Redundancy, Global Accessibility, Continuous Delivery and Overall Reliability of the University Learning Management System (LMS)… sound good? Well, add to that, access to an enhanced student experience, enhanced feature possibilities, and the peace of mind that the system will be available 24×7, and you have the Blackboard Learn Essentials Software as a Service (SaaS) portfolio that the University has elected to migrate to for the 18/19 Academic Session starting in Fall 2018.
Arkansas Tech was an early adopter of the Blackboard platform in 2001, starting on Blackboard 5 with 16 instructors to deliver online classes. As of Spring 2018, now on version 9.1, the LMS has over 10,583 active user accounts and 1573 available courses, facilitating online and face-to-face courses, as well as a number of organizational and custom use models.
Blackboard Learn has always been a self-hosted system running in our own on-campus data center. However, with the continuing demand for 24-hour access, global reach and reliability requirements; the University has been developing a plan to migrate to a cloud solution. Delivered on a modern cloud computing technology stack, the SaaS deployment method for Blackboard Learn provides that scalable and reliable foundation for a “World-Class” learning experience.
Another change? Nope, not for now; this is just a switch in deployment methods and users can expect very little change in how the LMS “looks” to you. Granted, this does open the possibilities of feature enhancements in the future, such as the “Ultra Experience”, which will provide students and faculty a richer, more robust platform. For now, some of the initial benefits of this switch include:
- Enhanced quality – Fixes & maintenance delivered more quickly for superior performance
- Rapid innovation – Enhancements & features delivered more quickly for a quality user experience
- Improved experience – Zero downtime updates provide fewer system interruptions and inconvenience
- Better support – Dedicated to user experience, without the hassles of system administration
- Peace of mind – Experienced Blackboard staff managing system operations 24x7x365
Arkansas Tech is committed to advancing its educational technology for the mutual benefit of students and professors. This migration is one of the steps in that continued commitment.