Logos for the University of Maine System and each of the the seven campuses as well as the Maine Law school. University of Maine, Augusta, Farmington, Fort Kent, Machias, Presque Isle, and Southern Maine.

August 19, 2019 - New LMS Selected

Blackboard to Brightspace

Members of the University of Maine System Community -

Over the last academic year the University of Maine System has engaged in a process to evaluate and identify the Learning Management System best suited to the needs of our campus communities. Based upon feedback received from faculty across all UMS campuses and a thorough feature evaluation process also involving representation from all campuses, we have selected Desire2Learn’s (D2L) Brightspace platform to replace Blackboard Learn.

The Provost's Council and members of Education Technology Advisory Committee would like to thank the entire University community for their participation, engagement and thoughtful feedback throughout this evaluation process. In the end, your responses focused the selection on a mobile-friendly, accessible, modern LMS best suited to support the unique teaching and learning needs of the entire University System.

Summary of Rationale for Selection

Some of the key features of the Desire2Learn Brightspace platform that will benefit the University include:

  • Flexible features to meet our shared goals and unique campus needs
  • Modern, accessible, mobile-friendly interface that is easy to use
  • Stable platform where updates are provided seamlessly, without downtime
  • Flexible tools and apps that are easy to add and configure
  • Learning analytics tools instructors can use to track engagement with courses

In all cases, the D2L Brightspace platform consistently rated highest amongst survey respondents. The UMS joins the rapidly growing number of higher education institutions throughout Maine and the nation who believe that D2L’s Brightspace possesses the design and functionality of a robust, accessible, flexible, and scalable web-based online instructional system of the future. Following our selection we learned that the Community College of Maine System also recently completed a public RFP process for their next LMS and also selected D2L Brightspace.

General Timeline

Blackboard will continue to be used and supported through the Spring and Summer 2020 terms with full adoption of Brightspace in Fall 2020. This plan includes each campus piloting courses in Brightspace in Spring 2020. All courses will be transitioned to Brightspace and Blackboard discontinued by the end of Summer 2020.

Informational sessions will be offered throughout the upcoming Fall term to demonstrate and discuss the features and benefits of the Brightspace environment. Additional details and timely updates will also be posted on the ETAC website (

More Next Steps:

  • Formation of Core Implementation Committee
  • Completion of Comprehensive Implementation Plan and Timeline
  • Initial Configuration of Platform
  • Access to on-demand Training materials and demonstration courses
  • Regular monthly updates on the implementation progress
RFP Development/ Release/ Demos/ Evaluation	03/01/2019	05/30/2019 Final Scoring and Reference Checks	06/01/2019	07/14/2019 Final Selection Announced		08/20/2019 Implementation Planning	08/20/2019	09/30/2019 Configuration/Test Course Shells	10/01/2019	11/30/2019 Training	10/15/2019	08/30/2020 Pilot Course Offerings	12/15/2019	05/20/2020 Course Migration	12/13/2019	08/30/2020 Complete Transition		09/15/2020

Our Future is Bright

We continue to welcome your feedback, questions, comments, suggestions or concerns through the ETAC website

Resources will be provided to support both full-time and adjunct faculty with the migration of courses from Blackboard to Brightspace.


Chief Academic Officers Council

  • UM: Jeffrey E. Hecker, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
  • USM: Jeannine Uzzi, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • UMA: Joseph Szakas, Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost
  • UMF: Eric C. Brown, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • UMPI: Raymond J. Rice, President and Provost
  • UMFK: Tex Boggs, Interim President and Provost
  • UMM: Daniel Qualls, Interim VP Academic Affairs/Head of Campus

Educational Technology Advisory Committee

  • UM: C. Matt Graham, Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems
  • UM: Peter Schilling, Executive Director Innovation in Teaching and Learning
  • UMA: BJ Kitchin, Director of Instructional Services
  • UMA: Norma Bisulca, Professor of Mathematics
  • UMF: Ashley Montgomery, Assistant Dean of Teaching, Learning & Assessment
  • UMFK: Leslie Kelly, Associate Dean of Information Services
  • UMM: Eric Jones, Associate Professor of Botany
  • UMPI: Alana Margeson, Assistant Professor of Education, Director of Education Program, Director of the Center for Teaching & Learning
  • UMPI: Heather Nunez-Olmstead, Instructional Design Specialist and Adjunct Faculty
  • USM: Paul Cochrane, Director of Online Teaching and Learning
  • USM: Gary Johnson, Associate Professor of History
  • US:IT: John Brown, Director of Campus Services - Campus Academic and Business Solution
  • US:IT: David Demers, Chief Information Officer

April 9, 2019 - Updated LMS RFP Timeline

The RFP was published on April 1 (, and the proposal process is underway. Below, please find a timeline for the proposal process that concludes with an award on or before June 7th.

