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Getting the Job Done Right—and at Multiprocessor Speed

A timeline of the Brightspace rollout at Southern New Hampshire University.

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Watch Video about D2L & SNHU Meet the Challenges of Growth Together


In 2017, after a year of consultation and design planning, the ed-tech company D2L and Southern New Hampshire University became partners on a project to implement Brightspace, the D2L-created advanced learning management system (LMS).

The partners faced two major logistical challenges: How could they replace the former LMS and install Brightspace without disrupting faculty and students mid-semester? And how to get the new system integrated with the student information system and made fully functional across campuses in a record amount of time?

For D2L, there was another consideration: How to roll out to major stakeholders a flexible LMS that allows for ongoing growth at a large, global institution that features several different learning modules — and do it all within a mere 86 days?

Here's how it all shook out...

July 18th, 2016

Digital experts from D2L make their first contact with Southern New Hampshire University representatives.


D2L is invited to the SNHU campus in Manchester.


The company delivers its plan to help SNHU overcome the “pain points” of its old system, including within Brightspace’s grading rubric.

January 2017

D2L enters scope-of-work consulting agreement with SNHU for preliminary implementation and transition planning.

June 30

SNHU signs a contract to purchase Brightspace as its LMS.

July 6: The Race Begins

Ultimately, D2L and SNHU aim to connect a significant number of all stakeholders — faculty, advisers, staff, and graduate online students — online within 86 workdays. That means the job will have to be completed in fewer than four months total. The partners and their change-management teams spend one month on architecture, design, and implementation planning,. They also create governance and support groups, a timeline, and build several dozen Brightspace training courses.


The first phase of Brightspace installation begins, with an initial goal of getting 17,000 graduate students at SNHU’s original online campus plugged into the new system.

September 4

An internal non-production pilot of the Brightspace program is introduced with full IPSIS integrations from the Student Information System into Brightspace.

October 30

At the 86-day milestone, teachers in the graduate program receive access. SNHU shifts LMS upgrades from once every two to five years (per the terms of its previous LMS vendor) to once a month with Brightspace’s monthly continuous delivery cycle.

November 6

With the timeline met, the work continues to reach the remaining stakeholders. Graduate online students receive access.

November 20

New term and classes start. Brightspace is nearly in full use.

November 26

Class assignments and discussion posts are available for access.

November 27

Teacher grading system is made available. By this point, Brightspace has incorporated or created 2,780 course offerings and sections, has 25,500 users, has facilitated 25,560 enrollments, and processed 72,000 university records. Brightspace has been made widely available on campus, the 86-day timeframe and continuing work are done — without any major disruptions to learning.

December 18

An additional 3,500-plus courses are plugged into Brightspace and upgraded, and are available to online faculty for the upcoming undergraduate term.

December 25 Undergraduate online students — an additional 85,000 users— receive access for the January term.

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@SNHU is implementing #Brightspace to provide a modern, personalized learning experience for their students.
OG Hatter #E4L
OG Hatter #E4L@TheOGMadHatter
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@D2L super excited to use brightspace in my graduate program @SNHU the design is seamless and so well organized!!!!
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The partnership between @MLS and @SNHU allows players to pursue their degree while playing the game they love. This highlights the value and advantages of #OnlineLearning.
Brenda Everett
Brenda Everett@bmeladybug
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As one of those 80,000 online students, I can say that Brightspace is much better than the previous #LMS It is much easier to navigate. #snhu #creativewriting #amwriting #student

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