Fall 2014 Block Week kicked off today, meaning we just pushed into the 2014-2015 academic year. Holy. The last one is basically just a blur. But, we did a surprisingly epic number of major things as a team1:
- Migrating from Blackboard to D2L in about 8 months, including:
- building and testing the integration with Peoplesoft & Elluminate
- designing and conducting workshops to support a couple thousand instructors
- working to help get the 31,000 FTE student body through the move
- building online resources to help, at the UofC’s elearn website
- Doing an emergency migration from Elluminate to Adobe Connect, in response to the Javapocalypse of January 2014
- Probably a bajillion other things that got forgotten in the blur. what a year.
To get the campus community through the whole thing, I’d been using a diagram to outline the flow and timeline:
The 2 stars indicate (left) when we got access to our D2L server, and (right) when we had to turn off access to the Blackboard servers. Everything was driven by those dates, and mapped out over the academic year with semesters defining the major stages. The surprising/amazing/relieving thing is that we actually stuck to the schedule. I didn’t have to revise that document once, after using it last summer to outline the process. Wow.
On top of that, the shiny new Technology Integration Group in the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning’s Educational Development Unit had a bunch of other stuff to do:
- providing instructor training and support for D2L and Adobe Connect (working closely with the Instructional Design team)
- launching the new Teaching Community website
- rebuilding the “team formation tool”, from an old java-based codebase to a modern application implemented using the D2L Valence API
- producing a pretty awesome student orientation video
- building a new intranet website to manage data within the EDU
- preparing a new website for the new EDU (to be launched later this month)
- building a mobile app for D2L, using the Campus Life framework
- supporting the campus blogging and wiki platforms
- investigate additional tools within D2L to support learning, such as ePortfolios, badging, repositories, etc…
- exploring other learning technologies, including beacons, and a long list of other things we didn’t have nearly enough time to play with…
So, while 2013-2014 was a year of pretty epic and overwhelming changes, I’m looking forward to the big pieces stabilizing this fall, so we can start pushing at the edges a bit more. We’ve got lots of ideas for things we can do, once the major changes are done for a bit. That roadmap will be sorted out later this month, but it’s going to be a really fun year!
this was a truly multi-department interdisciplinary team, with folks from the Taylor Institute EDU and Information Technologies working flat out together to get stuff done ↩︎