Deakin University has finalised the migration of its learning management system to the cloud to support an additional 45,000 students learning remotely.
The university had previously hosted its Cloud Campus online learning environment on-premises and underpinned by the Brightspace LMS from D2L.
Director of digital learning, associate professor Chie Adachi, said Deakin was actually the last institution to still be use D2L’s on-premise offerings.
“That allowed us to do different boutique type projects within the environment as well,” Adachi told iTnews.
“But it was really coming to the point where we needed to move to the cloud so that we have seamless release of new features and access to better learning analytics and all of that continuous delivery that would come with a cloud offering.”
“This large and complex project involved migrating 48 TB of course content and safely securing student data to the cloud version of Brightspace – a difficult feat in normal times, a monumental task in the midst of a pandemic.”
While the actual migration was completed over the course of a single weekend in June, right after the end-of-trimester exam period, Adachi said preparations for the move to D2L’s cloud-based LMS began well over a year ago to ensure minimal disruption to the 60,000-strong student cohort.
Teams from across the university’s different teaching and business functions supported the execution of the plan in June, supported by D2L.
At any one time there were 20-30 following the migration, making sure that everything still worked once it had been brought across into the new cloud environment.
Adachi said the breakages were relatively minor and mostly concentrated around links to video components that pointed to locations on the old LMS that didn’t exist in the new environment, all of which were resolved by the time staff and students successfully logged onto the new LMS the following Monday morning.
“This was incredibly gratifying from both a technical and learning experience perspective.
“To deliver on such a large and complex project without any hiccups for our students and staff – on time, on budget and in the middle of the pandemic – is testament to Deakin’s agility and the amount of collective effort that went into it.”
Adachi said that Deakin’s previous successes with its Cloud Campus definitely helped it survive the sudden switch to remote operations when coronavirus lockdowns were put in place.
In particular, having staff that were already experienced in online teaching and a robust digital learning space helped increase student success rates for the previous trimester.
“As an institution we’ve all put a lot of work into supporting our students during the upheaval of the pandemic,” she said.
“We’ve seen student success rates increase by 2 percent on average in Trimester one, which is testament to the hard work our faculties and students have put in.
“Now we’re looking at ways we can use the new platform to further improve our practice through data-driven, evidence-based approaches, and provide premium student experiences that reflect digital-first design.”