Guest post by Misty Hanks, Coordinator of Instructional Design, at Morehead State University in Kentucky.

Over the past several years, Morehead State’s online course adoption (both hybrid and fully online) has grown considerably. In fact, nearly every course has an online component and purely online courses grew from 17% to 28% during the last five years. With the success of our online program, coupled with a limited budget, we had to consider the most appropriate learning management system (LMS) for our University.

When we started the evaluation process, we were using Blackboard Learn 7.3. We considered either upgrading to Blackboard Learn 9.1 or adopting Moodle with the overall goal to find a solution that would help faculty create interactive and engaging learning environments while remaining cost-effective.  We spoke with other institutions and faculty about their experiences using both solutions. The feedback highlighted the overall simplicity of the updated Learn 9.1 interface, the inclusion of SafeAssign™ (the plagiarism detection solution) and the ease of the upgrade.  I’m thrilled to say that we are extremely happy with our decision to upgrade to Learn 9.1.

Based on prior experience, we were dreading the typical upgrade headache – the onslaught of helpdesk calls, the faculty concerns about learning a new system, the unanticipated bugs. I am delighted to report, however, that our upgrade experience to Learn 9.1 was both smooth and well-received. The support we got from Blackboard was great — the Managed Hosting team kept us on schedule to help us meet our launch date and the upgrade strategies and resources gained by participating in the Cohort Program were invaluable.

We’re hearing nothing but praise from all directions!

  • We continue to report a helpdesk call volume at about one third of our normal rate for the “back to school” time of year, and that is with an upgrade.
  • Our students are very satisfied with the cutting edge features such as mash-ups, blogs and wikis.
  • Our faculty members have actually stopped administrators on the sidewalk to talk in-detail about the Learn 9.1 features they really like.

When we think about our upgrade experience, we concluded that that Learn 9.1 saves faculty a great deal of time, students find the user interface intuitive, and the product does exactly what it is supposed to do. Our dreaded upgrade was a huge success!

Read more about Morehead State’s decision to upgrade to Blackboard Learn 9.1 in this article written for The Trail Blazer, Morehead State’s school newspaper and the recent press release.

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