The LMS Specification Feedback survey completed February 28, had nearly 600 respondents from across the University of Maine system. The feedback you and your colleagues provided directly informed how ETAC prioritized and ranked the standard features available in modern Learning Management Systems. These rankings will now be used as a method to evaluate the proposals. The narrative comments submitted also provided the context for the development of eight (8) use case scenarios that are presented in the RFP. Each vendor will be required to demonstrate and detail how their solution effectively addresses each of the eight scenarios. These combined evaluative methods, with your feedback as we move forward, will inform which proposal or LMS platform is chosen.

Opportunities to Provide Feedback

There will be both recorded demonstrations from vendors presented for feedback from the community to help select finalists. Finalists will then be invited to give live/streamed demonstrations that will allow for Q&A with the finalists.

Updated Timeline

  • Phase 1 – Use Case Presentation - LMS RFP Published 4/1/2019
    • April 8, 2019 - Deadline for Written Inquiries/Questions Regarding Use Cases – Appendix G – Evaluation Scenarios
    • April 9, 2019 - Response to Written Inquiries/Questions Regarding Use Cases – Appendix G – Evaluation Scenarios
    • April 18, 2019 - Deadline for Submission of Use Case Demonstration & Sandbox Link
      • Use Case Presentation - Respondents will provide a video or screen capture which details and demonstrates a solution to each of the eight scenarios in the Use Cases document. Pg 62. These videos will be distributed broadly for feedback online. The UMA Instructional Services unit will also host several discussion forums between April 22, and May 17th where vendor recordings of each scenario will be presented for discussion and Q&A.
    • April 18 – May 17 - Faculty, Staff & Students Review
  • Phase 2 – RFP Submission, Evaluation and Award
    • April 12, 2019 - Deadline for Written Inquiries/Questions – RFP Focus
    • April 17, 2019 - Response to Written Inquiries/Questions – RFP Focus
    • April 30, 2019 - Deadline for Proposal Submission
    • May 16 - Respondent's Presentations ; Live from the Faculty Institute on the UMA campus and streamed via ZOOM for remote UMS participants.
      • May 16-31, 2019 - Vendor presentations available for review and faculty feedback to inform selection.
    • On or before June 7, 2019 - Award Announcement (subject to change)

Feb 12, 2019 - UMS LMS Specifications Feedback Survey


The purpose of the UMS LMS Specification Feedback survey is to help inform how ETAC prioritizes and ranks standard features available in modern Learning Management Systems to best support teaching and learning across the University of Maine System.

Your input will assist in developing a rating system that will be used to evaluate vendor platforms based on their implementation and support for these features.

We ask to receive your feedback by Thursday, February 28.

You may access this survey by visiting the following link:

Please note: sign in with your credentials is required.


Members of the UMS Educational Technology Advisory Committee.

Feb 5, 2019 - Planning for the future of LMS (Blackboard)


The University of Maine System must update or replace its learning management system (Blackboard) in the next 18 months (before fall semester 2020).

We currently run an older version of Blackboard. In addition, much has changed in learning management systems as well as in the way faculty and students want to use them.

We have not conducted a comprehensive review of learning management systems for many years. Over the coming months, we will undertake the task of learning from students and faculty what they want in a learning management system as well as assess the state of art in the learning management system market.

At multiple times throughout the process, the System-wide Educational Technology Advisory Committee (ETAC) will survey and meet with University faculty, students and staff. Through these efforts we hope to understand the features desired in a modern learning management system. Your feedback in these forums will inform the development of a formal proposal to solicit bids from the leading vendors.

We expect to release this proposal in March 2019. A System-wide committee will analyze the bids beginning in April 2019. ETAC will facilitate demonstrations of the top three vendors. We hope that all interested members of the entire University community attends these demonstrations and provides feedback.

We anticipate announcing a final decision in the summer of 2019.

Once we have identified our future learning management system, we will work for approximately one year to migrate to the new system. This will include planning to convert courses, providing training, and moving existing course content to the new platform before the fall semester of 2020.

Please note: we will keep our current contract for Blackboard throughout the transition period.

From Members of the Educational Technology Advisory Committee.