New Mexico Deploying New LMS Statewide

New Mexico is ending support for its current statewide LMS, Blackboard, by the end of the month and is replacing it with Brightspace, created by Canadian software company D2L. Course migration to the new system is happening this month, with training beginning next week and continuing through July 20.

Brightspace, an online learning management system, will be deployed to approximately 150,000 students in 65 K–12 districts and charter schools, as well as state agencies and tribal colleges, starting July 1. (There are 90 K–12 districts in New Mexico.)

New Mexico underwent a competitive review of its LMS options and chose cloud-based Brightspace because of its focus on personalized learning, support for third-party learning tools, robust administrative features and use of learning analytics to improve student outcomes, according to a statement.

“In New Mexico, there is an academic gap between rural and urban communities — students in some areas have access to a wider menu of course options, while others leave school ill-equipped for college,” said Amy Jaramillo, executive director of IDEAL New Mexico, in a prepared statement. Jaramillo served on the RFP evaluation committee during the selection process.

“With Brightspace’s personalized learning tools and analytics deployed and managed at a state level, we can support educators in preparing students for both higher education and a career,” she said.

Some of Brightspace’s features include:

  • Mobile and video content that allows students to access learning from anywhere and on any device, while providing more authentic ways of delivering feedback to students.
  • Game-based learning to engage students with new methods of teaching and learning by issuing trophies, encouraging competition on leaderboards, building game boards with various learning activities and unlocking levels as students demonstrate mastery of topics.
  • Learning analytics to help keep students on track.
  • Personalized learning which recognizes that not all students start at the same level and follow the same learning pathways. Different learning and assessment activities are offered for different students.

A challenging transition period is anticipated during the migration from Blackboard to Brightspace. For instance, every live course will have to be archived prior to its transition to Brightspace, and gradebooks will have to be downloaded from Blackboard so they can be uploaded to Brightspace. IDEAL-NM recommends that courses running concurrently with the migration be shut down for a few days to enable a transition as seamless as possible.

IDEAL-NM is an e-learning program of the New Mexico Public Education Department. The IDEAL-NM team has created a frequently asked questions document for instructors and administrators, available for download through its website. Brightspace was recently named the No. 1 LMS in higher education by Ovum Research, and No. 1 in adaptive learning by eLearning Magazine. In March, Fast Company magazine ranked Waterloo, Ontario-based D2L No. 6 on its list of most innovative companies of 2016 in the data science category.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].