LMS Migration

MUSC’s New Learning Management System: D2L Brightspace

Who is D2L?

D2L is a global leader in educational technology and the pioneer of Brightspace, their learning platform. D2L does not build technology for technology’s sake. They deliver thoughtful, purpose-built solutions so that we can achieve better results. In each of their recent releases, at least 25% of product innovations have come directly from client input demonstrating that D2L listens, consults, and responds. Their record of being one of the first to market with key innovations such as adaptive learning, native Competency Based Education features, and predictive, near real‐time analysis is the best predictor of their ongoing commitment to being at the forefront of LMS innovation for MUSC.

What is Brightspace?

D2L is the company name, and Brightspace is the product. Brightspace, or “Brightspace Learning Environment”, is an innovative learning management system for creating, hosting, and editing online learning resources. It contains a flexible suite of tools for creating custom content for institutions, courses and users.

What Makes D2L Brightspace Different?

Some of the key features of the Desire2Learn Brightspace platform that will benefit MUSC include:

  • Flexible tools, activities and assessments that are easy to add and configure.
  • Modern, accessible, mobile-friendly interface that is easy to use

D2L Brightspace interface across various platforms: desktop, smartphone, tablet

  • Stable platform where updates are provided seamlessly, without downtime
  • Learning analytics tools instructors can use to track engagement with courses

D2L Brightspace learning analytic tools

  • E-Portfolios that allow for learners to demonstrate learning over time.
  • The most responsive LMS for digital accessibility. Features include a built-in checker and automatic video captioning within the system.

D2L Brightspace accessibility checker

In all cases, the D2L Brightspace platform consistently rated highest amongst survey respondents during the search process.

University Level Committees

LMS Oversight Committee

Formal Charges: The LMS Oversight Committee was formed at the direction of the Associate Provost for Education Innovation and Student Life to participate in the University policy process and provide oversight to the implementation of the new Learning Management System: D2L. The Committee, working in close partnership with other participants and stakeholders in the MUSC Governance process, shall perform the following functions:

  • Review the work and progress of the LMS Project as reported by the LMS Workgroup Committee.
  • Share information and provide updates to the Education Advisory Council, the division of Education Innovation & Student Life, and the University Education Infrastructure Council.
  • Recommend any actions to the Associate Provost of Education Innovation and Student Life.

Membership: Membership on the Committee shall be determined by the Associate Provost for Education Innovation and Student Life and the Provost, who shall periodically review the Committee’s membership and make adjustments as necessary. Membership shall include the following voting representatives:

  • Associate Provost for Education Innovation and Student Life (co-chair): Gigi Smith
  • Chief Technology Officer for Information Solutions (co-chair): Mark Daniels
  • Director of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness: Ben Reynolds
  • Associate/Assistant for Academic Deans of each college: Nancy Carson, Shannon Drayton, Donna Kern, Shannon Kozachik, Robin Muise-Helmericks, Tariq Javed
  • Information Technology Directors/Representatives: Tony Eisenhart, Alejandro Escobar, Inda Humes, Robert Maguire, Leslie Morris, Connor West
  • Instructional Technology and Faculty Resources Representative: Melissa Hortman, Alex Walters
  • Information Solutions Representative, Director, Business Delivery Applications: Carrie Weston

LMS Workgroup Committee

Formal Charges: The LMS Workgroup Committee was formed at the direction of the Associate Provost for Education Innovation and Student Life to participate in the University policy process and ensure the project implementation occurs for the new Learning Management System: D2L. The Committee, working in close partnership with other participants and stakeholders in the MUSC Governance process, shall perform the following functions for the project:

  1. Initiation including creation of a project charter and identification of the project scope
  2. Planning including a task list, timeline, evaluation of resources, estimate of costs, identification of potential risks
  3. Execution including project meetings and stakeholder communication. Share information and provide updates to the Education Advisory Council, the University Education Infrastructure Committee, and the division of Education Innovation & Student Life.
  4. Monitoring and Control including identification and mitigation of risks early, tracking key performance indicators, managing documentation, etc.
  5. Recommend any actions to the Associate Provost of Education Innovation and Student Life.


