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Learning Management System Review

Our mission

Identify a stable, scalable Learning Management System that supports faculty and student success.


What is an LMS?

A learning management system (LMS) is comprehensive, integrated software that supports the development, delivery, assessment, and administration of courses in face-to-face, hybrid, and online learning environments.

The LMS helps institutions maintain the integrity of educational programs by centralizing course management and assessment, ensuring security and privacy of student data, and generating analytic reports for the evaluation and improvement of student support.

The LMS enables faculty to efficiently develop and deliver courses that enhance teaching and learning.


What is ASU looking for in an LMS

Governed by detailed core expectations and technical standards, the LMS systems will be evaluated on criteria that analyzes course delivery and design, teaching and learning tools, assessments and accessibility.

cloud hosted

computing is a kind of Internet-based computing that provides shared processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand. It is a model for enabling ubiquitous, on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources.

high availability

refers to a system that is continuously operational for a desirably long length of time. Availability can be measured relative to "100% operational" or "never failing." The ability to perform maintenance on a system (upgrades/patches) without taking the system down, along with real time monitoring and failover, is key to providing high availability.


is the degree to which a system autonomously adapts its capacity to workload over time. Based on the amount of users simultaneously accessing the LMS, an elastic system should immediately detect and provision additional machines from the cloud, so as to serve all web users responsively.


is a system design principle where the design of the software application takes future growth and incorporation of 3rd party tools into consideration. Our LMS will need to support both LTI based integrations as well as provide a robust set of APIs for deeper custom integration.


with handling high traffic/high volume institutions, and a proven track record with comparable customers with similar user numbers and usage patterns.


that provide near real-time reporting and the ability to seamlessly integrate with existing and future ASU platforms.

Is there an interest in looking into LMS options?

Our research into the LMS market and user base, along with a deeper analysis of existing LMS products during the 2016 Fall and 2017 Spring semesters indicated there were enough changes in the market to prepare an RFP. Surveys conducted with faculty and instructional technologists showed there was no clear LMS favorite.  There was a majority agreement that it was time to look at our options and choose the LMS that will enable and support the mission and goals of Arizona State University.

State of the higher ed LMS market for US and Canada - Spring 2017

For the past 9 years Phil Hill has studied and published his annual blog post on the State of the LMS market in Higher Ed and this infographic along with the accompanying article is an interesting read.  

LMS Marketshare in the US and Canada - 2017


In order to view how things have been changing, below is the same infographic from 2016 and 2015

LMS Marketshare in US and Canada for 2015 and 2016




(subject to change)

Summer 2016Define core expectations and technical standards.
Fall 2016 - Spring 2017Analysis of LMS market. Potential candidates for LMS researched and discussions conducted with peer institutions. Testing of some LMS components. Collect feedback and input from ASU faculty, staff and students. RFP preparation.
Summer 2017Issue RFP and review proposals. Invite top candidates to campus to present their product. Award RFP and plan for migration.
Spring/Summer 2018New LMS available for all ASU courses. Begin 12- 18 month parallel run of old and new LMS. Training for faculty, along with migration of courses to new platform.



Participants are encouraged from all areas and disciplines at the university.

Steering Committee is comprised of representatives from the Faculty Senate, EdPlus, the Office of the University Provost, the University Technology Office and the Associated Students of ASU.

Stakeholders Group comprised of faculty and staff from colleges and units across the university who volunteer to participate in the pilot of the LMS tools, and commit to providing feedback.  Stakeholders provide feedback of the LMS tools and suitability for ASU.




Pilot Courses

The following numbers of courses were piloted in the two pilot LMS environments:

  • Bb SaaS: 6 courses, 11 sections, 338 students
  • Canvas: 10 courses, 16 sections, 245 students

Sandbox Courses

Stakeholders are faculty and staff who have volunteered to test the new LMS environments and provide feedback

  • Bb SaaS: 36 Sandbox courses
  • Canvas 78 Sandbox courses

Test and provide feedback:

Instructors and instructional technologist signed up to join the Stakeholders group, tested, and provided feedback on whether they believed that there is value in looking into other options for LMS. Opinions were solicited on which LMS platform stakeholders preferred and there was no clear winner.


Subscribe to our ASU LMS updates: http://links.asu.edu/joinasulms



Brown, Malcom, Joanne Dehoney and Nancy Millichap (2015). What’s Next for the LMS?, Educause. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/6/whats-next-for-the-lms.

Brown, Malcom, Joanne Dehoney and Nancy Millichap (2015). The Next Generation Digital Learning Environment: A Report on Research, Educause Learning Initiative. Retrieved from https://library.educause.edu/resources/2015/4/the-next-generation-digital-learning-environment-a-report-on-research.

Cavanaugh, Thomas B. (2014). The LMS Selection Process: Practices and Considerations. Retrieved from https://library.educause.edu/resources/2014/7/the-lms-selection-process-practices-and-considerations.

LMS Evaluations Checklist (2014), University of Central Florida. Retrieved from https://online.ucf.edu/about/lms-migration/lms-evaluation-checklist/.

Schmoller, Seb (2104). Selecting a Learning Management System: Advice from an Academic Perspective, Educause Review. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2014/4/selecting-a-learning-management-system-advice-from-an-academic-perspective.




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