USC switching to D2L
The University will transition from Blackboard in Summer 2024.
The University will transition from Blackboard in Summer 2024.
Starting Summer 2024, USC will stop using Blackboard to house course content and switch over to a new learning management system called Brightspace.
Blackboard plans to discontinue its current product by December 2023 in favor of the new Blackboard Learn Ultra, prompting the University’s switch away, said Sandeep Gupta, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and the co-chair of the LMS Assessment Committee. The committee is part of the LMS Replacement Initiative USC kickstarted in 2021 to find the ideal replacement.
“[Blackboard] was going to be completely redesigned as a new product under the same company,” Gupta said. “We felt that we then had to, essentially, compare [Blackboard’s] completely redesigned products with other products [to] provide the best one for our students.”
The LMS Assessment Committee was tasked with sampling various products and testing them based on user design, accessibility standards and customer support offerings. Three vendors presented their LMS: Blackboard for Blackboard Learn Ultra, Instructure for Canvas and D2L for Brightspace.
The LMS Assessment Committee comprises 49 USC community members, including faculty, students, deans, technologists, instructional designers and University administrators. The committee is only one of several groups working to ensure a smooth transition away from Blackboard, including the LMS Program Leadership, the Core Strategy Team, LMS Champions and several advisory councils.
As part of the evaluation process, each company demonstrated their product. Representatives were asked to create an example classroom and perform a wide variety of tasks using their LMS, ranging from creating and posting an assignment to checking one’s grades. The committee then tested the products themselves and scored each task, as well as placed tasks into larger categories and awarded them points. Brightspace ranked number one in communication, customer support, course creation, exams, grading and accessibility.
The LMS Replacement Initiative also held office hours, where faculty and students tested out vendors’ systems and asked questions about them.
Gupta said that while the full implementation will occur next summer, the University will run pilot programs in the spring, with some classes using Brightspace in lieu of Blackboard.
“The time to find out that something is wrong and needs to be fixed is not when it’s actually being used,” Gupta said. “It’s before.”
Allison Warren, a sophomore majoring in computational neuroscience, said she believes the change is a positive thing. She is already using Brightspace for her “Introduction to Data Science” class, and said the alternate platform has a more organized user interface and design than Blackboard.
“Honestly, I was never really a big fan of Blackboard, just because I didn’t like the way the website was structured,” Warren said. “I didn’t like how it was so hard to find random stuff, so I don’t think I’ll miss it that much.”
Some worry about the learning curve of switching to a new platform. Ana Regina Murguia, a junior majoring in business administration, said she’s weary of having to learn to navigate a whole new system.
“It’s kinda nerve-wracking,” Murguia said. “Every time you get something new, it’s a little difficult to learn at first.”
Many students have never heard of Brightspace before and wonder why something more familiar, like Canvas, was not chosen. Victor Ye, a junior majoring in communication, said he enjoys using Blackboard but is still excited to see what “extra advancements in technology” Brightspace has to offer.
“Blackboard is pretty self-explanatory and easy to use,” Ye said. “There’s an interface that showcases all the basic information that I need about my classes and the content.”
The Center for Excellence in Teaching will continue providing support to teachers during and after the transition period, and the Committee on Information Services will continue listening to and addressing any concerns about the new LMS.
The LMS Champions will test Brightspace further in the meantime and will conduct a usability study, Gupta said.
We are the only independent newspaper here at USC, run at every level by students. That means we aren’t tied down by any other interests but those of readers like you: the students, faculty, staff and South Central residents that together make up the USC community.
Independence is a double-edged sword: We have a unique lens into the University’s actions and policies, and can hold powerful figures accountable when others cannot. But that also means our budget is severely limited. We’re already spread thin as we compensate the writers, photographers, artists, designers and editors whose incredible work you see in our daily paper; as we work to revamp and expand our digital presence, we now have additional staff making podcasts, videos, webpages, our first ever magazine and social media content, who are at risk of being unable to receive the compensation they deserve.
We are therefore indebted to readers like you, who, by supporting us, help keep our paper daily (we are the only remaining college paper on the West Coast that prints every single weekday), independent, free and widely accessible.
Please consider supporting us. Even $1 goes a long way in supporting our work; if you are able, you can also support us with monthly, or even annual, donations. Thank you.
Click on the different category headings to find out more. You can also change some of your preferences. Note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our websites and the services we are able to offer.
These cookies are strictly necessary to provide you with services available through our website and to use some of its features.
We provide you with a list of stored cookies on your computer in our domain so you can check what we stored. Due to security reasons we are not able to show or modify cookies from other domains. You can check these in your browser security settings.
These cookies collect information that is used either in aggregate form to help us understand how our website is being used or how effective our marketing campaigns are, or to help us customize our website and application for you in order to enhance your experience.
If you do not want that we track your visit to our site you can disable tracking in your browser here:
We also use different external services like Google Webfonts, Google Maps, and external Video providers. Since these providers may collect personal data like your IP address we allow you to block them here. Please be aware that this might heavily reduce the functionality and appearance of our site. Changes will take effect once you reload the page.
Google Webfont Settings:
Google Map Settings:
Google reCaptcha Settings:
Vimeo and Youtube video embeds:
The following cookies are also needed - You can choose if you want to allow them: