ACAC Recommends Replacing Blackboard with D2L Brightspace

On December 9, 2014 the Advisory Committee on Academic Computing (ACAC) voted unanimously to recommend that Ryerson replace Blackboard with D2L’s Brightspace integrated learning platform. Here is the final text of the letter of recommendation.

The Advisory Committee on Academic Computing (ACAC) initiated a consultation process  beginning January, 2013 regarding the future of online learning and teaching systems and services at Ryerson. The consultation included:

  • use of the site to provide information and solicit feedback;
  • a Learning Management Systems Demo Week where the community was invited to see demonstrations by LMS vendors and by university professors who use those systems (including the latest release of Blackboard);
  • an online requirements survey (a summary of the results are available here);
  • a follow-up open request for use cases that an LMS should support;
  • input via the email account.

Based on community input, a Request for Proposal was posted on January 31st, 2014 on the Merx public tender site. An RFP evaluation committee was struck which evaluated the written proposals and arranged for vendor presentations in front of a group of faculty, staff, and students. The evaluation committee ultimately selected two LMS products for broader review by the Ryerson community. The short list did not include the Blackboard LMS. Following the selection of the short listed products, a public meeting was held on September 11, 2014 to launch the final phase of the consultation and to answer any questions about the process to date. A video of the session is available online.

A community test drive of the two short-listed LMS products was made available inside the portal, where faculty, students, and staff were all encouraged to try out the two systems. CCS collected feedback from these stakeholders via email to,  via focus group sessions and surveys. In addition, CCS undertook the completion of security and accessibility tests for the two short-listed systems. Based on this further input, the RFP evaluation committee selected D2L’s Brightspace product as the best all-round choice for Ryerson. Since then, the selection has been unanimously endorsed by both the LMS subcommittee of ACAC and by ACAC itself.

ACAC is, therefore, recommending that Ryerson replace Blackboard with Brightspace, provided the successful completion of:

  • a pilot phase between January 2015 and August 2015 (for which a pilot agreement has been negotiated between Ryerson and D2L);
  • internal risk assessments (privacy, security);
  • a definitive agreement with D2L.

Brian Lesser
Director, Computing and Communications Services

Dimitrios Androutsos
Chair, Advisory Committee on Academic Computing
Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering