the project goals, UTech engaged the CWRU community in many ways. As part of this process, we:

  • Hosted town hall-style meetings
  • Surveyed the users of Blackboard Learn and other systems currently used at CWRU
  • Recruited students, faculty, and staff to advisory committees
  • Invited vendors to CWRU to demonstrate their systems and facilitate workshops
  • Convened focus groups
  • Administered multiple rounds of usability studies
  • Piloted possible alternatives to Blackboard Learn
  • Shared evaluation findings with faculty & staff and student advisory committees
  • Made a recommendation to Faculty Senate

The evaluation component of this project has completed and we will now begin the process of transitioning the campus community to Canvas. Get more information on the LMS transition here.


Evaluation Timeline

Spring / Summer 2015

  • Hosted town hall-style meetings
  • Surveyed the users of Blackboard Learn and other systems currently used at CWRU
  • Convened focus groups
  • Recruited students, faculty, and staff to advisory committees

Fall 2015 - Summer 2016

  • Invited vendors to CWRU to demonstrate their systems and facilitate workshops
  • Administered multiple rounds of usability studies
  • Piloted possible alternatives to Blackboard Learn

LMS, learning management system, fall, recommend

Summer 2016 - Fall 2016

  • Shared evaluation findings with faculty & staff and student advisory committees
  • Prepared recommendation with next steps for CWRU’s CIO and Faculty Senate

Fall 2016 - Summer 2018

  • Canvas was chosen as the new LMS at Case Western Reserve University.
  • Classes could be taught in Canvas beginning in Spring 2017 and Summer 2017. All classes had to be using Canvas for Fall 2017. 
  • Blackboard remained available from Fall 2017 through Summer 2018 for archival purposes only. 
  • Blackboard to be shutdown on June 1, 2018.

Additional Resources from Evaluation & Transition

While the evaluation and transition part of the project are complete, we wanted to provide full transparency about the process. As such, here are some additional resources that were created and used during the evaluation and transition process. These resources are considered archived and will not be updated. 

LMS Feature Comparison - a look at the different features in Blackboard and Canvas

Transition FAQ - questions that were most commonly asked during the transition to Canvas.

Professional Development Opportunities

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