With eye on future needs, Hawaii schools switch LMS

The Hawaii Department of Education’s Extended Learning Opportunities and Student Support section has chosenBlackboard Learn™ 9.1 to replace an open source learning management system (LMS). The platform provides online courses for over 1,200 students through the Hawaii Virtual Learning Network-ESchool (HVLN-ESchool) and over 500 teachers annually through the HVLN-Project Inspire program.

Prior to moving to Release 9.1, HVLN used an open source platform to deliver online content. But the need for additional features, easy customizations, and greater functionality prompted them to explore options for a more robust LMS platform. HLVN also anticipated an increase in student and teacher enrollments, suggesting the need for an enterprise-capable implementation.

HLVN formed a selection committee to evaluate several LMS options to find the best fit to support student and teacher needs. The committee found that the Release 9.1 platform offered cost efficiency and a streamlined approach to course delivery, content management and technical support.

HVLN has already leveraged Release 9.1 to deliver online professional development options to over 500 teachers during the last year. This online professional learning community is now enhanced through the consortium provision of faculty courses, such as online teaching training.

Starting this fall, HVLN began delivering secondary courses to over 1,000 students. Schools are using the branding features to customize the system’s interface to create an accessible portal for all online learning resources. In addition, parents can directly access their child’s course progress rather than waiting for the online instructor to provide a progress report.

HVLN’s limited IT staff leverages Blackboard’s support and hosting team for day-to-day management of the system, including software downloads, reference materials and management assistance, enabling them to dedicate more time and resources to other teaching and learning initiatives.