  • Project Supervisor (Chair): Mary Mauldin
  • Project Manager for Instructional Technology & Faculty Resources (ITFR)/Education: Melissa Hortman
  • Assistant Project Manager for ITFR/Education: Alex Walters
  • Assistant Project Manager for Information Solutions (IS): Molly Powell
  • IS Subject Matter Expert Application Information: James Goad
  • IS Subject Matter Expert Integration: Greg Fisher
  • LMS Vendor Project Manager, Mercedes England

Upcoming Milestones (Dates are subject to change)

  • Project Kick Off: November 4, 2020 - Implementation and Technical Setup Begins
  • Pilot Go-Live: January 18, 2021 – Identified Users Gain Access to Site
  • User Go-Live: March 1, 2021, May 1, 2021, July 1, 2021 – Users begin to host content for learners. This is dependent on the college and program.
  • Project End Date: June 30, 2021 - All remaining project tasks have been completed and the final transition to D2L Brightspace is complete. Last day to access Harbor.

Course Migration and Training

Current training opportunities include the Brightspace subscription training.

What is Subscription Training? 

Subscription Training is just-in time live training and on-demand recorded Brightspace training that you can use whenever and wherever on any device. To learn more, you can visit https://www.d2l.com/training-services/ to watch a video, read through the one-pager, and explore the full program catalog. 

How and where do I get started?

Bulk Enrollment Option: If you currently have the role of teacher or continuing educator in Harbor, you should have already received an email to create a password for Brightspace Community, and a link to the training program.

Manual Enrollment Option: If you did not receive an email directly from Brightspace, navigate directly to Community (community.brightspace.com) > login or create an account then you are enrolled! Access Subscription Training by going to Community > Learning Center > Subscription Training (blue widget) and click on Tips for Getting Started. Please note that your Community account must be connected to your organization's email. 

  • Brightspace Training Schedule for Instructors and Course Creators
    The Department of Instructional Technology and Faculty Resources has scheduled internal training sessions for MUSC beginning this spring. Please feel free to review this schedule and save the dates.

  • Student Training
    Students can access the Brightspace Community site for an orientation on how to use the system.

  • Course Migration Plan
    A course migration plan has been developed to ensure that all content within the 2020 academic year is migrated over to Brightspace. Also included are points of contact for each college and department as well as information regarding courses prior to 2020. This plan is now available for review.


  1. What will happen to my Harbor course?
    We will only be migrating the past one years’ worth of courses to Brightspace (unless otherwise specifically requested). Student data such as assignments uploaded, discussion forum posts and grades issued will not be migrated.
  2. Will Blackboard Collaborate still be an option in Brightspace?
    We will no longer have Blackboard Collaborate as our virtual classroom option after July 2021. The university is actively exploring a replacement or new integration for a similar tool.
  3. I love using H5P interactive content in my course! What will happen to those activities?
    Current H5P activities will not migrate, but the option to continue using H5P will be available in Brightspace.
  4. What are some of the benefits that come with moving to Brightspace?
    • Brightspace will provide 24/7/365 support
    • A well designed and accessible mobile app for students to view content and engage in courses.
    • An ePortfolio tool that allows for students to record learning, reflect on it and share with their peers.
    • Closed captioning is automatically added to videos recorded directly into the site.
    • Enhanced AI capabilities that allow you to provide personalized learning within a course through automatic messaging.
  5. I have additional questions, who do I contact?
    Reach out to our team by emailing brightspace@musc.edu.
  6. Will we rename Brightspace like we did for Open LMS calling it Harbor? No, we will call the learning management system by the vendor's name, Brightspace. This decision was made to ensure that end users utilize appropriate terminology with D2L when seeking support.
  7. What if I need access to course content from outside of the semesters included in the migration? MUSC will store backup files from 2013 through present of courses in Harbor. These backup files will be stored for five (5) years.
  8. Can we integrate software that our college has purchased into Brightspace? Historically, ITFR has only integrated 3rd party software that is centrally managed and supported. 3rd party integrations could be solutions that a specific college has purchased and support like Zoom. Centrally managed solutions are those that the University has purchased licenses for everyone on campus like Panopto. We are going to continue the same process for Brightspace due to limited resources to take on this additional work for a college. Exceptions would be if the majority of colleges found the particular 3rd party software critical for their courses like ExamSoft.
  9. What is the last date that I can access Harbor or use it for teaching? No one can access Harbor after June 30, 2021. All courses that overlap that time will need to be in Brightspace from the beginning of the course.
  10. When will faculty have access to Brightspace to start working in a sandbox or their migrated course shell? January 18, 2021 is the date for a pilot-go live.
  11. Will we continue to have access to Blackboard Ally? Yes, Blackboard Ally will be integrated into Brightspace.
  12. What will happen to Turn It In assignment portals? These will need to be re-created in Brightspace as there is not a one to one conversion available.