Wheaton College
  • Private College
  • Located in Wheaton, Illinois
  • 3,000 Students
PDF icon Download the PDF (262.87 KB)

"The students were clear that they wanted a platform that was simple to use on any device and powerful enough to be fully adopted by all faculty so that there would be just one LMS for all of their courses and activities."

Wendy Woodward

CIO

Story

Wheaton College replaces Blackboard with Schoology's Intuitive LMS

Wheaton College adopts new cloud-based learning management system, sees 400% increase in the number of courses using the LMS and 60% increase in instructor adoption

The Challenge

Wheaton College is an explicitly Christian, academically rigorous, fully residential liberal arts college and graduate school located in Wheaton, Illinois. Recently, College leaders knew they needed to make some changes to the learning management system in order for the technology to effectively facilitate the classroom experience.

Wheaton College had been using Blackboard since 2011 but knew it was time for an upgrade. Students and faculty had expressed concerns related to the system's failure to meet their expectation or needs. In addition, they were experiencing instability with the system that was creating frustration.

They also knew their system was preventing them from launching certain initiatives such as blended learning programs as well as graduate and global education initiatives. This culminated in very low usage of their existing LMS—roughly 250 active course sections using the LMS out of a total of 1,700.

Wheaton College leaders knew they needed an LMS that was scalable, flexible, reliable, secure, and compatible with the College's Ellucian Banner system. They wanted their LMS to be more than just a repository for syllabi and instructional material. They wanted a communication hub that would allow students to communicate with their instructors, upload their assignments, and access their grades. It had to be intuitive enough that students could use it immediately on both their computers and mobile devices.

The Decision

Wheaton College leaders knew how important this decision was, so they created a process to ensure they picked the right LMS for them. They wanted a vendor that was a true partner in achieving their goals, one that was willing to support their strategic priorities instead of just providing a service.

They created a committee including technical experts, faculty from multiple departments, and students. Many potential vendors responded to their extensive Request for Proposal (RFP) process. The potential partner field was narrowed to four that included Schoology, Moodle, Instructure's Canvas, and Desire2Learn.

As a part of the review process, each vendor showcased their product's features as well as how the company views the role of technology in education. For Schoology, that role is to enable educators to advance what's possible ineducation. In order to do that, Schoology explained, technology needs to make sense to its users. They believe that ease of use removes the barriers to adoption and enables both novice and advanced users to see immediate benefits and build on their experiences.

Schoology's familiar, engaging design, its focus on collaboration, and its dedication to client success is what made Wheaton realize that Schoology was the right LMS to help Wheaton achieve its academic goals.

The Result

"We selected Schoology because of its intuitive learner-centric design, its ability to support our traditional and new teaching methods, and its strong integration capabilities," said Wendy Woodward, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Wheaton College. "Our students and faculty participated heavily in the selection process for our new LMS. The students were clear that they wanted a platform that was simple to use on any device and powerful enough to be fully adopted by all faculty so that there would be just one LMS for all of their courses and activities," Woodward said.

Wheaton's selection committee knew that Schoology's intuitive system would ensure that every educator and student would want to use it from their first day. Because the LMS feels familiar, like popular technologies used outside the classroom, even the most hesitant faculty were more likely to use it.

Schoology also allowed Wheaton College to centralize the education experience around a single platform. Using it as their hub, instructors pull content (files, videos, websites, etc.) from anywhere and easily organize it into cohesive lessons utilizing their desired pedagogy. Schoology's ability to consolidate all the people, resources, tools, and activity into a single platform is unparalleled and enables Wheaton to better support all their stakeholders. This centralization has made the LMS much more popular within Wheaton. According to Carlos Astorga, chair of the Faculty LMS transition committee, moving to Schoology led to a 400% increase in the number of Courses and Sections that are in use in Schoology compared to their previous LMS. Wheaton estimates their faculty adoption went up approximately 60% in Schoology.

Schoology is delivering the promised benefits of an intuitive interface that supports a collaborative learning community in a cost-efficient manner that preserves staff time and resources.

Back to Stories