SE’s Blackboard contract to expire in 2023

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By Gerd Altmann - www.pixabay.com

SE will be deciding what comes next by May 2022.

Addison Martin, News Editor

Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s contract with Blackboard Learn is expected to expire in the fall semester of 2023. There has been speculation as to whether this contract will be renewed, or if an alternative platform will take its place.

According to Christala Smith, Director of the Center for Instructional Development and Technology, and Dr. Karl Frinkle, head chair of the Learning Management System Transition Committee, the decision about which system will be chosen has not yet been made. In light of this, the LMS Transition Committee was formed to help officials come to an informed and educated decision.

If the decision is made to renew with Blackboard, there will still be a transition from Blackboard Learn to Blackboard Ultra. However, the committee is also exploring possible alternatives.

“Since there will be an inevitable transition, this is an appropriate time to consider whether we want to move to Blackboard Ultra or another system, such as D2L or Canvas,” Smith said.

According to Frinkle, the administration has before considered the possibility of choosing an LMS other than Blackboard. “We are focusing first on features of each platform and determining which would work best for the needs of our particular institution,” stated Smith. The increase in cost is another factor in this decision.

Besides coming to an informed decision between members of the committee, the university’s administration made sure to involve students and asked what they would prefer. Surveys were distributed earlier in the semester and 476 students and 59 faculty members participated.

Additionally, Liz McCraw, Vice President of Student Affairs, led discussions with the Student Government Association and reported back to a faculty forum to ensure the students’ opinions were heard and understood.

Last year, the sudden transition from Campus Connect to Colleague Self-Service was challenging for some, which has led to speculation about how difficult a transition such as this one could be.

According to Frinkle, many universities make fast transitions, but SE has a planned 2-year timeline. The first year is to make the decision, while the second year is to then prepare.

“This will allow CIDT and IT to work with the LMS and have training materials and plans in place well before we change,” he explained.

CIDT will also provide sneak peeks to help everyone prepare for the new platform. If the decision is made to use a new learning system, courses will gradually be transitioned to the new platform to make the change as easy as possible.

The final decision is expected to be made in May 2022.

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