September 1st arrived. With that date, students were preparing to move into residence and go back to class, faculty were setting up their courses and the tri-campus was full of life and activity. September 1st also signified a milestone in the Information Technology Services (ITS) division and the rest of the University community – the transition of all courses from Portal to Quercus.
After three years of planning, extensive community consultation and comprehensive training Portal was decommissioned and Quercus went live. The change was significant and it happened without major issues. There were a few minor technical matters and they were promptly addressed by the Quercus team and Instructure, our valued delivery partner. As new issues arise, we will continue to respond and improve the service.
Key to the accomplishment of this initiative was community engagement. People from all areas of the University were consulted, trained and engaged. This effort was truly institution-wide and touched every corner of our three campuses.
Over the course of this project:
- 191 training sessions were lead or co-lead by the Center for Teaching Support and Innovation.
- 109 centrally supported content migration clinics took place.
- Additional training sessions were run by over 60 technical and training leads embedded in 23 divisions.
Over the last 10 months a total of 47 divisional meetings and information sessions took place reaching 833 people. There were 46 departmental meetings with 925 attendees. Regular update emails (20) were sent to 100 key contacts across the U of T.
The project had:
- Six working groups with 50 members
- Six advisory groups
- Six steering committee members
- Six core team members
- 150 key contacts (communications, technical & training and divisional leadership)
The reach of Quercus is significant with over 71,000 students logging into about 4,700 courses, with over 4,500 individuals in instructor roles –all within the first week of classes.
There are still training opportunities available until the end of 2018 and I encourage you to sign up for a webinar.
The word in the community is positive and people are happy with the new tool. In an anonymous survey, early adopters said:
- Much easier to move from one course to another.
- Very clean and easy-to-use.
- Love the syllabus feature and it updates the calendar – and students love the calendar.
Social media comments are optimistic too!
— Neda👻Magh-boo!-leh🎃 (@nedasoc) September 5, 2018
Overall, the move from Portal to Quercus was a success. On October 15th, over 50 project and steering committee members came together to mark the achievement. To learn more about this project visit the website.