Comprehensive software reviews to make better IT decisions
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.
Student retention, already a major concern at higher education institutions, is an even greater concern as students are unable to learn in person and on campus.
As the world responds to the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, closed schools in some affected areas are turning to eLearning and web conferencing to maintain continuity in course delivery and/or studying.
Plans to require four online high school credits in Ontario, Canada, have changed: the required credits have been reduced to two and made opt-outable.
Instructure has responded to pushback from both users and investors about their proposed sale to a private equity firm.
This is the third maintenance release since Sakai 19 was released in spring 2019. Thanks to its open-source community, Sakai is continuously providing fixes, security updates, and improvements to its users.
Pearson released the results of its Global Learning Survey. This is the first time that Pearson has undertaken such a study to capture the opinions of 11,000 learners across 19 countries. The study uncovered eight key trends indicating a shift to life-long, learner driven education.
Following on the heels of Blackboard Ally accessibility integrating with D2L, D2L announced a strategic partnership with Aria, a service for blind and low-vision people.
Moodle, an open-source Education LMS, released an update on Sept. 9, that removes the ability to share courses on moodle.net as well as removing the community finder block. This is in anticipation of the relaunch of moodle.net in November 2019.
Sakai has recently launched its 2019 version, which includes many new features that target areas like communication and collaboration tools and facilitate content creation and delivery.