By: Brian Lesser,
Instructional Technology Architect & Applications Administrator for Library Information Technology Services (LITS), Dalhousie Libraries
At this point in the project, we’ve had a chance to refine our migration processes and thought it would be helpful to describe the process so that instructors have an idea of what to expect as the migration unfolds across the institution in phase 3.
All courses taught in the Spring/Summer 2016 term and onwards will be taught in Brightspace, regardless of Faculty or Department. Upcoming academic course spaces will be developed automatically in Brightspace a few months before the start of each term. All upcoming ‘academic’ course spaces are created as blank spaces, and instructors are able to build from scratch in these spaces if they choose.
There is also the option for instructors to copy content that has been migrated from Blackboard. If an instructor has taught the same course recently on Blackboard, that content will be made available in a separate ‘migrated’ course space for review. If the instructor wishes, they are able to copy some, all, or none of the migrated content directly into their ‘academic’ space. The instructor could also choose to maintain the migrated course space as reference for the next 12 months as they build anew in Brightspace.
The first step in our migration process is for the migration team to take a snapshot of the content of each course to be migrated from Blackboard for each term. These snapshots, or packages, are then transferred to Brightspace to be imported into a ‘migrated’ course space. The behind-the-scenes import process is mostly automated and the content transfers over well, however, student employees still access every migrated course in Brightspace to check for accuracy and consistency.
After the migrated content has been verified, it is returned to the original instructor for their reference or potential reuse. There will be some delay between when the course becomes unavailable on Blackboard as the snapshot is taken, and when access to the content is available for the instructor in Brightspace. We are continually improving our processes to minimize this delay, but in all cases we will ensure that instructors have access to their content a minimum of 3 months prior to the start of the upcoming term.
When choosing which courses to migrate automatically, we are referring to the academic timetable to determine when a course was last taught in Blackboard and whether it will be offered by the same instructor in Brightspace. We will also be able to migrate courses on request if a course is not taught every year or if an instructor normally teaches a course but will not be teaching it this year and wants their content migrated for reference or future reuse. If an instructor wishes to share their content with an instructor teaching an upcoming offering, please notify firstname.lastname@example.org, with authorization to release the content, so that we can include the course in the bulk migration.
An important note to consider in the migration is that no user or student generated material is brought into Brightspace. For example, the migration process will not include past grades, discussion postings, assignment submissions, quiz statistics, usage reports, etc. These items must be archived separately and maintained by the individual instructor, if desired. Instructions on how to archive this user/student material will be communicated shortly.