Blackboard 9 Pilot History
The Selection Process: How did we get to Blackboard?
In 2007, the CSU began an LMS RFP process to help the 23 campuses narrow down the list of LMSes that would provide the accessibility, scalability, features, and integration that every CSU needs. The RFP and public documents are available here: http://dat.cdl.edu/lms/rfp
Of those that responded, five LMS products and service providers were awarded a Master Enabling Agreement allowing them to do business with the campuses. The winners include Blackboard, Angel, Moodle as hosted by MoodleRooms, and Sakai. (Note: No Sakai providers that responded met the requirements of the RFP, however Sakai as a product passed the product-specific portions.)
The goal was to provide the campuses with options, rather than making a product choice for them. Given the diversity of campuses, one solution would not work for all. Some campuses don't have the support/development personnel needed while others have a high level of technical resources, some are polytechnics, one is a Maritime Academy, and across the 23 campuses, student populations range from 300 to nearly 45,000 students.
Starting the Pilot
Many campuses were already using Blackboard or WeCT products and were curious about the Blackboard 9 system. Blackboard is hosting the Bb Learn 9 software for the pilot because it would not impact any existing campuses' implementations or take over their support queue.
The Pilot Process: Getting campuses online
Each campus that is interested has to fill out a Memorandum of Understanding that essentially promises an "in kind" exchange of staff/faculty time to be devoted to the pilot system for the investment made by the CSU Chancellor's Office.
Once we have that document, the campus sends the Blackboard administrator the list of courses and staff/faculty accounts. The admin creates blank course shells for the users in the Teacher role. The number of administrators on the system are kept at a minimum, so that campuses don't change system settings that could impact each others' courses.
The courses are used for a variety of purposes: sandboxes to play around, training and evaluation courses setup by instructional tech and faculty development staff, and full scale pilot courses with real course content and active students. We leave the use up to the campus.