TCU explores potential new learning management system

TCU began using Pearson Learning Studio (eCollege) in 1999, and for the past two years the Koehler Center for Teaching Excellence has researched switching to a new learning management system.

“From 2010 forward, we have seen a lot of changes in students’ learning needs, a lot of engagement strategies,” said Romana Hughes, assistant provost of educational technology and faculty development. “We’ve had a lot of drive and needs from faculty to put in new types of tools.”

Hughes said the search for a new system was marketed informally through Twitter and LinkedIn.

“We won’t find the best solution for everything,” said Hughes, “but we can probably find something that gives us the majority of what we want and need right now.”

Hughes said the search will eventually be narrowed down to two or three potential vendors. Once the search reaches this stage, there will be a town hall meeting for students to hear from the learning management system providers.

“There is not one group that we are really hoping people get on board with because all the products have really great things about them, and all of the products have things missing,” said Hughes. “This is the first time we didn’t have a driven idea that this is where it will be.”

Hughes said after the meeting, 40 to 60 faculty and 40 to 60 students will participate in a case study and decide what system works best based on creating content, accessibility and ability to use system functions.

“We have collected a lot of data from students over the years,” said Hughes. “We do Teaching Analysis Polls (TAPs) and so we get a lot of feedback from students in those… last year we talked to 900 students and almost everything has been really positive.”

Hughes said the learning management system committee will make a recommendation to administration to move forward with creating a new contract to the chosen vendor. This process will end in a series of pilot programs in the classroom.

Hughes said they would like to have the new system running by June 1, 2017.

“This type of technology, this type of global tool is going to need to be used outside of higher education anyways,” said Hughes. “When you go into the workforce you are going to need to be using tools similar to Learning Studio.”

Hughes and the Koehler Center for Teaching Excellence are always collecting feedback. Students can ask questions and learn more about the process of selecting a new learning management system by visiting their website at

“We are super excited to be in a situation that there could be some really positive change coming,” said Hughes. “Just moving forward to the twenty-first century campus, like the Academy of Tomorrow, this is just another step for what TCU is doing to move forward.”