Activating Blackboard Classroom
Sakai Learning Management System Over the past decade, a learning management system (LMS), presently Blackboard, has become a critical component in the fulfillment of Loyola’s academic mission. Two years ago Loyola began a process of systematically testing other learning management systems to determine whether they could better serve the evolving needs of our faculty and students. A team comprised of Loyola faculty and students, and staff from Academic Technology Services and the Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy collaborated on a demonstration project to evaluate the viability of open-source systems. Following an 18-month pilot and careful study, this project team determined that the hosted solution of Sakai could best meet the teaching and learning goals at Loyola.
A growing number of Loyola faculty members who have switched to Sakai have commented on its ease of use and enhancements to the current LMS environment. Students have provided similar feedback. Nevertheless, some Loyola students are currently using two different learning management systems. In order to reduce this burden on students and faculty both, and to improve the tools available for teaching and learning, Loyola will be changing its learning management and community systems from Blackboard to Sakai, beginning with Summer Sessions 2013. Loyola’s Council of Deans has reviewed the work of the project team, endorsed the team’s findings, and supports the current recommendation to move to Sakai, which will also realize significant cost savings to the University.
As an open-source system, Sakai provides a collaborative learning environment where development and use of the system is enhanced by the educational community of users, allowing for a more timely incorporation of contemporary tools. In an academic world where technologies change to address new learning, universities need to position themselves to be able to adapt; open-source alternatives provide this flexibility.
You will be hearing more details about the project schedule, along with a comprehensive training and support plan for faculty. For more information, visit LUC.edu/sakai.
We want to thank the many students, faculty, and staff with whom we have consulted as part of this change process and who have contributed their time to surveys, focus groups, pilot projects, advisory committees, and planning teams. Your feedback and suggestions have contributed in a significant way to the future of communication, collaboration, and teaching and learning at Loyola.