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Center for Academic Technology

2018 Learning Management System Review


Beginning in late 2017 and lasting through 2018, Butler reviewed the University's learning management system (LMS). LMS reviews are slated to occur every five years. The 2018 review consisted of the following components:

  • Moodle 3.1 satisfaction survey;
  • Comprehensive literature review and market analysis informed selection of LMSs for piloting;
  • Vendor campus demo visits;
  • Implementation of comprehensive pilot of Moodle 3.5, Brightspace and Canvas involving 26 faculty and over 600 students;
  • Pilot participant surveys and focus group feedback;
  • Scoring of technical criteria (accessibility, security, integrations--which include Turnitin, Panopto, Zoom, etc.);
  • LMS review committee deliberation and vote. Committee consisted of eight faculty members and three students (two from SGA and one from Moodle Development and Steering team);
  • Vote outcome and recommendation presented to Provost, Provost Advisory Committee, and Associate Deans.


The LMS review committee examined summary data from the pilots and technical criteria. Members were asked to rank the systems in order of preference. The final rankings were as follows:

  • Canvas first place votes = 7 (64%)
  • Brightspace first place votes = 3 (27%)
  • Moodle first place votes = 1 (9%)

Canvas received a nearly 2 to 1 preference over the competing systems and was therefore recommended to the Provost and Provost Advisory Committee. In mid-December 2018, the Provost authorized the University to pursue a contract with Instructure (the company that owns Canvas). The contract with Instructure was finalized in March 2019.  Implementation will begin  mid/late spring 2019 with select courses being delivered in Canvas in Summer 2019.

Implementation Timeline

Canvas's implementation at Butler will begin on a small scale in mid-spring 2019 and continue at a larger scale in Summer and Fall 2019. Migrations from Moodle to Butler will be primarily scheduled by college and program but individual opt-ins will be honored when possible. All Butler courses beginning Spring 2020 will be in Canvas. Placement exams and non-academic course sites will be migrated to Canvas in Spring and Summer of 2020. A more detailed implementation timeline is forthcoming.

Training and Migration Support

Moodle course content can be automatically migrated to Canvas course sites. Instructors should expect some amount of content cleanup after migration. Online training modules, getting started guides, consultation and group instruction sessions will be offered throughout the implementation.

Contact for more information

Timeline of LMS Review

October 9, 2017  MDS voted to approve LMS review
January 3, 2018  CAT received IRB approval for Moodle survey
January 23, 2018  Moodle satisfaction surveys sent to faculty, staff, and students
February 2, 2018  LMS Evaluation Committee voted to pilot three systems: Canvas, Brightspace, Moodle 3.5
February 16, 2018 Moodle satisfaction surveys closed
March 19-20, 2018  Brightspace by Desire2Learn vendor demonstrations
March 22-23, 2018 Canvas by Instructure vendor demonstrations
Summer 2018  Moodle 3.5 release & demonstration
August 2018  Fall pilots began
September 14, 2018  LMS Review Information Session

Late October 2018

Pilot Surveys administered
Mid November 2018 LMS Review Committee reviews survey data
Late November 2018 LMS Review Committe members rank systems
Early December 2018 LMS rankings and Canvas recommendation presented to Associate Deans and PAC
Mid December 2018 Decision made to pursue negotiations with Instructure (Canvas)
Early March 2019 Contract Signed



In 2012, Butler evaluated and selected Moodle as the replacement to Blackboard. To chronicle and communicate the Learning Management System (LMS)  evaluation process, Butler created a website called the LMS Project which set the expectation for institutional review of the LMS at an interval of five years. Therefore, commencement of a new LMS review in 2018 is in accordance with that time frame.

Over the past five years, much has changed in the landscape of higher education, from the ubiquity of personal technology available to students to the rise of quality online learning experiences. These trends have placed increased pedagogical demands on the LMS and the marketplace has responded with opportunities for a richer faculty and student experience as it strives to meet those demands.  As Butler seeks to continually provide our students and faculty with the tools they need to deliver the innovative educational experience that Butler faculty and students expect, it is appropriate that we take this time to review our position and investigate what the marketplace has to offer.

On October 9, 2017, the Moodle Development and Steering (MDS) group comprising faculty, Center for Academic Technology (CAT), and IT staff unanimously approved a formal review of the LMS. This decision has the support of the Provost, Associate Vice President of IT/Chief Information Officer, and Directors of APDI and CAT. With that approval, CAT and IT will move forward with an evaluation design that will be informed by user feedback and made available for comment.  Further, regular communication and updates regarding the evaluation process will be communicated via webpages dedicated to the 2018 LMS review.  Typical LMS review processes produce one of the following outcomes:

  • stay with current system;
  • adopt a new system;
  • expand or redesign the LMS review.

Learn more about LMS Leadership at Butler.


Moodle Satisfaction Surveys

Butler began the review of Moodle, the university's Learning Management System (LMS), by inviting faculty, staff, and students to take part in a research survey about Moodle use and satisfaction at Butler University, as well as the importance of certain features within any learning management system. Responses to the survey will serve to inform decisions within the evaluation process. The goals of the LMS evaluation are as follows:

  • Provide Butler faculty with the best LMS for their instruction and course administration;
  • Assure the LMS can provide optimal student experiences;
  • Ascertain which LMS will best position Butler University for future innovation.

Initial survey links were sent to faculty, staff, and students on Tuesday, January 23, and reminder emails with survey links were sent out the week of February 5. The Moodle Satisfaction Survey is now closed.

If you have any questions about the research study, please contact CAT at 317-940-8575 or This research has been reviewed the Butler University Institutional Review Board.


Learning Management System (LMS) Pilots

The LMS Evaluation Committee met on Friday, February 2 and voted to pilot three systems:

  • Canvas by Instructure,
  • Brightspace by Desire2Learn, and
  • Moodle 3.5.

Read more about the LMS Pilot process.