The DLE Implementation Project Charter was approved by the project executive sponsors on August 4, 2017.

Project Purpose/Justification:  The contract with Desire2Learn (D2L) for the Brightspace learning management system (LMS) was set to expire and, as a result, UW System Administration and institutions underwent a multi-year effort to understand the needs for teaching and learning by engaging a wide variety of stakeholders at each institution. Based on the findings from the needs analysis process, the Learn@UW Executive Committee recommended that UW System issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to seek a Digital Learning Environment (DLE) to succeed its current LMS. A DLE is the digital “hub” for a confederation of services and tools that support teaching and learning, versus an administrative tool for managing course content. The DLE RFP process was completed, and Instructure’s Canvas platform was selected as the digital hub for the UWS DLE.  The project completion date is June 30, 2020.

The purpose of this implementation project is to ensure a well-managed, timely and orderly rollout of the Canvas platform across UW System institutions, excluding UW-Madison. James Henderson, UWS Vice President Academic and Student Affairs and Robert Cramer, UWS Vice President for Administration, are the executive sponsors for the project. The Canvas platform provides the foundation to evolve the DLE in support of the UWSA 2020FWD strategic framework. The DLE will align with the 2020FWD priorities related to “Educational Pipeline” and “University Experience” and support student success by creating consistency among institutions with flexibility to meet individual institutional needs.

Project Description and Boundaries:

  1. Implement and configure the DLE to support the goals of design with pedagogy first and consistency with flexibility across the institutions. The fixed/flexible framework will be used to meet the most important requirements identified in the DLE RFP and support institutional goals with a learner-centered focus.
  2. Identify stakeholders and create a communication plan to engage with the stakeholder groups throughout the project.
  3. Define and utilize project governance at the UWSA executive sponsor level and the institutional sponsor level including a definition of the roles and responsibilities on the project. Transition the project governance structure to a UWS DLE governance structure at the end of the project.
  4. Develop a collaborative project environment to utilize the strengths and best practices from each institution and the vendor to leverage during the implementation process thereby reducing redundant work completed by each institution. The DLE will support universal design and accessibility.
  5. Create training, testing and support plans for faculty, staff, students, and administrators that meet the needs of the transition period and are transferable into ongoing support, knowing that the vendor will perform regular upgrades to the cloud-based software.
  6. Design and implement application integration utilizing the vendor provided integration mechanisms that are aligned with the fixed/flexible decisions to create consistency while allowing institutions to access their data and setup new integrations to support instructional priorities at each institution.
  7. Determine a migration plan for existing courses, then execute at each institution. The migration plan will address the identification of existing courses that are to be: moved from the current system to the new system, redesigned and recreated in the new system, and archived from the current system.
  8. Identify and implement an archive/retention strategy for the data hosted currently by Learn@UW Utility and retire the D2L application.

Project Success Measurement

Measurable project objectives and related success criteria


Success Criteria

Complete migration to DLE and retirement of current on premise D2L learning management system

Complete by June 30, 2020

Consistency ensured and minimal vendor-provided customizations across all institutions

-Students taking courses at different institutions can see all courses in a single view with standard course template used

-Common tools in the course template are used in a consistent manner (gradebook, calendar)

Non-matriculated students can access and use the new DLE

Non-matriculated students are created through an integrated, common mechanism

Collaboration among the institutions

Learning Object Repository (LOR) is tested and functional

Integration with Student Information Systems (SIS) and other instructional tools complete

Testing complete with no critical defects from all institutions for integration

Learner-centered course design based on modality (face-to-face, blended/hybrid, fully online)

Instructional design experts approve course templates based on modality for the Learning Object Repository and courses migrated to new system using those templates

Training for staff, students and faculty

Training available before the first courses are live on the new system