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About LMS Review

This fall Drake is conducting a review of our Learning Management System (LMS). See below for answers to questions you may have, information about the overall review process, and minutes from the task force meetings.

What is an LMS?

A Learning Management System, or LMS, is a secure web-based tool used to organize and deliver materials and engage learners. It provides tools and functionality for file sharing, grading, discussion, and collaboration in face-to-face, blended, and online course environments. Drake currently uses Blackboard as its LMS. As with any technology, our LMS needs to be reviewed from time to time to ensure that it is still meeting campus needs.

What does the LMS review involve?

A task force made of faculty, staff, and students has been formed and is charged with developing review criteria. Task force members will evaluate data related to overall learning technology utilization (including mobile use), and current and past LMS adoption rates.

Once the review criteria are identified, the task force will likely bring in vendors for demonstrations and rate the possible solutions based on that criteria. The task force will then make a formal recommendation to faculty senate and the provost.

Why is Drake completing an LMS review?

Teaching and learning are the primary focal points of our institutional mission. Regular review of, and reflection on, the technology tools that supports teaching and learning ensures that we as an institution have what we need to support that mission today as well as into the future.

Who is participating in the LMS review?

The LMS review is being overseen by a task force comprised of faculty members from each of the colleges, staff members who work closely with both on-campus and online students, and student representatives. The project is sponsored by Provost Mattison. A full list of taskforce members is below. If you have questions at any time during the process, please feel free to reach out the task force representative in your area.

Faculty Representatives
  • College of Arts & Sciences: Shauna Kaplan
  • College of Business & Public Administration: Lynn McCool
  • College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences: Andy Miesner
  • Cowles Library: Marcia Keyser
  • Law School: Andrea Charlow
  • School of Journalism & Mass Communication: Jill VanWyke
  • School of Education: Trent Grundmeyer
Student Representatives
  • Sonya Benzmiller
  • Keegan Finger
  • Sarah Hutchison
Departmental Representatives
  • Academic Excellence & Student Success: Melissa Sturm-Smith
  • Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE): Craig Owens
  • Continuing Education & Professional Development (CEPD): Jean Hansen
  • Drake Online & Continuing Education (DOCE): Nichole Stabile
  • Information Technology Services (ITS): Karly Good (co-chair), Keren Fiorenza, Jerome Hilscher, Clayton Mitchell
  • Office of the Registrar: Jenny Tran-Johnson

Where can I get updates?

The task force will meet at least twice a month and we will provide regular updates in Blackboard instructor emails, OnCampus, bi-weekly ITS project calls, and on this page.

What criteria are being used to review the LMS?

Draft Criteria as developed by task force 9-26-19

Usability for Teaching and Learning/Mobile

  • The LMS and mobile user interfaces are responsive and communication capabilities should be streamlined, intuitive, and easy to use.
    • Multi-platform friendly solution including, Win, Mac, Android and iOS (mobile native browser and apps)
    • Accessibility: VPAT, ADA and 508 compliant.
    • Provides a solution for multiple purposes including teaching and learning, distance education, training, research, and continuing education, etc.
    • Easy migration of existing content; Instructor ability to copy/merge/transfer courses from an existing LMS platform to the new LMS platform
      • Affordable and sustainable transition from current LMS
        • data migration
        • existing course templates vs rebuild
    • Allow for flexible design.
    • Asynchronous interactivity between students; integration with synchronous distance communication tools.
  • Provide a student-centered solution.
    • Faculty should be able to use the LMS effectively to help students succeed.
    • Consistency in design and ease of navigation and reusability.
    • Allows for feedback (including voice and video options)
    • In-application two-way communication between students and instructors (not email)
    • Ability to provide both guest and observer users to expand experiences to additional users.
  • Engaging in and administering assessments including the collection, tracking, and storing of learning data, with further actions taken (possibly in other systems) based on the results of assessment(s). This includes multiple routes of analytics and reporting. Student, faculty and programmatic ability to track progress for learning objectives, course objectives, program objectives, assessments, accreditation, and reporting progress.
    • Robust assessment tool (multiple question types)
    • Ease of mapping learning outcomes, assessment analytics, & reporting
    • Include ePortfolio capabilities


  • Meets industry standards for vendor support, system stability, system security, compliance, and interoperability with university and third-party tools.
    • Integration with web accessible and third-party tools (i.e. ePortfolios).
    • Meets security and accessibility compliance standards including secure authentication (SAML 2.0).
    • Stable and secure platform with a 99.9% + guaranteed uptime.
    • Standardize APIs (Application Program Interface) for two-way data transfer to and from other university enterprise applications such as Banner, Starfish and data warehouse
      • Ensure we can include outside items via integration and not be held to a listing of only what the LMS company provides
    • Support documentation and higher-level support for users and administrators.
      • That is updated in a timely fashion

What are the anticipated outcomes?

A recommended plan and estimated budget will be provided to the provost and faculty senate by December 2019. We intend to use the process and criteria developed as part of this review as a template for conducting LMS reviews in the future.

LMS Review Final Report

What is the overall timeline for the review process?

  • September to December:
    Planning for LMS Review due to contract ending in June
    Data Collection about LMS usage and other educational technology
  • March: Discuss the LMS Review Process with the Provost
  • May: Develop charge and task force members in
  • August: Getting started with the task force
  • September: Develop review criteria
  • October: Vendor Demonstrations
  • November: Discuss demonstrations based on review criteria
  • December: Develop and disseminate recommendation based on review criteria to be provided to the Provost and Faculty Senate Technology Sub-committee
  • Continue discussions and planning based on the recommendation

Task Force Minutes

Below are the minutes from the LMS Review task force meetings. Please feel free to reach out directly to your area's representative if you have any questions.

September 3 Minutes (Kick off meeting)

September 9 Minutes

September 23 Minutes

October 7 Minutes

October 21 Minutes

November 4 Minutes

LMS Review Final Report

LMS Review Final Report

Please direct any questions to your LMS Review Task Force representative or the LMS Review Task Force Chair, Karly Good.

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