Students and faculty at the University of Indianapolis have been using ACE as their Learning Management System for several years. ACE is especially valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic, as most campus classes are being held virtually.
According to Special Assistant to the Provost and Executive Director for the Center for Aging & Community Ellen Miller, there are four classes that are currently piloting a new LMS known as Brightspace. Brightspace was purchased last fiscal year after years of discussing the movement to a new LMS.
Miller said the university had been working with Brightspace since before the pandemic. However, it has not impacted the implementation of Brightspace, Miller said.
“Our plan pretty much all along was to have a three-phase transition from ACE to Brightspace,” Miller said. “Phase one has been happening this semester. We’ve had four … entirely online classes that have been being offered in Brightspace with several faculty members, and so it’s been a very small pilot. Next semester, we will have about 40 classes that will be being offered in Brightspace. And then by next fall, we anticipate that we will have the entire campus transitioned to Brightspace.”
Online Program Director and Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing Diane Smith is one of the pilot professors using Brightspace this semester. Smith said that her students have adjusted to the new platform nicely.
“It’s close enough to ACE that they can get in and they can maneuver and manipulate and find things and those kinds of things, but it also has a fresh new look,” Smith said. “It is a little bit different. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. It is not exact, but it’s different, and it’s fresh, and it’s new.”
Although the overall feedback is positive, there have been some challenges faced by those testing out Brightspace. Smith said she was having some challenges with the new emailing format, as ACE has easy access to email chains of student communications. Brightspace, on the other hand, does not seem to have those capabilities, making it hard to follow communication trails with students.
Miller said that both faculty and staff seem to be pleased with Brightspace. Miller said that it is always challenging to change things.
“It’s always challenging to change things, so there’s always effort involved in changing from something that you’re familiar with to something that’s new,” Miller said. “But we feel really, very convinced that this is a great move for our campus and that once we get through the change, people will be really happy with it.”