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Ready, Set, Go! From Blackboard to Sakai CLE 2.9 in less than 6 Months


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Presented at Open Apereo 2014 Conference in Miami, FL -- We reviewed the processes taken and lessons learned during our transition from Blackboard 9.1 to Sakai CLE 2.9 with the goal of helping other schools going through similar transitions.

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Ready, Set, Go! From Blackboard to Sakai CLE 2.9 in less than 6 Months

  2. 2. Presenters & Contributors Sean Ohlinger Technology Coordinator at Loyola with focus on technology in the classrooms including Sakai, lecture capture, and control systems; providing support at Loyola since 1997. Jennifer Tyler Online Educational Technologist at Loyola supporting faculty and providing training in various e-learning technologies including Sakai, Adobe Connect, video repositories, and more. Jack Corliss Senior Analyst in academic and research support at Loyola for last 35+ years, a primary system administrator of LUC’s Sakai CLE 2.9. Expertise in LMS system metrics, data integration, and more. Lauree Garvin Senior Educational Technologist at Loyola responsible for system administration and user support for Sakai as well as statistical applications, QDAs, and online survey applications.
  3. 3.  When faced with the challenge of rapidly moving from Blackboard 9.1 to Sakai CLE, we had to craft multiple solutions for success  We will review processes taken and lessons learned with the goal of helping other schools going through similar transitions Overview
  4. 4. Loyola University Chicago  Private, Jesuit Catholic university in Chicago with 16,000 students across 5 campuses including Rome, Italy  The only one of 28 schools in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities utilizing Sakai CLE as primary LMS  Sakai CLE instance is hosted by Longsight  Former Blackboard school of 10 years, hosted by Blackboard Managed Hosting  As of Spring 2014 – 2,229 active course sites, 161 online courses  LMS Support  Four full-time employees in Instructional Technology and Research Support  Pedagogical support from our Faculty Center for Ignation Pedagogy  Two schools have additional, dedicated staff for instructional design and tech support Institution Introduction
  5. 5.  Began with eCollege (Pearson)  Moved to Prometheus (developed by George Washington University)  Prometheus purchased by Blackboard  At that time (2004) LUC looked at Sakai as an alternative to Blackboard  Did not choose Sakai because of lack of track record and lack of hosted option  Followed progress of Sakai when hosted options became available Sakai reconsidered LMS History at LUC
  6. 6.  Tasked with evaluating “open” source LMS options by our CIO and Provost in the Fall of 2011  Cost and flexibility to include non-LUC users were driving factors for consideration  Looked at Sakai and Moodle because:  Both were mature systems with hosted options  Both were in use by institutions that were similar to LUC in terms of size and governance Why consider “open” source LMS?
  7. 7.  Questions to Address:  Open source LMS a feasible replacement?  If not, can we use open source as a supplement to proprietary LMS?  Two Hosted Pilots:  Intent was to run six courses with a combined enrollment of approximately 200 students per semester on each system  Fall 2011 semester - seven courses on each system with a combined enrollment of 562 students  Spring 2012 semester - eight courses on Sakai and four on Moodle with a combined enrollment of 380.  Recommended Sakai over Moodle as replacement for, rather than a supplement to, our proprietary LMS. Alternative Learning Management Systems Pilot
  8. 8.  Sakai system administration was less “problematic” than Moodle  Sakai was easier to support at the faculty level  Learning curve for Sakai not as steep as that for Moodle  One-half of Moodle faculty dropped out of pilot at end of Fall 2011 semester  Students found Sakai easier to use than Moodle in terms of navigation and tools Why Sakai instead of Moodle?
  9. 9.  For faculty, Sakai features like My Workspace, the ability to make parts of a course public, download/upload assignments, Email Archive, a functioning Calendar tool, and the ability to create site-specific roles, offset decreases in the functionality of other tools (such as the Gradebook, Wiki interface, group-grading in Assignments)  When students in the pilot were asked which LMS they preferred, Blackboard or Sakai, 65% of the 249 students responding to the Fall 2011 evaluation survey chose Sakai  Among students choosing Sakai, 53% cited ease of navigation as one factor in their preference Why Sakai instead of Blackboard?
  10. 10.  In October 2012, college deans recommended moving to Sakai by May 2013 rather than May 2014  Our eighteen month migration time frame was now compressed to six months…  Less time to review tools and other features of Sakai and develop institution-specific documentation  Course migration had to start immediately  SIS integration had to be fully functional for the summer sessions beginning in May  Improve system admin processes through the upgrade (positive – in LDAP, in Sakai)  Formal training had to begin immediately The Challenge
  11. 11.  After identifying which “open” source LMS we assumed we would have an additional year to…  Increase number of faculty in the pilot:  To better understand more completely the difference between tools  Get more faculty feedback on tools so we could address concerns  Develop support strategy to train faculty in new system  Develop migration strategy for courses Assumptions After First Year of Pilot
  12. 12.  FCIP Pedagogy support group recommended creating courses in Sakai from scratch  Hands-on migration support was provided to a few faculty (27 total)  App connected with SIS to enable instructors to select just one section of a course if possible – reduce the size of the task Course Migration
