How Do I Fly This Thing?


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Strategic Planning for High-Level Learning Platform Performance and Organizational Structure in Desire2Learn. Presented July 2006, FUSION, D2L's Users Conference, Guelph, ON

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How Do I Fly This Thing?

  1. 1. How Do I Fly This Thing? Strategic Planning for High-Level Learning Platform Performance and Organizational Structure Kyle Mackie Cory Gaber eLearning Program Client Project Manager Manager
  2. 2. Quick intro – Kyle • eLearning Program Manager – Technical support team, development and maintenance of websites – Training Instructors on D2L platform – Maintaining DOME – Setting Roles and Permissions – Main contact with D2L – “legacy client” (6+ years)
  3. 3. Quick intro – Cory • Client Project Manager – Client’s face of D2L, and D2L’s face of that client. – Key responsibilities: • Project Management • Scheduling and overview • Ensuring overall client satisfaction • “legacy employee” (2+ years)
  4. 4. The Players • D2L Administrator • Client Project Manager • Implementation Service Consultant
  5. 5. What is strategic planning? • A road map for D2L bliss • Clear end results vs. current reality • Involves both short and long term planning Note: D2L system is configurable and can adapt to almost any business model
  6. 6. Life Cycle of a Client • Implementation phase (Phase I) – setup and configuration of the D2L website • Maintenance phase (Phase II) – system can be tweaked to minimize administration, maximize performance, and improve overall user satisfaction
  7. 7. Org Structure • Virtual structure of your business model in D2L • Defined in the DOME tool and defined by Org Units. • Org Units, the basic building blocks – Semesters, Departments, Cohorts, Groups, Schools… – Whatever you can think of….
  8. 8. Sample Organization Hierarchy
  9. 9. My Courses widget • How Org units are displayed to users • Can display up to two different org unit levels – For eg -> Semester -> Department -> Course offering. • Course offering is always the base layer
  10. 10. My Courses widget
  11. 11. DOME • D2L Organization Management Environment • Manages configuration variables • Displays the hierarchal structure of the Organization • Not the big hairy monster it first seems
  12. 12. DOME
  13. 13. What else to consider? How much time do you have? • Hardware • Scalability • Performance • New Products • New Projects • Metrics • Org Structure
  14. 14. Why worry about Org Structure? A solid, well-thought out organizational structure is fundamental because it sets the parameters for everything you need to do. It’s your home. Once established, tools can be customized, roles and permissions set, users enrolled, templates created, courses developed.
  15. 15. Office of Open Learning, UofG • MBA • MA • University of Guelph DE • Equine Courses • Horticulture Certificates • University of Guelph-Humber • Diploma in Agricultural Communications • General Portal • a couple “on-hold” or “in-waiting”
  16. 16. Defining the Mothership • The more you know at the outset instead of “should have told you earlier” basis • Regular meetings • Regular review • D2L admin tends to be an intersection of a lot of information • Ask a lot of questions
  17. 17. Defining the Mothership • Name • Audience • URL • Departments, Other Groupings • Branding, Logos • Courses – course codes • Timing • Tools needed and what they should be called • Roles needed and what they should be called • Documentation and Shared Resources
  18. 18. DE Org Structure DE departments semesters course templates course offerings groups sections
  19. 19. DE Org Structure
  20. 20. MBA Org Structure MBA course cohorts semesters templates course offerings groups sections
  21. 21. Org Structure Once that’s all set and you’re up and running, you will, chances are good, encounter courses which don’t quite fit the mold, and will either need to change the nature of how your org is set up, or create a new org.
  22. 22. The Good, The Bad • New Audience • New Tools with new configurations • Shared forums, surveys etc. not applicable • New Roles with new permissions • Administration of program • Existing information, helpfiles, orientation files, etc. not applicable • Existing structures don’t jive with new courses • Different branding • “(insert name here) wants it that way”
  23. 23. “uber org” vs. multiple orgs • Configurable at various levels • Management of the individual parts as part of the whole or as individual parts? • Flexibility?
  24. 24. Managing Change • The key is that if the org structure is not set up properly – Confusion – Difficulty in maintenance and upgrading – Less possibility to customize to meet the needs of the course – Less than wonderful learning/teaching experience
  25. 25. Managing Change – ESL/Generalportal • ESL org • Three courses, potentially more • Separate login page, separate design work, separate help forums, unique roles • Low enrollments, uncertain offerings • Considerable overhead
  26. 26. Managing Change - ESL/Generalportal • One-offs and special scenarios • Departments – ESL, Grad • Separate structures, separate branding • Generic login page, helpfiles • Customization at the department and course offering level • Testing and showcase possibilities
  27. 27. Managing Change - Equine • Six courses as part of a certificate • All supporting documentation, login pages, resources, at the org level • Introducing new departments, change in shared resources
  28. 28. Managing Change – Justice Studies • Sub-set of courses from an existing organization • Users take courses in existing org • Potential solution – department homepage • Issues – shared resources, login page, etc
  29. 29. Recommendations • Keep it simple • General, within reason • Work with existing structures • The ultimate goal • Separate information from content • Talk to D2L – They give good advice! • Don’t fear change!
  30. 30. Recommendations After the initial implementation of the system, revisit the organizational structure, roles, security permissions, or other learning platform configurations. It is important to reevaluate these needs on a regular basis, as configuration changes may be warranted.