migration

I am hopeful that my last (personal) migration was three years ago: Vancouver to Auckland. Never say never…

More recently we have been focused on selecting a learning management system (LMS) for the university. Rather shockingly, both the technical and pedagogical folks involved in the process had the same system ranked first. Rather awesomely, vendor negotiations were successful. Effective January 2016. Canvas by Instructure will be our LMS. This pleases me. First, because a selection process was designed and the result endorsed by senior leadership. Second, because we have found a system that borrows from both a closed, vendor-based ecosystem (stability of code) and openness (end user innovation)–the best of both developer experiences, ostensibly.

Over the last couple of months we have leapt from the selection to the migration planning part of this long road. Currently we’re running a handful of pilot courses, with highly skilled end users (staff) doing some very useful testing of a range of affordances. The central IT team has already got a number of integration issues sorted, which means we will be almost entirely sorted for our go live in early 2016. All courses will migrate in 2016, which is not what we wanted. But decision made.

Canvas itself has all sorts of affordances that will make our work more interesting and successful. It comes with a built-in virtual classroom tool (the Big Blue Button)–hurrah! Our folks have already got the Turnitin integration working 90%. And I’ve hacked our way into embedding Chalk and Wire, our faculty’s e-portfolio platform, in. There’s a proper Chalk and Wire integration too…even if that doesn’t work well, my rubberband and bluetack version is fine.

August-October is when the migration rubber will hit the road. The central migration team isn’t yet appointed. Canvas champions seconded within each faculty are also to be identified. Having been through two of these migrations previously I am rather mindful of how labour intensive it will be. Our migrating from a bespoke LMS that has no Canvas migration tool per sé will make this significantly more challenging.

Thankfully neither I nor my team will be doing that heavy lifting. 🙂