  13. 13.  Three rounds of migration - Spring 2011 to Summer 2012 courses - Fall 2012, Winter 12-13, and J-Term 13 courses - Spring 2013 courses - Re-migrated all the first round courses in attempt to collect missed Bb 9.1 files - Ended up with 2,330 courses from the three rounds of migration  Provided faculty instructions about migrated content  Approximately only 10% of migrated courses were actually used Course Migration
  14. 14.  Formal training began in December 2012  37% of full time faculty were formally trained  12% of adjunct faculty were formally trained  3% of staff were formally trained  From December 2012 through Spring of 2013 Formal Training Sessions
  15. 15.  Drop-in support hours were increased dramatically (66% - from 330 hours per semester to 548 hours per semester) in preparation for the move to Sakai.  Support sessions offered at both campuses, Monday through Friday, with morning and afternoon coverage  Extended drop-in support to evenings and week-ends during the two weeks prior to start of Fall 2013 semester  Faculty had option of attending drop-in virtually  Results: faculty used only one-fifth of drop-in time; we “over-prepared”. Increased Staffed Support Hours
  16. 16. Time Used by Time Available 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Fall 2010 Spring 2011 Fall 2011 (move to BB 9.1) Spring 2012 Fall 2012 Spring 2013 Fall 2013 (move to Sakai) Spring 2014 Percent of Staffed Time Unused Percent of Staffed Time Used (non-LMS) Percent of Staffed Time Used (LMS Only)
  17. 17.  Provided 69 summer drop-ins and 142 fall Sakai drop-ins  Numbers of drop-ins increased by 402 % over drop-ins for BB 9.1 upgrade in 2011 - Summer (13) and Fall (29)  Sixty-four percent of these drop-ins occurred during the first five weeks of the sixteen week (counts week of final exams) Fall 2013 semester  Used only 19% of the staffed drop-in time - Of that 19%, 12% was used to support the LMS Drop-in Support Numbers
  18. 18.  LMS ticket volume for the Fall 2013 semester was almost identical to the volume we experienced in our upgrade from Blackboard 8 to Blackboard 9.1  Compared LMS ticket numbers for the period beginning two weeks before the start of the fall semester through the week after final exams for the BB 9.1 upgrade (n=1041) and the move to Sakai (n=1142). Helpdesk Support
  19. 19. Comparison of LMS Ticket Log 0 50 100 150 200 250 Comparison of Numbers of HEAT Tickets – Move to BB 9.1 (F11) vs. Move to Sakai (F13) Sakai Tickets BB 9.1 Tickets
  20. 20.  No huge differences in the types of support we provided between our Bb 9.1 upgrade and our migration to Sakai.  Biggest differences were in the areas of course site manipulation by system admins (an increase of 6%) and LMS account issues (a decrease of 4 %).  Hoped that the “Publish Site” button would decrease tickets related to students unable to view sites but this was not the case (7% vs 5%). Support for What?
  21. 21. All the behind-the-scenes work going on…  Goal was to replicate the processes that worked with Bb so the switch would be rather transparent for instructors  SIS integration: auto creation of course shells and auto assignment of students and instructors via SIS data  SIS Course ID as Sakai internal site ID instead of the random assignment of numbers and letters  Similar processes used as those already created for Bb  Able to automate the process with Sakai straight from the beginning, thanks to almost 10 years prior experience with Bb  LDAP authentication System Administration
  22. 22. Final data required/provided from Blackboard – archives and timing  Goal – In Fall 2012 we were running 2,100 courses using Blackboard with about 14,000 students having at least one course – In Fall 2013 we needed to have 2,100 courses using Sakai with about 14,000 students having at least one course  Collected all metrics to send to Sakai host Longsight so they were able to replicate our environment from previous term - User accounts, course sites, instructor/staff assignments and student enrollments - Disk space for data base and application data, bandwidth, and application servers (started 3, added 1 at the right time, and recently added a development application server) - Daily login metrics from an 18 month period: logins, content posted, course sizes, assessments submitted and discussion postings.  No surprises for our host so they knew what was needed System Configuration
  23. 23.  Had a back-up of Bb archives available of all courses from last 18 months (over 18,000 courses total!)  Keep in mind, System Administration had two tasks:  Shut down Blackboard and  Bring up production of Sakai for start of summer 2012  Good vendor relationships were important with both hosts of our LMS systems – Blackboard redid the batch archives of Spring 2013 even after our contract had expired  Our success with system administration to meet goals due in part to having developed best practices that we were to use with this task System Configuration
  24. 24. Integrations Integrations in Place:  Adobe Connect  iTunes U  Turnitin LTI Integrations:  Piazza  VoiceThread  i-Clicker  Panopto (came later)
  25. 25.  It IS possible for a large university to move to Sakai in a short amount of time, with a third-party vendor  We recommend hosting initially, or at least have someone come in to help establish the system  Start course migration as soon as possible to allow enough time to identify issues and fixes as needed, as well as communicate changes to faculty  Faculty and students found Sakai self-explanatory and easier to navigate than expected which allowed for simplified training  Determine if course migration is really necessary? - How much will actually be used? (approx. only 10% of our migrated courses were used!) Lessons Learned
  26. 26. QUESTIONS? THANK YOU! Contact Us Loyola University Chicago Instructional Technology and Research Support (ITRS), Jack Corliss – Senior Analyst, Lauree Garvin – Senior Educational Technologist, Sean Ohlinger – Technology Coordinator, Jennifer Tyler – Online Educational Technologist,