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When was the last time your institution considered the effectiveness of your learning management system (LMS)? If you are like most schools, your LMS was put to the test in the last few years due to rapid shifts to online learning. Your institution may benefit from a thorough LMS evaluation, a process that analyzes faculty, student body and course needs and determines if a new system would better fit current demands.

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If you decide on a new LMS, the process of migrating to the new system can be overwhelming, especially in the tight timeframe that most institutions face. Often, starting the LMS migration reveals other needs, such as archiving historical course content and student data or replacing video file links if your institution is also moving to a new video platform provider. This transition requires more time and working capacity. Training faculty and students on the new system only adds to the stress of the undertaking.

When Bradley Denison, director of the educational technology services of the College of the Mainland (COM), was tasked with facilitating an LMS evaluation, he understood the importance of listening to stakeholder needs, carefully analyzing priorities and devising a clear plan to meet the institution’s demands. And as a communication specialist, Denison also recognized the significance of keeping faculty informed throughout the transition. Recently, EdSurge sat down with Denison to discuss his experience with K16 Solutions, a leader in LMS migration, archiving and integration.

EdSurge: Why did you choose K16 Solutions for your LMS migration process?

Denison: A couple of years ago, we began an LMS evaluation, which was assisted by a faculty-led committee. My role was to facilitate faculty knowledge and look for gaps or needs in the transition if we changed systems. And after the year-long evaluation, we determined we needed to change systems and chose Brightspace by D2L. Speaking with any of the major LMS players, K16 Solutions came up at just about every turn as the primary option for course conversions done right and timely. On a larger scale, such as the one we faced at COM, K16 Solutions was really the best choice.

Bradley Denison

Did K16 Solutions offer a demonstration of the end product before you started the migration?

Yes, we were actually able to demo K16 Solutions before making a decision about our LMS transition. They showed us how the courses would look in Brightspace, which was reassuring to our faculty. K16 shared how the entire process would unfold, and it was very easy to follow their intended path.

What challenges did your institution face with the LMS migration?

The College of the Mainland needed to migrate thousands of courses in a compressed timeframe. We decided on a new LMS and began working in the new system a month later—it was very fast. Within two months of the decision, K16 began the conversion process.

Our courses are a mix of online, hybrid and face-to-face. The college did some of the more straightforward conversions in-house, but we quickly realized we needed help to do the entire migration in the given timeframe.

K16 was incredibly helpful in meeting our deadlines. Their ability to migrate the more challenging course shells was key, especially for our faculty who teach hybrid or only in-person courses, equating to much more content. In those complex cases, we were impressed with the automated conversions from K16. Our faculty also recognized the difference with K16’s migration. K16 offered rapid turnaround and much less cleanup.

How do you measure your partnership success with K16 Solutions?

We quickly realized we needed help to do the entire migration in the given timeframe.

K16 Solutions was fantastic at listening to our needs. We showed them an example of what we wanted the end product to look like in Brightspace and explained how our college operates on the system. We gave them feedback throughout the process, and they improved upon it. Having the opportunity to tweak the procedure with them was very helpful.

Late into the conversion process, we found some issues with a handful of courses. K16 helped work through those obstacles, even though the courses had already completed the conversion. Their customer support was great. I only wish we would have invested triple the amount with K16 Solutions. They simplified the process for us, especially with the less technology-forward courses. We were able to set up courses how we wanted in a challenging timeframe.