A better learning experience on mobile. Better tools to enhance student engagement. A more modern, intuitive interface. Welcome to Brightspace, a new learning management system (LMS) being introduced by Western which will change the learning experience for the campus community.
Brightspace will power Online Western Learning (OWL), the core learning platform for the university.
The system is being introduced by Western in partnership with software company D2L Inc., developer of Brightspace.
The new LMS replaces Sakai, the platform which has powered OWL at Western for over a decade. Western uses OWL to manage and deliver undergraduate, graduate, continuing studies and human resources courses for the entire Western community.
The development follows a year-long search for a new LMS. The move to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated awareness about changing requirements from an LMS in the context of a higher education institution like Western. The increased capacity and scalability offered by a new cloud-based LMS would also be instrumental in supporting Western’s strategic goals in future, according to the university. The LMS would also be instrumental in supporting Western’s strategic goals in future, according to the university.
“Western is committed to providing our students, faculty, and staff with the tools they need to succeed. Our new learning management system will help deliver an enriched learning experience and the ability to promote more innovative teaching and learning methods,” said Florentine Strzelczyk, provost and vice-president (academic).
The new LMS was selected through a community-driven process where staff, faculty and students provided feedback through community surveys, listening sessions, system demos and sandboxes.
The project team, comprised of members from Western Technology Services and the Centre for Teaching and Learning, gathered feedback from the Western community through surveys in fall of 2022. Community feedback generated over 5,000 responses.
“As we implement Brightspace on campus, we look forward to improving support for mobile devices, user experience and integration capabilities,” said Susan Lewis, vice-provost (academic programs).
The new LMS addresses key areas of enhancement identified by the community, including:
- Better support for mobile
- A more modern and intuitive interface
- Better integration with other eLearning tools
- Increased stability and performance
- More reliability for large online assessments
- Better tools to support student engagement
- Data and learning analytics
The new LMS also supports strategic goals outlined in Western’s strategic plan, Towards Western at 150, specifically in the areas of strategic growth, enriching student experience and teaching and learning in the future.
The new OWL is expected to take flight in spring 2024.