Last year I attended my first D2L Fusion conference. It was only 2 weeks after we signed the contract. This year we thought it was important to present our project of changing to Brightspace.
In Februari we did a pilot with one of our faculties, in September we go live with all other faculties. Brightspace will be our one and only Collaboration & Learning Environment (CLE). (Blackboard will stay available as archive).
In my presentation I presented five lessons learned. One I want to highlight: It's Education!
From the start of this project we have approached the project as an education project and not what I see at other universities as IT project. This means that our Director of Education is in the lead, the project is strongly connected to the academic leadership in the faculties and our strategy is focused on improving education.
When there is a strong focus on education, decision making is less focused on IT issues (there will always be IT issues). It is about how the CLE support our education and the learning process of our students.
This focus also made us choose for mandatory course structure for all courses. Technology this wasn't necessary, but from the perspective of our students it was a solution to their biggest complaints: "I don't know where to find certain information in my course. Every course is organised in a different way".
Only education and learning
Blackboard has been used for all different kind of activities, as a portal, for software distribution, communities for research projects and many more. In 17 years people find a lot of different ways to use the system for not intended purposes. With our clear focus on education, we have decided to be very strict: the CLE is only for education and learning. Our number of organisations is cut by 90% because of this. New courses and organisations need to be approved by the faculty managers Education & Student Affairs. They are made responsible for this.
Here the full slides of my presentations