What’s Next for the Learning Management System

What’s next for learning the management system?

Wentworth faculty, students, and staff turned out this fall to provide feedback on three learning management systems (Brightspace, Canvas, and Blackboard Ultra) to replace our current Blackboard Learn LMS in the upcoming academic year. Community feedback was gathered and testing of these products against use cases (identified by the LMS Taskforce and given to each of the vendors as part of the RFP) is underway. A small team of faculty, students, staff, and academic leaders were invited to review the vendor evaluations, make a recommendation for selection of Wentworth’s next LMS, participate in defining a transition and rollout plan for migration from Blackboard Learn (current LMS) to the new, and recommend minimum use criteria and a course template. The LMS Selection and Rollout Steering team will meet first part of Spring to forward their recommendations. Members include:

  • Pat Hafford –Academic Leadership, College of Professional and Continuing Education and College of Arts and Sciences
  • Lora Kim –College of Architecture, Design and Construction Management
  • Mel Henricksen –College of Arts and Sciences
  • Jim McCusker –College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Kayleigh Carmichall –WSG
  • Derek Cascio –College of Architecture, Design and Construction Management
  • Hadi Kazemiroodsari –College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Jody Gordon –College of Arts and Sciences
  • John Cribbs –College of Architecture, Design and Construction Management
  • Marisha Rawlins –College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Cidhinnia Torres Campos – College of Professional and Continuing Education and Office of Institutional Effectiveness
  • Ke’Anna Skipwith –College of Professional & Continuing Education, Wentworth Online
  • Lynn Cooke and Tes Zakrzewski – Learning Innovation & Technology


Don’t Let the Weather Disrupt Your Course!

Unexpected events can disrupt precious class time. With a little preparation, you can keep the continuity of learning moving:

  • post course content on Blackboard Learn
  • use various discussion options to engage students in dialogue (discussion forums, VoiceThread)
  • create short content videos to deliver content whether it’s narrating and annotating slides or problem solving using Panopto or the Lightboard
  • hold virtual office hours or group problem solving sessions using GotoMeeting or Zoom
  • hold a virtual real-time class using GotoMeeting, GotoTraining, or Zoom

For a course consult with an instructional designer, stop by LIT in Beatty 318, email lit@wit.edu, or call 617-989-5428.

What’s Your Course Accessibility Score?

Starting December 17th, 2019 your Blackboard Learn courses received the gift of Ally, a tool that gauges content accessibility and provides guidance and tips to make lasting improvements. Use self-help resources  on www.wit.edu/accessibility, attend LIT workshops or drop into Beatty 318 for more information.

Can Universal Design for Learning (UDL) reduce your course pain points? UDL is a sound educational practice demonstrated to move the needle on student persistence, satisfaction, and retention by reducing barriers of learning for everyone, especially reaching mobile learners through anytime, anywhere interactions.

Alternative formats files can be downloaded: tagged PDF, HTML, ePub, Electronic Braille, and Audio

Student’s Get: multiple formats to access content uploaded to their courses to make it easier to use content on mobile devices in tagged PDF, HTML, ePub, audio and electronic braille formats.




Faculty Get: Only faculty see at-a-glance scores that show how accessible uploaded files are with tips on how to make them even better (PDF, Word, PowerPoint, OpenOffice/LibreOffice, uploaded HTML).

Visual color dials indicating low, medium, high, and perfect Ally accessibility scores






Course Accessibility Report

Faculty can add a course tool link to view their Course Accessibility Report.

depiction of Ally course accessibility dashboard

Rethinking the Way College Students are Taught

Image result for teaching styles

Learners often express preferences about how they would like to receive information – by reading, hearing or doing – and these are often referred to as ‘learning styles’. Many teachers believe that assessing learning styles and teaching to learners’ preferences will improve learning.

While your students may have a preference, they also use different styles depending on the type of content being taught. For example, if you are teaching an engineering course that requires diagrams and visuals, student adapt their style to use their visual skills, because this makes the most sense and the best way to learn the content. However, students may need additional content using their preferred learning style to reinforce and/or drive home the new knowledge – reading – hands on activities – opportunities to reflect and have discussions with their peers. These teaching strategies provide additional support for your students.

By using a more student-centered approach to your teaching, students are encouraged to be more independent, and have more autonomy over their learning. Student engagement provides an environment which enables them to focus on their learning style and adapt to new knowledge that works for them.

Read More: Rethinking the Way College Students are Taught

Post Course Copy House Cleaning Tips

Reminder: Once you’ve copied a past course into the current term, while most of your prep work is done, you are not quite finished. There are some important housekeeping items to remember:

    1. Check Content and assessment items and revise/replace them as needed. Make sure content is in the appropriate location. Consult your department for any specific requirements.
    2. Run the Date Management tool, correct due dates, and release dates associated with items. Documentation for Date Management
    3. Use Link Checker tool to Check all External Links Documentation for Link Checker
    4. Check all links embedded in content items – Link Checker does not check these links.
    5. Check YouTube and other Mashup Content, is the media still available? Choose replacements as needed. Check other third-party content like Atomic Learning and Lynda/Linkedin Learning videos, too. As we refine the academic technology toolkit, some tools may be replaced and content will also need to be replaced.
    6. Grade Center Clean-Up – Remove (don’t just hide) any unneeded columns (from quizzes/tests/assignments that have been removed) and make sure grade calculations include the correct columns/categories and weighting. If you are adding assignments, make sure the grades calculate properly. CPCE courses are based on 1000 points. Added assignments can inflate this value.
    7. Remove any grading Schemas not in use. Wentworth changed its undergraduate grade schema starting in Fall 2018. If you’ve copied your course, you may have copies of the older schema that can impact how grades are displayed in your course.
    8. Check to make sure settings on Discussion Forum are appropriate for your course and allow students to create new threads. We discourage allowing students to delete their own posts because most online and hybrid courses require students to reply to other students’ posts and deleting posts with replies could impact the grades of other students.

This information is available as a pdf.

Follow these steps and you’ll be off to a good start of the semester.