The implementation of Connect is expected to take three years and proceed according to the following general time lines (please see Figure below):
- In Summer 2011, the project was initiated (developed project charter and team, consulted with Faculties and other WebCT Vista users regarding migration approaches and timing).
- During Fall 2011 more detailed planning and consultation occurred, along with selection of a pilot group, development of training and documentation, and installation of the software.
- In January 2012 (Winter Session, Term 2 of 2011-12.), a pilot comprising a limited number of courses took place.
- In May 2012 (Summer Session, 2012-13), we will begin to phase in Connect over two academic years. Please note that as of May 2012, all UBC Okanagan courses will be running on Connect.
- In Summer 2014, the WebCT Vista platform will no longer be available.
UBC has used a learning management system (LMS) since 1996 when WebCT was invented by Murray Goldberg. Over the years, the system usage has increased such that in 2010-2011, there were 4,600 course websites on the centrally provisioned system. Blackboard, the company that owns the WebCT Vista software, announced that support for the Vista product line will end in January 2013, prompting the need to select and implement a new system for the campus.
In April 2010 the Learning Technology Advisory Council (LTAC) struck a working group to investigate options and to recommend a product to replace WebCT Vista. In June 2011, the LTAC Working Group released their final report, recommending the adoption of the Blackboard Learning System as the UBC System’s next learning management system. In addition, a set of strategy and implementation recommendations were put forward for consideration by LTAC. In 2012, UBC held a naming contest and Connect was chosen as the new name for UBC’s learning management system.
Connect will be the cornerstone system for the UBC teaching and learning ecosystem. The project is committed to significant stakeholder involvement through partnering with faculties, students and administrative units to form a strong base for the further development of the ecosystem.
Project Goals and Objectives:
The overall project goal is to implement Connect as the new officially supported LMS. The LMS is intended as the cornerstone platform that will support both anticipated future growth in blended and online learning and innovative use of learning technologies. The plan is to migrate all active courses currently residing in WebCT Vista over a twenty-four month period to be completed by January 2014.
The project has three primary objectives:
- Ensure an efficient, people focused implementation process
- Implement a robust, stable technical platform
- Create a foundation for supporting longer-term strategic education change initiatives
The upgrade project has been scoped to ensure that the functionality provided by our current WebCT Vista system today is replaced by Connect. This upgrade project will include also include the Content and Community modules of Connect.
Key deliverables of the core project team include:
- Set up and configuration of required underlying infrastructure and Connect application
- Migration of courses from WebCT Vista to Connect, including a copyright compliance check
- Development of Shibboleth, SIS and Building Block integrations, including a new identity approach
- Development and implementation of a transition and communication plan, including Faculty Transition Plans
- Provision professional development programs (including face-to-face, online and self-services options), educational resources and application support
- Development of a content strategy
- Development of an academic focused reporting strategy (analytics)
- Development of a community tools exchange (developer community)
- Implementation of a sunset (phase out) strategy for WebCT Vista
The proposed implementation strategy is illustrated in Figure 1. This is a complex project, with multiple streams of work over three years.
Following an initial pilot in January 2012, courses will be migrated over two academic years and WebCT Vista turned off by summer 2014. Support will be provisioned locally and centrally, with processes developed for escalation of issues. Professional development programs and resources for faculty, students and Instructional Support Staff will be launched during the early pilot phase and ramped up during the migration phases.
Figure 1: Implementation Strategy Timeline
- FAQs for Instructors
- FAQs for Students (coming soon)