Did you know Sakai is being replaced?

October 04, 2021

Good afternoon, St. Lawrence,

I hope the subject line did not alarm anyone as it is meant to get your attention.  A faculty member mentioned to me last week that they were not aware that SLU was replacing Sakai with a new LMS to be implemented Fall 2022 through Spring 2023.

Please visit https://www.stlawu.edu/lms-transition for project information; however, I have highlighted several points of interest below:


Last year, the Educational Technology Committee (ETC) and Faculty Development Committee (FDC) recommended two Learning Management System (LMS) vendors for further review – Brightspace by Desire2Learn (D2L) and Canvas by Instructure.  Some of the work involved in making the recommendations include: understanding the current/future Sakai roadmap, survey to our faculty, survey to the Consortium for Liberal Arts Colleges (CLAC), reviewing strategic articles, and vendor demonstrations. 

 Why a new LMS?

Sakai is an open-source product which relies on the community to support and grow.  Sakai has always had a small market share, but that is now shrinking more rapidly with fewer developers, textbook publishers, and third-party tool vendors focusing on Sakai program needs. St. Lawrence cannot risk such uncertainty with a program so critical to our overall teaching and learning goals. 


The Educational Technologies team has been busy preparing the new members of our Educational Technologies (ETC) and Faculty Development (FDC) committees prepared for the next year of planning and decision-making.  A Request for Proposal (RFP) is being finalized and will be distributed tomorrow morning to both LMS vendors under consideration (D2L and Canvas).  The St. Lawrence University LMS vendor selection timeline is below, with the most significant step being the campus presentations.  This virtual event will be recorded and made available for those who cannot attend.  When the date and time are confirmed, I will send an invitation to campus.

  •  Distribution ofRFP                                                    October 5, 2021
  • Vendor product demonstration(s)
  •   Campus presentation                                             October 11 – 13, 2021
  •   Technical – system administrators                        October 14 - 22, 2021 
  • Deadline forvendor questions oraddendum(s)   October 22, 2021
  • RFPdue at noon (EST)                                              November 5, 2021
  • Onsitevendor contract meeting(s)                          November 8 – 12, 2021
  • Final award notification                                            December 9, 2021

 I am excited to make a selection and begin talking about how we move forward with a new LMS at SLU.  Spring 2022 will be a busy time understanding options, defaults and making decisions.  The intent is to have two working groups – the first being a combination of our ETC/FDC committees to guide the pedagogical discussions/needs and a technical group to ensure an easy transition with integrated systems.

 Look for invitations next week for the Campus Presentations from both Brightspace by Desire 2 Learn (D2L) and Canvas by Instructure.

Smiles and laughter,


René M. Thatcher
Executive Director of Services and Outreach
Information Technology
St. Lawrence University
Pronouns: She, her, hers
WOO & Includer