Preparing for Pearson LearningStudio's End of Life

In February 2016, Pearson publicly announced plans for discontinuing LearningStudio. Although our current contract for use of Pearson LearningStudio remains valid through Dec. 31, 2019, Pearson recently provided an important product update that may well affect your choice of learning management system for the upcoming summer session and the 2017/18 academic year.

According to Pearson representatives, the contracts associated with several deeply integrated instructional technologies will expire; some as early as December 31, 2017 and the company has no plans to renew them.  The affected technologies include: 

  • ClassLive – powered by Blackboard Collaborate used for synchronous online meetings (expires on December 31, 2017)
  • Plagiarism detection - powered by Turnitin used to compare student submissions to publish and submitted work (expires May 31, 2018)
  • Notifications – powered by Connect Yard used to send out notifications concerning course activity (expires December 31, 2017)
  • Surveys - powered by Evalkit to provide in course prompts to complete Student Instructional Rating Surveys (expires December 31, 2017; CTAAR transition Sumer 2017)
  • Examguard – powered by Respondus Lock Down Browser used to restrict computer activity while students are taking a quiz or exam (expires Decmber 31, 2017). 

Please understand that these decisions are made at the company's sole discretion, and no one at Rutgers has any way of influencing them. 

For courses that use Campus Pack Learning Objects (CPLO), please be aware that the current contract will end on September 29, 2017, as announced on August 17, 2016.  Since usage of CPLO has generally been low and the largest users of this technology are in the midst of migrating to Canvas, we have elected not to renew the contract.  

With the recent launch of a university-wide committee charged with identifying a single LMS for Rutgers, some instructors are reluctant to migrate their eCollege courses to any other platform at this time. Their hesitation is understandable, but in light of Pearson's recent warnings, remaining on eCollege carries certain risks. If you would like to continue teaching on eCollege, you must be prepared that above-mentioned technologies may show signs of failing even before they are discontinued completely. Alternative technology solutions and work-arounds for anticipated problems have been provided below.

If the technologies Pearson intends to discontinue by year's end are core to the delivery of your course, we strongly encourage you to migrate your course content as early as possible. The sooner you begin the migration process, the more time you will have to become familiar with your new learning management system.  You may migrate to any of the four remaining Learning Management Systems Rutgers maintains for for-credit education: BlackBoard; Canvas; Moodle; and Sakai. COHLIT staff are available to help you transition your course to any of these learning management systems.   

Lastly, working with OIT, we are taking steps to transfer archived eCollege course data to Rutgers systems. As important steps in this process, we are investigating the legal and compliance questions surrounding the data transfer and are researching available technical solutions. Additional messaging will be forthcoming as we resolve these issues.

Solutions and Work Arounds for Continued Use in Pearson LearningStudio (eCollege)  

ClassLive 

ClassLive, powered by Blackboard Collaborate, is a synchronous online meeting tool that allows instructors to share content via a whiteboard and communicate with students via chat, microphone and web camera.  Instructional use varies greatly.  

Potential instructional uses of ClassLive and alternative technologies.
Instructional Purpose  Possible Solutions
Screencast Recording mediaspace.rutgers.edu
Office hours Skype or Google Hangouts
Synchronous online meetings          meetings.rutgers.edu

Turnitin  

Fully integrated with eCollege, Turnitin is a plagiarism detection web service that is also available as a standalone (non-integrated) service.    

IInstructors can have students continue to submit papers to eCollege's Dropbox for grading.  Prior to grading, instructors may perform a bulk download of student submissions from eCollege.  As a next step, instructors should create an assignment at Turnitin.com and perform a bulk upload of the downloaded eCollege assignments on behalf of the students.  Alternatively, instructors may request that students submit to both the eCollege DropBox and to the assignment basket at Turnitin.com.

Notifications  

Notifications is an external tool that allows users to automatically receive a notification with every new course announcement, thread post, grade and/or assignment, without having to log in to the course.  

Instructors should prompt their students to ensure their email addresses are up-to-date in eCollege.  Any announcements posted in the course may be copied and pasted as an email message.  Unfortunately, there is no solution that will allow notifications via SMS text or automated messages concerning grades, assignments, and threaded discussions.  

Surveys

Surveys is an external tool that allows the delivery of end-of-course instructional rating surveys.  In-course prompts would allow students to complete the survey from within their eCollege course.  The Rutgers Center for Teaching Advancement & Assessment Research (CTAAR) has elected to transition the eCollege surveys to the survey tool currently used to administer SIRS.  As a result, eCollege will no longer prompt the students to take the survey; instead the students in eCollege will receive multiple email reminders. If you prefer that students are prompted in the learning management system, this feature remains available in Blackboard and Canvas.

Exam Guard  

Exam Guard is a lock-down browser that restricts students activity while taking an online exam in eCollege.  ProctorTrack is also available to in eCollege to monitor student activity during assessments.  This service is available for a fee.  Please email proctoring@docs.rutgers.edu for more information.  

Campus Pack Learning Objects  

Campus Pack (Learning Objects) allows users to easily build and implement social media assignments and activities from a library of re-usable tools including wikis, blogs, journals, podcasts, and templates.    

Instructors can use PLS threaded discussions to promote the social aspect of student content creation.  The visual editor allows students and instructors  to embed a variety of web-ready files such as videos and presentations within threaded discussions. These can be viewed directly within the thread without clicking to open a linked file.