A message from our Associate PVC Academic, Prof. Alasdair Blair


  • We are investing in digital learning. Over the next two years we will be working with our students and staff to co-design a digital learning experience that will be based on a new Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
  • A new VLE will be a major technological change project for the University that will have a significant and positive impact on the student experience and digital transformation. 
  • At the heart of this we want a VLE that is easy to use and provides students and staff with the relevant technological tools to support and foster excellent student learning and engagement in a fully accessible and inclusive manner.


What we want and why we are doing this now

  • The University’s VLE is 20 years old and will no longer be supported after December 2023. 
  • We estimate it will take 2 years to buy and implement a new VLE.
  • We want a VLE that will deliver an engaging and empowering student experience.
  • We want a VLE that provides an intuitive, fully accessible, inclusive and easily navigable learning environment. 
  • We want a VLE that provides a world-class student experience and which provides person-centred learning supported by modern technologies and data analytics.


How long will it take?

What we have done so far
  • Assessed what the university wants from a VLE in 2023 and for the 10+ years beyond
  • Assessed the approaches and technologies available, including what is available in the university now, what other HEI’s use, what the market can or will offer, and what staff and students value or have unmet needs from the current tools
  • Preparing options and submitting a full business case with a decision to proceed
  • The procurement process is ongoing (ITT).
  • Four suppliers have submitted tenders and these have been reviewed and scored in a desktop evaluation.
  • Presentations and demonstrations were completed during the week commencing 28th February.
What’s still to do
  • Product trials will run until the 5th April. A supplier will then be selected and contract negotiations will commence, due to be completed by the end of May.
  • We have to implement a new solution, integrate it with all our systems, agree and implement what we want to migrate from Blackboard, thoroughly test the new system and agree and deploy a roll-out plan to ensure every programme and module is live on the new system by the start of the academic year in October 2023.


Procurement timeline

Procurement timeline for vle replacement. By November 2021 the detailed requirements will be completed. The invitation to tender will be launched in December 2021. Tenders will be received by January 2022 and these will be evaluated into March. A final selection and contract will be awarded in May 2022.

How are you helping?

Stakeholder groups representing every academic group in the University


  • Have already contributed to pre-market engagement activity to help define our requirements.
  • Are supporting us to bring together the requirements needed for the ITT.
  • Are supporting the supplier evaluation and selection phases of the procurement process.



Future opportunities
  • To get involved in shaping the configuration, testing, training and trialling of the procured system

Any questions or comments?