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American Higher Education in Crises book cover

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Books are available for pre-purchase for $16.95 (+tax). 
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Conference Program now posted! This year's line-up includes:


OLC Excellence and Effective Practice Award Recipients Announced


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Join Keynoters Goldie Blumenstyck (Chronicle of Higher Education) and Phil Hill and Michael Feldstein (MindWires Consulting)

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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

A Vision for Migration At Oregon State University Ecampus: If We Move It, We Improve It

Shannon Riggs (Oregon State University, USA)
Dorothy Loftin (Oregon State University - Ecampus, USA)
Erica Curry (Oregon State University, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 3:45pm
Faculty and Professional Development & Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Northern Hemisphere A4
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 4

Don't just survive your LMS migration É capitalize on the change to make wide-scale quality improvements.

Extended Abstract

Migration to a new LMS is perhaps the most dreaded, conflict-ridden, and stressful transition a distance education department can make. Given the right vision, staffing support, and planning, though, it's also a unique opportunity to make significant wide-scale quality improvements in a relatively short period of time.

Oregon State University Ecampus, recipient of the 2014 OLC Award for Excellence in Faculty Development for Online Teaching, began the migration from Blackboard to Canvas in Summer 2014 with a simple, but ambitious, vision: "If we move it, we improve it." This vision was ambitious, given that we serve over 15,000 students and work with about 600 very busy faculty members each year. When the Ecampus Course Development and Training unit saw that our nearly 1000 online courses would need to 4-20 hours of hands-on work in order to migrate successfully from Bb to Canvas, we decided to use the opportunity to make wide-scale quality improvements at the same time. If every course needed to be touched, we wanted to make improvements while we were there.

What specifically did we envision quality improvement to look like? We knew this would vary from course to course and instructor to instructor, but there were two goals we could apply across the board: Every course would use a template based upon Quality Matters standards, and we could drive up Canvas training completion by designing a Canvas training that instructors wanted to attend.

The results? At the time of submitting this proposal, we are halfway through our four-term migration period. Our associate provost and the university's chief information officer keep saying, "We can't believe how smoothly this is all going." Faculty are also routinely noting the ease of the experience and satisfaction with Canvas.

Beyond anecdotes, though, are some good, hard numbers that demonstrate the success of our migration efforts: Of the approximately 600 instructors who partner with Ecampus annually, at the halfway point, 300 have already completed a migration workshop (over 100 of those in our first month, December). We started with 270 of our nearly 1000 courses using a QM-based template in Bb, and by the end of the year, virtually 100% of our online courses will be using a QM-based template in Canvas. If not for the opportunity to touch every course that migration provided, we would not have been able to go from 270 to 1000 in one year.

Other stats of interest include our first term voluntary early adopter rate of 20%, and our second term 70% adoption rate, both of which were higher than on-campus course adoption rates.

We would love the opportunity to share the key strategies in our approach:
?Starting with a clear vision beyond survival.
?Coordinating and sharing information with campus-based academic technology support staff.
?Internal training of instructional designers and student workers, including an online migration training for student workers.
?Designing a QM-based template for all online courses.
?Surveying leadership in academic units regarding faculty preferences for training formats and discovering concerns about the pending migration.
?Designing a flipped model for our training, including pre-workshop tutorials and open lab time to work on courses with tech support help standing by.
?Employing a training format that encouraged participation by attaching a hard-to-resist "carrot." That is, student worker assistance on preliminary prep work of courses described in a 6 minute video on what migrating a course entails, simultaneously showing how much work was involved and how much Ecampus would do for faculty, if they attended our training session.
?Employing a team-based training approach, with teams of two instructional designers leading the trainings in alternating weeks to spread the training load and establish expertise throughout our team.
?Offering small course redevelopment grants for faculty wishing to make small-scale course content improvements, in addition to migrating content. (We routinely offer course development/redevelopment funding, but we opened up a narrower opportunity for smaller grants and smaller-scale updates during the migration period.)
?Offering course "audits" to help faculty double-check their courses for potential issues before they go live.

We are very pleased with the smoothness of our LMS migration, that our relationships with faculty members remained strong or became stronger during the process, and that we were able to make significant quality improvements to our online courses, all within a one-year migration period.