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In an effort to ensure access to UMassOnline's community of users as well as others who might provide insight as we undertake the LPR, all content, comments and attachments are accessible by the public.

Learning Platform Review (LPR) Process

Background and Mission

We are seeking User Stories about teaching and learning online from our campus stakeholders (students, faculty, school leadership, support staff, course directors, technologists . . .).  We are asking you to add your story by Friday, December 17th.  This is an opportunity to make your voice heard!  Each UMass campus has been asked to compile these user stories, and we want to be sure to represent the unique needs of our life science campus. Once the user stories are complete, they will be aggregated and presented to vendors and organizations offering learning platform support. These providers will then be asked to reply to the user stories with testing scripts.

A user story takes the following general form:  "As a stakeholder, I want to functional requirement so that I can testable outcome." 

A sample UMMS user story could look like this:  "As a Clerkship Director, I want to easily send and receive multiple assignments to students in New England so that I can assess their progress without bringing them back to campus."

To share your user story, please click the Add Comment link at the bottom of the page.  You can include as many unique user stories as you'd like.  Please note: your user story will be anonymous unless you choose to include your name.

Most of us have multiple user stories.  Please try to separate each unique functional requirement with a new paragraph or a new comment.  This will help ensure that no stories are lost!

Lastly, thank you for helping to shape the future of online teaching and learning at UMass Medical School!

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  1. Background to the Learning Platform Review Process:
    • The current Learnining Management System, Blackboard Vista 8.0, is set to sunset in 2013. 
    • Blackboard has developed a course and content migration tool for exporting Blackboard Vista courses to their new environment, BlackBoard Learn 9.1.
    • BlackBoard Learn 9.1 is designed for a one campus/one instance environment, which does not fit the UmassOnline technical and business model.
    • A Review Committee was formed in January 2010 to choose a new system wide learning platform.  Representatives from UMMS are:  Andrea Delaney and Lyn Riza (Information Services); John Trobaugh (Office of Educational Affairs); and Maureen Wassef (Graduate School of Nursing).
  2. Anonymous

    As a course co-director in the new LinC Curriculum, I want to be able to post a very long, online handout (book) so that it is available to all students in all years, including in the GSBS & GSN as well as the medical school, and all residents, fellows and faculty in our system, so that any student can refer to it.

  3. Anonymous

    As an academic administrator, i would like to "google" all courses simultaeouly so that ai can document that key concepts and objectives are being covered (in an environmnet where all courses are team taught).

  4. Anonymous

    As a student, i need access to last year's course material so that i can prepare for my qualifying examination.

  5. Anonymous

    To facilitate access and minimize lost passwords, i would like to be able to login with my campus domain credentials

  6. Anonymous

    As a course designer, I would like the ability upload multiple files at once to make the best use of my time.

  7. Anonymous

    Now that we have learning communities as part of our curriculum, I would like to have a system that allows for one-stop-shopping. At the recent AAMC Conference, the University of Arizona demonstrated their learning system that housed all of their courses, student grades, student portfolios on one site. Of course different users had different levels of access privileges. But it was amazing in that a student could submit an H&P for a clerkship assignment or their version of DCS and the preceptor would review the writeup and give feedback via the "track changes" function of Word. It was like having Blackboard and E-Value and much of the component of our current UMMS Intranet in one single interface and it was visually much more appealing and more intuitively user friendly than either of those programs. The audience was truly awestruck at the power and potential of such a system. Many of them had Blackboard and/or E-Value at their home institutions and the apparent consensus was what Arizona had was much better than both of those put together. It was built on a Ilios platform.

  8. Anonymous

    As a course director, I want my students, as well as my faculty, to be able to obtain tech support at night and on weekends when much learning and course creativity occurs.  The current toll-free number for Blackboard tech support connects to an endless, never-answered recording during off hours.  I placed several callback requests with the system and am still waiting for these callbacks several weeks later.

