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LMS FAQs

What are the advantages of moving to Blackboard/OpenSUNY?

  • Evening and weekend helpdesk support for faculty and students would be provided by the OpenSUNY team in Albany.
  • OpenSUNY professional development opportunities would be available for faculty and instructional support personnel, many of which are free or significantly discounted.
  • Expanded opportunities for faculty collaboration with SUNY counterparts will exist via the SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence (COTE).
  • OpenSUNY application services provide management of the Blackboard environment, allowing Potsdam staff more time to devote to supporting teaching/learning and less to LMS administration and vendor management.
  • Because there are currently 51 Blackboard campuses in SUNY (and growing), including all the university centers and community colleges, being on a common LMS platform has specific advantages:
         - Non-matriculated students are more likely to enroll in a condensed term – i.e. summer and winter session-- which has enrollment growth potential
               for our campus.
         - Transition is eased for transfer students.
         - The development of online 2+2 programs is enhanced.
         - Opportunities for collaboration across SUNY campuses will be expanded, regardless of delivery format.

What is a possible timeline for implementing Blackboard?
It will take approximately 6-8 weeks to go live once procurement of a contract is completed. If we targeted fall 2017 as the date for complete migration to Blackboard, the following timeline could be used:

  • Immediately- Begin Blackboard training for Spring 2017 pilot group.
  • Mid-November - Blackboard environment deployed and configured.
  • Spring 17 - Pilot group implements courses using Blackboard.
  • Summer 17 - All online courses offered in Blackboard.
  • Fall 2017 - All courses have transitioned into Blackboard.

Who would provide training during the transition period?
Training can be coordinated through the CCI, and with the support of the new Instructional Designer. In addition, the CIO has identified SUNY employees who have served as Blackboard trainers for others campuses who can provide transitional support on an extra service basis as needed.

How long would it take to transition my classes from Moodle to Blackboard?
This is will vary based on the complexity and design of the learning materials used in the course. Courses with only static content (media, files, etc.) are a simple matter of uploading into the Blackboard course shell. Courses with more complex assessments may take longer to migrate or recreate.

If I want to start creating classes in Blackboard now, how soon could Blackboard be available?
If the campus decides soon to transition to Blackboard by the fall of 2017, training can begin in Mid-November of this year.

What support would be provided to students in making the transition from Moodle to Blackboard?
An orientation course would be offered for both students and faculty. Handouts, general FAQ’s, and other materials would be provided. There is a generic orientation course available from OpenSUNY. Additionally, the OpenSUNY helpdesk can assist students via email, phone, or chat.

How long do we expect the SUNY system to stay with Blackboard?
SUNY’s current contract expires in December 2017. Because 51 SUNY campuses currently utilize Blackboard as their LMS, the likelihood of a contract renewal is extremely high. Negotiations for renewal have already begun and we can expect the new contract to be for 6-10 years. In addition, there currently are campuses that are in the process of adopting Blackboard and it is unlikely that the system would pull their contract in mid-transition.

Does Blackboard have a tool that would assist faculty and students with issues of plagiarism?
Yes, Blackboard has an integrated tool called SafeAssign. However, this tool is not as robust as others that are currently on the market.

Which LMS costs more—Blackboard or Moodle?
It is difficult to compare the final “price,” because of the differences in support and service. The cost for hosting Blackboard or Moodle off-site is substantially the same. While there are additional costs for the OpenSUNY Helpdesk and Application services, these costs are minimal compared with the funding that would be needed to hire additional staffing and acquire the professional development resources in order to duplicate these services with Moodle.