By means of a European tendering process, Utrecht University has once again selected Blackboard for its digital learning environment. As Blackboard’s current contract expires on 31 December 2018, we kicked off a selection process in October 2016. The Executive Board will soon sign a contract for this four-year-long cooperation.
In October 2016, SURFmarket and eight educational institutions, including Utrecht University, sealed framework agreements with four digital learning environment suppliers. Later on, these educational institutions launched independent mini-competition processes to each select the supplier that best suits them.
This process and the subsequent contract award to Blackboard are due to constructive collaboration between the Department of Information and Technology Services (ITS) and the faculties. An important part of the mini-competition process was feedback received from lecturers, students, and administrators on the systems offered. Teams consisting of both lecturers and students tested all the systems extensively, focusing on which system best aligns with Utrecht University’s practices, user requirements, and which is the most user-friendly.
Fitting the bill
Committees of faculty representatives assessed all four suppliers’ offers based on a set of predefined criteria, the total award being split as follows: 70 percent on quality and 30 percent on price. The bids were assessed on a raft of requirements and demands, user test results, migration plans, each supplier’s vision, and the price. In the end, once all the elements had been assessed, Blackboard came out on top over the other bidders.
Now that Utrecht University is continuing its partnership with Blackboard, we will once again focus on the possibilities offered by this learning environment from the autumn of 2017. The Teacher Development activities of the Educate-it programme will support this.