  9. Anonymous

    Initially, when I open up Blackboard, all of my courses that I have access to are displayed.  When I go in to 'edit' the order, (clicking on the small pencil at the upper right corner) more often than not, I cannot do that.  The control does not work all the time, even though I click on the course I'd like to move up or down, it won't.  Also, in that edited mode, you can either HIDE or SHOW's rather confusing since HIDE means SHOW, and SHOW means HIDE...And, in Grade Book, I don't need to view last year's columns at all, nor do I even want them transferred over to the new semester's course - the headings seem to be embedded from year to year and it's cumbersome looking through the columns and customizing - and when you do make a change, your editing spot isn't held, you have to search back to where you were.  When you're plugging in a formula for a CALCULATED column and you make an error, you can't just click back one space, you have to UNDO a portion...Gradebook needs some fine tuning, for sure.  From semester to semester, the material transfers over to the new course, and there should be some sort of option to either have that material or not, but it's confusing to go into modules and have to delete material before setting up new coursework w/in a Learning Module. I like the LINKS options - those seem to work out well.

    1. Anonymous

      The user stories for the above comment would read something like this. As a course instructor I would like to be able to control what courses I see and don't see when I log into my course management system.  As a course instructor I would like a grade book tool that bookmarks where my last edit was so that I can return to it rather than the default opening screen.  As an instructor I would like the ability to control which cells or categories of a grade book are duplicated in the next offering of my course.

  10. Anonymous

    As a course instructor, I would like a simpler process for adding, deleting, and editing course content throughout the academic year. That process would allow me to make changes any time during the year. Ideally, I could save a copy at the end of a semester but also be able to roll a working version forward, without the challenges of picking up all that is removed by the system at the end of a cycle and having to build back up from there.

  11. Anonymous

    As a course coordinator and instructor, the use and ease of the discussion board is of vital importance to my course; this would include the option of linking a grading rubric for ease in assessing and posting the evaluation of students responses and relective thinking.  In addition, the grading book is also a feature that should have the capability of being linked to grading rubrics for overall ease.

    As always any new platform would need user friendly tutorials for students.  We frequently have continuing ed students enrolled in my course and they may not be familiar with the use of learning platform systems.  This would avoid unneccessary e-mails to the instructor or over use of the HELP desk.

    Finally, I am hoping that any new platform would be able to acquire and integrate our current course content so we don't need to start from the beginning.

  12. Anonymous

    As someone who uses the Learning Management System I would like to be able to get 24/7 help when I dial the help desk

  13. Anonymous

    As a student I really don't care about course organization I would prefer to access all my content based on the day so I would like a learning platform to be able to provide a pure calendar based view of all my day's files/learning objects, assignments, assessments etc. I don't want to dig through multiple courses.

  14. Anonymous

    As a student I would like to be able to search across anything I am enrolled in--show me every object, file, assignment, etc tagged with geriatrics.

  15. As a Learning Management System administrator I would like a Learning Platform to be flexible enough to provide open access (all UMMS), limited open access (example by school or programGSN, SOM, GSBS, GME) or roster/enrollment access. A Learning Platform  architecture flexible enough to offer integration with Active Directory and Student Information Systems and allow me as a campus system admin to point to the appropriate place by content section.

    1. Lyn, What does "point to the appropriate place by content" mean in this context?

  16. Anonymous

    As a course instructor I want to be able to provide a self-test to my students and choose whether to see the score, see that the test was submitted , or see nothing and have it purely for the student.

  17. Anonymous

    As a student, I would like all courses to by set up in a similar fashion so that it is easy to navigate the system.  

  18. Anonymous

    As a student, it would be helpful to be able to directly be linked to pubmed or the library so that you could clink on links and easily access articles. 

  19. Anonymous

    As a clerkship director, I wouldl ike to post interactive learning modules (power point usually) for long distance learning. I would also like to quickly upload and update course information (and I agree that log in info could be streamlined to match one of the many other log ins we currently use)

  20. Anonymous

    As a course instructor, I would like to be able to transfer all the work we have done for BLS-Vista to the new system in as simple a way as possible.  A huge amount of work has gone into our current way of using BLS-Vista.  I would like the transition to the new system to be as painless as possible.

  21. Anonymous

    As a block leader I would like to have a streamlined means for students to link to online images with captions and to virtual histology slides on our Virtual Microscopy server.

  22. Anonymous

    As a Designer and Course Administrator I would like the next version of BLS to have the ability to interface with and be interogated by other relevant  systems within UMass. A case in point is the ongoing excercise to populate the Curriculum Database. It would be great if the information that is requiring verification like lecture session titles could be downloaded directly from BLS into the database. The assessment tool should also be enhanced to enable users upload multiple images when preparing quiz questions. Currently users have to first merge two images into one file using Snagit or other tool to create a "single image" a process which is rather time consuming. Quizzes often contain scientific symbols. BLS should be empowered to recognise such symbols without the need for the user to revert to using html codes in order to write in  such symbols. 

