University of Southern California

Learning Design & Technology

Advancing USC's strategic vision for teaching with technology

LMS Evaluation

Blackboard has served as USC’s enterprise-level Learning Management System (LMS) for the past 13 years and is integral to the university’s instructional model and disaster recovery plan. However, it is standard practice to periodically re-evaluate LMS options, particularly in light of:

  • Recent shifts in market share for legacy LMS vendors
  • The entrance of new LMS vendors into the marketplace
  • The recent emergence of open-source LMS solutions

Accordingly, Information Technology Services (ITS) recently conducted an LMS evaluation to decide what USC’s direction and strategy should be once its Blackboard contract expires in June 2015.


USC’s needs assessment and evaluation process involved five distinct steps:

  1. Environmental Scan
  2. LMS Needs Assessment (completed)
  3. Request for Information (completed)
  4. Vendor Demos: Faculty Review and ITS Evaluation (completed)
  5. Recommendation (coming soon)

The process involved more than just a technical evaluation or tools comparison. Other considerations included cost, infrastructure, and value added. This evaluation did not reflect any dissatisfaction with Blackboard, nor should it be considered a sign that USC intends to stop using, supporting, or expanding the platform. Rather, it is standard business practice to periodically review vendor partnerships and to consider other options and opportunities.

If you have any questions about USC’s LMS evaluation process, please feel free to contact the Center for Scholarly Technology at