After 10 years of using Blackboard Inc. applications, Kingston University experienced tremendous growth, usage and adoption. In fact, over 95% of students and more than 80% of academic staff use Blackboard Learn™ as their virtual learning environment (VLE). As the years passed and adoption grew, the time came for Kingston to re-evaluate their learning technologies.

In consultation with faculty and students across all disciplines, the evaluation committee engaged in a year-long review which included a functional assessment of Blackboard Learn, ™ 9.1 and other open source alternatives. The evaluation was prompted by a variety of reasons but alignment to the University’s new Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy was especially important. To learn more about Kingston’s evaluation experience, we spoke with Dr. Tim Linsey, the Director of e-Learning at Kingston University, who identified the primary factors that contributed to their decision to select Learn, 9.1.

  • Efficient Content Management: The evaluation committee concluded that Learn 9.1’s content management was more streamlined and efficient than the two-step process common with other open source systems, and with superior meta-data capabilities, it provided the best opportunities to share content both inside and outside of the institution.
  • Open Standards Support:  Kingston wants to provide a reliable authoring environment, one in which content could be deployed wherever needed. Among the VLE’s they evaluated, Learn 9.1 was the only that could successfully export using Common Cartridge.
  • Pedagogical Flexibility: Control over the course and course content is of the utmost importance to ensure it best meets the needs of the educational community. Kingston found that Learn 9.1 provides the pedagogical flexibility they need, enabling students to engage, contribute and take ownership over their learning.

“With Blackboard, we are confident that we’re future-proofing our investment in online course development and delivery,” said Dr. Tim Linsey. “Partnering with Blackboard will help us achieve our learning, teaching and assessment objectives both now and in the future.”

To learn more about the evaluation experiences of other institutions (and access to rubrics, surveys, timelines and reports) please visit the Learn, 9.1 Evaluation Resource Center.

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