LMS Evaluation

Digital Learning Technologies Committee


Selecting UAA’s next Learning Management System is incredibly important work that will have an impact on faculty, staff, and students for years to come. We are pleased to serve as the co-chairs of the Digital Learning Technologies Committee and look forward to input from the UAA community. This webpage will keep stakeholders informed about the DLTC’s process and present opportunities to become involved in this work. So stay tuned for more information in the coming months about the evaluation process and how you can have input. Don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us on the committee with questions.

Message from the Co-Chairs

Kathrynn Hollis-Buchanan, MBA, EdS, abd EdD, Co-Chair, Associate Professor, Kodiak College
Claudia Lampman, PhD., Co-Chair, Vice Provost for Students Success, Dean of the Honors College, and Professor of Psychology


The charge for the Digital Learning Technologies committee is to evaluate and make recommendations as to whether UAA should select Blackboard Ultra or Canvas for its next LMS, taking into account at least the following factors:

  1. requirements for faculty transition to each LMS (Blackboard Ultra and Canvas)
  2. requirements for IT and other support services to facilitate the transition to each LMS
  3. overall costs of the transition to each LMS, including contract fees and indirect costs (e.g., staff support, training, faculty compensation for transition work, etc.)
  4. feasibility of the transition to each LMS, given available support services/resources
  5. availability of embedded or add-on platforms to support related needs in each LMS, such as test proctoring, non-credit course registration, E-portfolio use, student success alerts and data tracking, etc.

As part of the evaluation process, the committee will:

  • develop/use clear criteria for LMS comparison
  • recruit feedback from stakeholders (student, staff, and faculty)
  • provide transparency and communication with the larger UAA community throughout the evaluation process

The committee should complete its work and provide its recommendation no later than April 1, 2022.

Committee Membership

  • Claudia Lampman, Co-Chair, Vice Provost for Student Success
  • Kathrynn Hollis-Buchanan, Co-Chair, Associate Professor of Accounting and Business, CBPP and Kodiak College
  • Julie Gardella, Analyst and Program Specialist at University of Alaska Center for Economic Development
  • Megan Gunderson, Instructional Design & Technology Specialist, Prince William Sound College
  • Ginger Blackmon, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, School of Education
  • Chokri Sendi, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Clair Kochis, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Kenai Peninsula College
  • John Zetterman, Infrastructure Services Director, Information Technology Services
  • Yvonne Chase, Associate Professor of Human Services, College of Health
  • Douglass Bourne, Term Assistant Professor, Community & Technical College
  • Holli Yancey, Instructional Design and Technology Director, Center for Human Development
  • Katie Walker, Instructional Designer, College of Health Clinical Health Sciences
  • Shanone Tejada, USUAA Senator (student)
  • Ella Bryner, USUAA Delegate (student)

Subcommittee Updates 2/3/22

Course Development and Review in LMS Test Environments 

Ginger Blackmon, Doug Bourne, Yvonne Chase, Clair Kochis, and Chokri Sendi

  • Members of the Course Development and Review subcommittee have developed course content in Blackboard Ultra and Canvas and are using student volunteers to test and provide feedback on their experience. In addition, this subcommittee will be providing feedback on the faculty experience working in Blackboard Ultra and Canvas.

Feature Comparison

Julie Gardella, Megan Gunderson, Katie Walker, Holli Yancey, Kathryn Schild (non-voting) with Students Ella Bryner and Shanone Tejada

  • The Feature Comparison subcommittee is building a comprehensive side-by-side comparison table of Blackboard Ultra and Canvas features. In addition, they are analyzing survey data (283 responses) to identify the top feature categories for faculty and students, and will be using all the comments received to ensure the feature comparison is comprehensive.

Cost, Transition, and Technical Considerations

Kathrynn Hollis-Buchanan, Claudia Lampman, Ben Shier, and John Zetterman

  • The Cost, Transition, and Technical Considerations subcommittee is preparing a report comparing the cost of platform licensing, course migration, and training and support for the transition from our current LMS to Blackboard Learn Ultra and Canvas. This analysis will also assess how integrations and 3rd party add ons are handled, as well as other technical requirements and considerations.

Evaluation Project Phases

Full committee met with sales representatives and attended demonstrations of Blackboard Ultra and Canvas (November 2021)

Committee members are working in three subcommittees (December 2021 through February 2022)

  • Course Development and Review in LMS Test Environments
  • Feature Comparison
  • Cost, Transition, and Technical Considerations

The committee will complete its work and provide a recommendation to the Provost by April 1, 2022.

The Provost plans "to make a decision about the new LMS by the end of the Spring 2022 semester, allowing a 15-month period in which to phase in either Blackboard Learn Ultra or Canvas in a supportive, training-rich environment."