Selection of a Course Management System for Central Support
Charles E. Frazier, Vice Provost for Information Technology
The value of Course Management Systems (CMS) is very clear and we are seeking ways to assure high quality products and service. Over the last several years UF units have adopted a number of different systems, requiring different contractual agreements, hardware platforms, and support infrastructure. Because the total cost of ownership associated with use of multiple systems has increased dramatically, particularly in licensing agreements, I charged the OIT-AT with selecting a single platform for central support. This charge is in alignment with the President’s UF Strategic Plan imperatives aimed at ensuring adequate and scalable infrastructure, improving support capacity, and is justified as a cost containment measure. OIT-AT formed and passed on the mandate to make recommendations regarding: (1) The selection of a single course management (CMS) vendor, (2) the central support infrastructure required for sustaining high quality services, and (3) a recommendations leading to a plan for migration of materials, for faculty using a CMS other than the one selected, into the new system.
During a 10 month deliberation period ending in July 2003, the committee conducted surveys, read and discussed relevant white papers, investigated existing systems and resources in place, studied practices at similar institutions, interviewed vendors and deliberated at length and in depth on features, ease of use, user issues (faculty and students), hardware, human resources and total cost of ownership. And as a result of this process, the committee recommended the adoption WebCT Vista 2.0 as the centrally supported CMS for the University of Florida. Additional recommendations were made for staffing, support, migration issues, training, and integration to ufbridges. A complete copy of the report can be found at http://grove.ufl.edu/~cmsag/cms_recommendation.pdf
I agree with the committee’s recommendations and have instructed Dr. Zazueta and the OIT-AT to proceed with the recommended actions. WebCT will be the single centrally supported CMS. Those who wish to migrate their course materials from another CMS to WebCT should contact Learning Support Systems at 392-2007 or firstname.lastname@example.org. OIT-AT offers training for the currently installed version of WebCT. Information and registration are available at http://www.citt.ufl.edu/training/ . OIT-AT will also soon announce training sessions for the new WebCT Vista system.