An Update on the LMS Review

By Danna Vessell, Director of Educational Technologies at Missouri

Since February 2014, the University of Missouri has been undergoing a Learning Management System (LMS) review, which included faculty and student focus groups, surveys, test drives, vendor demos and full scale pilots of Instructure Canvas during the summer and fall 2015 semesters. The process concluded in January 2016 with a final recommendation authored by a faculty-led working group and the Technology Evaluation Subcommittee of the MU Information Technology Committee. The resulting recommendation, which was subsequently approved by the MU IT Committee, selected Faculty Council subcommittees and ultimately the Provost, was that the University of Missouri move the hosting of their campus learning management system (LMS) from locally hosted to a cloud-based model, which is also known as a “Software as a service” (Saas) model. Saas based software generally allows for greater stability and speed than a locally hosted model. Also contained in the document was the recommendation that the campus proceed with a full scale campus wide conversion to Canvas over the next year and a half, ending in December 2017.

Now that the academic data gathering process and recommendation are finished, in accordance with MU’s procurement guidelines, a request for proposals (RFP) was released in February, and potential vendors were invited to respond. The RFP closed March 8, and now a committee of educational technology professionals from across the UM System is evaluating the responses with a pre-determined rubric to determine the best proposed solution. The plan is to have a final decision and award a multi-year contract for an LMS before the start of the summer semester.