MUS Single Learning Management System
After an extensive vetting process, the Montana University System selected Canvas by Instructure as its single Learning Management System. In particular, Canvas impressed the evaluation team with its:
- Ease of use and intuitiveness
- Mobile friendliness
- Strong analytics that are easily accessible to faculty
- Canvas Commons, which enables easy sharing of content within and across institutions
- Flexible interoperability with outside tools
Moving to a single vendor across Montana’s public colleges and universities will help lower ongoing licensing costs, provide smaller institutions access to new tools, like 24X7 support, and provide students an improved and more consistent experience across the Montana University System.
Next Steps and Key Project Contacts
Now that a vendor has been selected, a system-level advisory committee and campus implementation leads will inform key decisions regarding the timeline, trainings, and supports for each campus's transition. Check-in here for further updates.
The transition planning process will be co-led by John Thunstrom, the MUS IT Director, and Dr. Susan Balter-Reitz, a professor of communication at MSU Billings, who is the Director of Online Initiatives for OCHE. In addition, Julie Clay is providing valuable support as a project manager.
Today, Montana University System institutions use three separate Learning Management Systems (LMS). In most cases, these systems have been in use for more than a decade, during which time pedagogies have evolved, use of learning management tools by faculty has grown, and the range of solutions available has expanded significantly.
In November 2021, the Board of Regents charged the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education to work with campuses to identify a single Learning Management System (LMS) vendor for the Montana University System. In Spring of 2022, an Advisory and Steering Committee was formed, consisting of faculty, staff, students and administrative leadership from across the system. This group conducted a needs analysis, which informed a request for proposals that launched in late Spring of 2023.
During the summer of 2023, vendor proposals were scored by a team of IT professionals, LMS administrators, and faculty. From this process, two vendors (D2L and Instructure) were invited to move forward to a demonstration phase, where a 14 member panel scored the two finalists on the faculty and student experience, their administrative, IT and analytics capabilities, and course migration fidelity. Additional factors that were evaluated at this stage were cost and company profiles. At the end of this process, Instructure (Canvas), emerged with a clear consensus.