  23. Anonymous

    As a program administrator for a course, I would like to be able to run reports on page use for various components of my course.  The report should include the actual time and date of use, plus average time and date of page access.  I want to determine how often a page is used to advise faculty and students that the person who access this page the most made the highest grade or on average the people who access this page more than "x" times scored an average of "x" on this licensing exam. I could use this data to improve my course content or improve my advice to the the students about how best to use their time in my course.

  24. Anonymous

    As a UMass (Worcester) student I would like to be able to take an online course from another campus without having to apply to their program and get a second ID just to take a course within UMassOnline.  I would like to be able to register once for UMass and then take any course online I want (for credit or not) and continue to only have to pay one registrar for all my courses.

  25. Anonymous

    As a course director of a facilitator training, I'd like to be able to model face to face interactions online, have small group work sessions and large group facilitated discussions. 

  26. Anonymous

    In order to develop courses that meet the needs of all our constituents, we need an online registration system that allows participants who are not UMass-affiliated to register, pay, and manage their own accounts in real time. We need robust video conferencing capability that would allow for multiple teachers in multiple locations to be seen on screen simultaneously with high quality video. We need to create courses that are ongoing (no set ending date) and to which people can register and join at any time. We need robust web 2.0 type features that allow participants to see who is online and then to interact and collaborate with live chat, video conferencing, and document/screen sharing. Many of the features in Webex Connect would be useful.

  27. Anonymous

    As a course coordinator I need a system that will allow me to post an easy to read and easily searchable online handbook.  with downloadable and printable forms. 

  28. Anonymous

    • As a provider of online learning for participants around the world we need an easier registration process that will allow participants immediate access to our course.
    • Registration process should allow one person to register multiple participants
    • Our participant have varying levels of computer ability. We need a system with easy, intuitive navigation to allow easy progress through the course.
    • We need the capacity to embed audio and video files to enhance the learning experience for the user. We have had to resort using Adobe Presenter and then link it to BLS/Vista in order to get this functionality. This requires exta steps on our part.
    • Because we serve  participants from around the world we need the ability to administer a secure exam online, including blocking the ability to print the exam.
    • As a provider of both in-person and online training we need the ability to adminster a secure exam for our in-person participants
    • We need the ability to easily post and provide very short, immediate access continuing education programs
    • We need the ability to create an e-mail user group to send messages directly to the participants' e-mail accounts with out the need for them to log into the course.
    • We need the ability to incorporate multiple types of activities throughout the course and track participant progress our outcome for each activity. e.g. we use Adobe Presenter and the quiz functions. However these do not get recorded in the grade book.
    • We need an evaluation tool that allows more flexibility, e.g. mixing multiple choice and open - ended question - similar survey monkey options
    • Because we need to report our results we would like the ability to create charts, graphs and figures directly from the LMS instead exporting the data
    1. What does "registration process should allow one person to register multiple participants" mean?  Each participant must register themselves in order to avoid the perception of identity theft (real or not).  However, you may mean as an administrator of a program, we should be able to take participant information directly and register them as an anonymous group but protected from the public or you could mean as an administrator you should be able to take multiple registrations directly and do the "paperwork" for them so they would save time.

      We need the ability to easily post and provide very short, immediate access continuing education programs.  I think you mean as an instructor, I would like the ability to create low-cost low-tech educational programs that do not require a semester system format.  Perhaps you also mean the ability to create continuing education programs that are "fast-tracked" and do not require administrative approval?

  29. As a learning management system administrator, I want to ensure that a seamless daily integration exists between the learning platform and the student information system so that I can spend as little time on enrollment-related issues as possible.

    As a technology trainer, I want to be able to quickly and easily help faculty, staff, and students understand and use the learning platform so that they can accomplish their teaching and learning goals, simultaneously minimizing frustration and lost time.

  30. Anonymous

    As a faculty member, it is important for me to be able to grade threaded discussions with a grading rubric. This rubric should be available in any course I teach. Online testing is also important. It should be secure.