CSG Fall 2013 – Is the Grass Greener? Exploring the New Wave of Course Management Systems, Part 2

Moving NYU from Blackboard to Sakai – Kitty Bridges.

NYU turned off Blackboard on August 15. On November 14, 2011 the Provost announced plan to replace Blackboard with Sakai, with goal of completing transition by August 2013.

Why Sakai?

Recommendation made by Teaching Technology Committee. BB would have required a substantial upgrade; Open source providing framework for integration (integrating things with Blackboard was painful); Gives NYU a voice in the development of Sakai; Positive experiences with Sakai at Med School; Lots of new capabilities for loose or tight integrations.

Phased approach – phased by school, so had students living in two LMS systems during transition. Phase 1 – exploratory group of 20 faculty, integration with SIS; Phase 2 – fully transition two mid-sized schools, begin migrating Bb content to Sakai; Phase 3 – All schools.

Migrating Bb Content – mostly good news. Leveraged import code from Sakai community. some issues with tests and surveys (data structures not quite the same), and some issues with really big files. Automatically migrated five semesters of content, and archived older content.

Project website: http://www.nyu.edu/nyuclasses-project/

Communications – short and actionable. Can directly see uptick in visits to training and support site on days when email to faculty went out.

Communications and online training resources – high degree of satisfaction.

Did a self-service course site creation. Puts decision to cobine sections into one course site in the hands of faculty and admin staff. 75% of faculty feel confident in ability to create and publish course sites.

Anticipated 6500 course sites to be created last winter, but had 6800 – anticipated numbers were based on Bb usage, so might have new users who didn’t use Bb. Huge number of visits to training and support site. No increase in help tickets from previous year.

Lessons – governance model and academic leadership was key; early outreach to deans, chairs, and IT partners; early training with videos, faqs, and in-person options were key; self-service site creation (the sooner the better); 18 month project lenth was right and phasing was right; Early and thorough testing of the migration of most complext test and survey content. Prepare team or instructors to deal with question types that differ, requires some manual reworking; Make sure you have a methodology and enough staff to deal with migration of large sites.

Staff resources: Bb 2.5 FTE faculty support; 1 FTE for accounts; 1.75 FTE for systems. Transition: 5.8 FTE technical; .5 FTE communications ramped up to 7 FTE + 4 students during height of transition; New system steady state: 3 FTE faculty support, .25 FTE for account management, 1.5 FTE systems.

Have new group of 16 instructional technology staff, centrally funded. Dotted-line report to teaching technology committee, deans very heavily involved. Central intake point, leveraging Service Now for requests from faculty for help.



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