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State of Major Education LMS Conferences in Wake of COVID-19

Some major LMS conference cancelations or online alternatives have been announced in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, though not all summer LMS conferences have been canceled. As of the date of publication, the status of the following major events is as follows:

  • BbWorld (Blackboard): Originally scheduled for July 28-30, Orlando, Florida. It will now be presented as an online conference.
  • Blackbaud K-12 User Conference: July 8-10, Los Angeles, California. The conference website states the conference “is proceeding at this time.”
  • D2L Fusion (D2L Brightspace): Originally scheduled for July 20-22, Anaheim, California. It will now be presented an online conference.
  • InstructureCon (Instructure Canvas): July 28-30, Nashville, Tennessee. No cancellations or alternatives have been announced on the website as of this publication date.
  • MoodleMoot (Moodle): Held in multiple global locations and on multiple dates throughout the year. The April 17-18 MoodleMoot for Faridabad, India, was held online, with the onsite component deferred to October.
  • Sakai already holds an annual virtual conference, the last of which was held in November 2019. Sakai’s owner, Apereo Foundation, has announced that it was already planning to offer a blended experience for its June 15-19 Open Apereo conference (Michigan) and will proceed entirely online if the onsite component is canceled (a decision that will be announced by May 20).
  • Schoology Next (Schoology): July 26-29, Austin, Texas. The conference is not cancelled as of this publication date, but Schoology will “reassess plans as necessary.”

Our Take:

The shift to virtual events by some of the LMS conferences mirrors a larger trend as other major conferences, including Collision from Home, Microsoft Build, and Facebook’s F8 Developer conference, move to online alternatives as well. Many concerns for LMS end users about online teaching match up with the new priorities developing around online events, for example, how to maintain student (or audience) engagement when delivering material remotely. LMS providers are thus well positioned to deliver insights into what makes a successful virtual event.