Saturday, November 08, 2008

The CCCS Learning Management System RFP

In the summer of 2008 the Learning Technology Council (LTC) initiated an RFP process for the Learning Management System. There were several reasons for this decision. First, our current contract with Blackboard expires on June 30th of 2009. The size of this contract is such that the LTC feels that we have a fiscal responsibility to look at our options before signing another multi-year contract. We also feel that the market for learning management systems has changed significantly since the last RFP and warrants another look. Then in July of this year Blackboard announced the development schedule for their new, combined product, Blackboard Next Generation. Their product development schedule suggests that if we stay with Blackboard we will find ourselves migrating to a new BB product in about two years. Thus we are probably migrating to a "new" LMS whatever the result of this RFP process. And last, Blackboard Vista has not been as stable a product for us as we would like it to be, leaving us wondering about its ability to handle the growth in usage we expect over the next two years.

The RFP process formally began last spring, when we surveyed faculty for your input on the current LMS and your thoughts about a potential change. Later that spring and into the summer the LTC invited potential LMS vendors to make presentations to us as part of an overall market review. Finally in August we formalized the RFP committee as the members of the Learning Technology Council plus a representative from SFAC, Kathy Winograd (English Faculty from ACC). This means that every college has at least one representative on the RFP committee. (This membership list is for internal use only.)

It is very important to the selection committee to have input into the LMS decision from as many faculty and staff as possible. To facilitate this input the committee will ask the finalists in the selection process to provide a sandbox with access to their product for usability testing. The access will include faculty, student, and administrative roles. The selection committee will have a feedback survey available for your use once you've had a chance to review the products. The tentative dates for the sandboxes and surveys are Nov. 17th through December 3rd. We would appreciate it if you would block out some time for this review during that period.

As the RFP process for the new Learning Management System moves forward, the selection committee has outlined a plan for evaluating vendors and making our recommendation to the Executive Steering Committee (made up of CCCS senior administrators and several college presidents) by mid-January. The tentative schedule is as follows:
* Sept 18th, RFP released;
* Oct. 30th, proposals due back from vendors;
* Nov. 14th, first vendor down-select, possibly to 2-4 finalists;
* Nov. 17th through December 3rd, usability testing (sandboxes available);
* Dec. 3rd through December 5th, vendor presentations to the selection committee;
* Dec. 7th through mid-December, possible visits by a technical team to the finalist's hosting facilities;
* Mid-December, final analyses and reports from sub-committees;
* Early January, Final summary analysis;
* Mid-January, recommendation to Executive Steering Committee;
* Summer 2009 and fall 2009, pilot new LMS.
If you have additional questions please contact your LTC representative. We will continue to post updates (including committee membership) on the wiki -


The Learning Technology Council

CCCOnline, Rhonda Epper, Lisa Cheney-Steen, and David Chatham
CCCS-IT, Julie Ouska
ACC, Lee Christopher
CCA, George Lesko
CCD, Jeanne Stroh
CNCC, Sandy McKelvey
FRCC, Tammy Vercauteren and Donna Hall
LCC, Vicke Denniston
MCC, Don Estes
NJC, Cyndi Vandenbark
OJC, Vanessa Forselius
PCC, Robin Leach
PPCC, Julie Witherow and Fabrizio Labate
RRCC, Rebecca Woulfe
TSJC, Jocelyn King


Joel Fisler said...

Did you also look at open source solutions like OLAT ( Since you are talking about "vendors" I suppose your target is mainly on commercial solutions? If that is the case I would argue that most of todays open source solutions like OLAT, Moodle or Sakai do have the same advanced (or even better) features like their commercial counterparts and it would be a shame to leave them out of your evaluation.

I am working at the Multiemdia and E-Learning Services of the University of Zurich and we are not only using an open source LMS (OLAT) here at the University but also using open source software for other tasks. The big advantage is not that you dont have to pay license fees but that you can alter the software and add new features if something is missing or fix bugs if you think that something is not working correctly.

Lisa Cheney-Steen said...

Hi Joel-

I hadn't heard of that LMS.

We were only interested in hosted solutions, and of course we have to follow state purchasing rules, so if a hosting company didn't respond to our RFP we can't look at them.


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