New learning management system chosen

April 3, 2008

McMaster has selected a new learning management system (LMS).
The Blackboard Learning System was chosen after an extensive pan-university selection and evaluation process led by the Learning Technologies Resource Centre (LTRC). The new system will replace WebCT 4.1.

"Identifying a system that facilitates McMaster's diverse teaching and learning needs, provides cutting edge improvements and meets faculty, student and administrative expectations was the biggest challenge," says Bart Strong, executive director of the LTRC. "Blackboard does this and more."

A selection committee reviewed a dozen different learning systems, comparing and ranking each against McMaster's requirements.

"Colleagues from every part of the McMaster community came together to carefully reach a thoughtful decision that will benefit everyone on campus," says Dick Day, professor and a member of the committee.

The LTRC is working on an implementation plan for Blackboard. Training will begin this summer. It's expected the first wave of courses will migrate to the new system by September. Complete transition of the approximately 1,300 courses using the LMS will take a year to complete. Until that completion, the LTRC will run both Blackboard and WebCT4.1 in parallel.

"This is a very exciting time for McMaster," says Ilene Busch-Vishniac, provost. "The extensive work of the committee has resulted in a wise choice that ensures a dynamic learning environment for our students and faculty."

The community is encouraged to visit the LMS implementation website at
for updates as well as announcements for upcoming faculty forums and information sessions.