WSU Learning Management Systems Committee Update:


Current News


If you were not able to attend any of the open forums conducted this week you can still view this recording of the final session.


The faculty committee has recommended that WSU pursue Blackboard Learn as the next LMS for the university.

The following Virtual Open Forums will be available to learn more about the recommended platform.

  • Wednesday, April 30th 3:00PM – 4:00PM
  • Thursday, May 1st 9:00AM – 10:00AM
  • Friday, May 2nd 9:00AM-10:00AM
  • Friday, May 2nd 2:00PM – 3:00PM

Connect through http://tinyurl.com/liamsoffice or by calling 866-290-9533, passcode 562 301 0714


Based on the responses to the most recent survey, the committee is compiling a rubric to be used for evaluating the various platforms under consideration.  The rubric will be used to rank each LMS system in terms of how it addresses the needs of the WSU community.  When the rubric is complete, it will be posted here.  The final survey summary is linked below

The timeline has been adjusted as the committee now plans to have the vendors come to campus to demonstrate their systems prior to a potential university-wide demonstration.



During spring semester 2013 a committee was established to assess WSU community attitude towards the Learning Management System (LMS) called Angel. At that time, the goal of the committee was to determine if faculty and staff were satisfied with this LMS or if there was a desire to move to a new system. A survey was constructed and distributed on September 6th 2013.

From the results of this survey, it is apparent there is an overwhelming desire to replace Angel with a more modern LMS.

Given these results, the committee considered two options to accomplish the desired goal of replacing Angel. The first option is to use an open source solution such as Moodle and the second option is to purchase a license for a commercial LMS product. Given the support and development available in commercial projects that are essential to WSU’s Global Campus, the open source option was abandoned.

From existing LMS commercial products three stand out as the most likely replacements for Angel at WSU: Canvas, Blackboard Learn, and Desire2Learn. In evaluating the features of these three potential LMS replacements, it is apparent that all are equivalent in terms of ease-of-use and each is much improved compared with Angel.  They all have the following features in common:

  • They have mobile applications and can run on smart phones, tablets, and computers using a variety of browsers and operating systems.
  • They allow uploads of gradebook data using Excel and other commonly used spreadsheet software.
  • They have similar feature sets in terms of tools (discussion/communication, file hosting, gradebooks, etc.) and can integrate with additional tools in a manner complaint with Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standards. For example, ExamSoft is used on the Spokane campus and is LTI compliant so integration with any of the above LMS products is assured. Tools from all major publishers also adhere to LTI standards and can be easily integrated.
  • Their current versions are ADA compliant.

Based on the survey responses, specific issues that need further consideration can be broken into two groups: Student Information Systems integration and the existence and support of LMS features specific to WSU.

Student Information Systems (SIS) integration.

Ideally, the replacement LMS would include at a minimum:

  1. Local administrative authority (for example, the ability to add staff and TAs to the LMS without having to use ROOMS). Also the new LMS must accommodate the addition of non-enrolled students to the course (UI and seminar students for example).
  2. LMS gradebook to zzusis grade roster integration (midterm and final grades).
  3. Complete enrollment data in gradebook (section numbers, student ID numbers, number of credits in variable credit courses).
  4. The ability to easily merge separate courses and labs into a single LMS course space.

WSU Specific LMS features.

Ideally, the replacement LMS would include at a minimum:

  1. A flexible gradebook that allows for csv uploads for those who use Excel to manage grades and allow for text entry in gradebook columns. In addition, the gradebook must have student contact ability so grading comments can be given to the student without having to exit the gradebook tool.

  2. The ability to integration with zzusis email along with the ability to bypass the LMS when responding to emails.

  3. A file server (drop box) feature that allows batch uploads and does not restrict for file types.

  4. The ability to minimize conversion issues from existing Angel courses to the new LMS.

  5. The ability to add links to courses that open outside of the LMS.

  6. The ability to customize course pages given a palate of choices.

  7. A course calendar that can integrate with department, college, and university web calendars.

  8. A flexible discussion board that allows the instructor to flag or feature a specific student responses. In addition, the discussion board must allow grading of student responses while using the tool (not having to manually enter discussion grades into the gradebook)

Final survey

The LMS committee has determined the most appropriate course of action was to create and distribute a second survey that would build upon faculty and staff needs in terms of Student Information System Integration and WSU Specific LMS features. The summary results of this last survey are linked here

survey summary link

Faculty and student responses to this next survey will be used to construct an LMS evaluation scoring rubric. Each of the three LMS vendors will be invited to visit the campus to demonstrate their product to faculty, staff, and students. Each product will be evaluated using the rubric described above. Attendee responses will also be gathered and complete evaluation results made available on this website. An open forum will be scheduled as well. Based on the evaluation metrics, the committee will make an LMS recommendation IT and Global Campus.

Proposed Timeline for Replacement LMS

  • Collect and tabulate second survey responses (end of January).

  • Create evaluation rubric (mid-February)

  • Schedule vendor campus demonstrations (before spring break). These visits will be open to the faculty, staff, and students.

  • LMS selection (before end of spring term)

  • Timeline graphic