Announcing the LMS Short List

After reviewing proposals from Learning Management System(LMS) vendors, Ryerson has selected two LMS systems for further evaluation by the Ryerson community. They are:

Community Test Drive

We are inviting students, faculty and staff to participate in a test drive and exploration of the two finalists. Our goal is to gather your feedback so that we can make a well informed choice in the Fall term.

To test drive the two systems, please log into the portal and click on the LMS Test Drive tab. It contains the links to the test drive systems, documentation, schedules for lunch & learn and facilitated hands-on events. You will also find a link to our sign-up sheet to participate in focus groups and a form to request your own course shell in each system.

Project Timelines  

  • Summer to mid Fall 2014 — Test drive of the finalists; this includes user testing, integration testing, customization testing, use case testing, etc.
  • Sometime in the Fall 2014 — Select and announce the winner
  • Mid to late Fall 2014 — Finalize contracts and plan for pilot testing
  • Winter 2015 term — Pilot testing with a group of courses
  • Summer 2015 term — Preparation for full implementation; this includes full migration and training
  • Fall 2015 term — Full implementation of the selected LMS and retirement of the Blackboard system.

The selection of a new Learning Management System for Ryerson is part of the Learning and Teaching Systems and Services Consultation sponsored by the Advisory Committee on Academic Computing (ACAC).

Update (2014, 07, 24)

In response to requests, the full-text of the LMS Request for Proposal is now attached to this post:

2013-091-BS Learning Management Systems and Services (final)

The document contains 49 pages of requirements and specifications, including ten pages of detailed use cases that vendors had to respond to. The information requested of vendors was largely compiled from faculty, staff, and student input to this consultation blog, our online survey, written submissions (for example from HR) and with additional input from the Digital Education Strategies group in the Chang School, and other members of the Learning and Teaching Systems and Services Consultation subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Academic Computing.

If you have questions regarding the consultation process please write to us at:

11 thoughts on “Announcing the LMS Short List

  1. It would be great if you can share with all the evaluation criteria, and why the current Blackboard system did not make the cut? We can then test the two suggested system to see if the shortcomings are addressed, and new features are as advertised.

    • Great idea. I think we should be able to post the RFP. I’ll work on getting that done next week. Unfortunately, we cannot post the vendor’s responses.

    • Hi Ali,
      I’ve just posted the full RFP in an update to this blog post. Please have a look. Blackboard did not make the cut because it did not score well enough when the proposals were reviewed by the review committee. I wasn’t on the committee so its hard for me to say much about the scoring.
      Yours truly,

  2. The test drive is a great idea, but students don’t have access because we are not in the vendor database. Maybe you should provide login credentials?

    A pilot with the user group should be effortless, not painstaking, otherwise you will have very low participation and yield a population sample that is not indicative of the user body.

    It would seem that the test drive is either poorly planned or not intended to be a critical part of the decision for LMS selection.

    • Hi Karl,
      We do provide credentials for everyone at Ryerson. Please log in to the portal and click on the LMS Test Drive tab. There are user names and passwords you can use to try out both systems there. Please let me know if they don’t work?
      Yours truly,

  3. I tried both but must say I like Desire2Learn better. The reason is I would be able to access with fewer limitations with IE 8.0 which I have at work and cannot control upgrades or install other browsers to support the other program as it needed more recent updates. I do alot of my school work at my employment during lunches and allocated study times. So my preference is Desire2Learn so my accessibility is improved.

  4. Just spent 10 minutes with each of them. Quite frankly, they’re both better than Bb, so we’re bound to benefit from changing, I think.

    I’ve signed up for the focus group stuff – would be interested to talking with others about this.

    So far, I’m actually leaning towards Canvas for two reasons.
    1. I found the general layout to be a bit more natural for me. I realize not everyone would agree, but still that’s the case for me. For instance, the gradebook seemed to make more intuitive sense to me in Canvas. I also like being able to add notes to individual grades. I do that now in Excel (GAG!) to note any special circumstances regarding individual marks. I find that very beneficial, especially in large classes.
    2. I think I like the ability to plug in “apps.” It appears eminently doable in Canvas – I didn’t see anything comparable in D2L. (I might have just missed it.)

    • Hi there,

      Happy to respond to your two points you’ve outlined:

      1. Feedback can be added to each grade item in a user’s gradebook and you can even add private feedback to be shared only between you and a TA.
      2. Right now, administrators and instructors can add LTI compliant apps to the platform using our External Learning Tools feature.

      If you have any further questions or comments, we are happy to help.

  5. I was involved with the email project pilot and am glad to be welcomed into this decision.

    I was able to do a quick test drive of the 2 LMS.

    First off, I think it would be beneficial to have the same course located in both systems.

    That said; I’ve had a fair amount of experience with D2L, and I find that solution very clunky, hard to navigate and slow to use. Although this last test run was not as slow as I remember it to be, it still lived up to my other expectations.

    Canvas on the otherhand was very intuitive, mostly fast and extremely easy to navigate. In addition, the mobile capabilities of Canvas appears to be much better. I really hope we will go with Canvas.

    • Hi Jeanne,
      Do you mean where the RFP says things about “client’s computers.” I’m not sure why client was used in that case. More often “user’s computers” would be used.

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