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Center for Academic Technology

2018 Learning Management System Review

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
March 19-20, 2018 Brightspace by Desire2Learn vendor demonstrations
March 22-23, 2018 Canvas by Instructure vendor demonstrations
Fall 2018 Moodle 3.5 release & demonstration



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 out on Tuesday, January 23; faculty, staff, and students should check their inboxes for an email titled "Moodle Satisfaction Survey" to participate in the LMS review. Reminder emails with survey links will be sent out the week of February 5.

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.

This decision was reached based on a review of LMS adoption literature. The committee concluded that the most recent version of Moodle (3.5) should be compared against the other candidates.  Canvas was chosen due to the high quality of reviews among peer and R1 institutions and that it is currently being used by Butler in the Executive Education program.  Brightspace was chosen due to the high quality of reviews and its growing share in the marketplace. The results of the Moodle survey and three pilots will be used to decide the future direction of Butler's LMS. 

Brightspace will demonstrate their learning environment on March 19 and 20, and Canvas is scheduled for March 22 and 23. The demonstrations will last 45 minutes followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. All faculty, staff, and students are welcome to attend, and formal feedback will be collected at the end of the session. A Moodle 3.5 demonstration will be scheduled after the new version is released in Fall 2018 (Butler is currently using version 3.1).

Vendors from Brightspace will demonstrate their system on:

  • Monday, March 19, 3-4pm (location TBD)
  • Tuesday, March 20, 10-11am (location TBD)

Vendors from Canvas will demonstrate their system on:

  • Thursday, March 22, 3-4pm (location TBD)
  • Friday, March 23, 10-11am (location TBD)