Friday, 09 October 2020 17:14

Deakin migrates LMS to cloud


As part of transitioning its more than 60,000 students to online learning, Deakin University migrated its Brightspace-based learning management system (LMS) to the cloud.

Deakin's Cloud Campus digital campus includes the CloudDeakin online learning environment, which in turn is built on the Brightspace LMS.

"Prior to COVID-19, about 25 per cent of our learners were already in our Cloud Campus but the pandemic forced the rest of our students and teachers to transition their blended learning experience to wholly online learning and teaching, said associate professor and director of digital learning Chie Adachi.

Prior to the pandemic, Deakin had planned to migrate Brightspace from on premises to the cloud, but "Undertaking such a significant transition while all of our students and teachers were heavily relying on our core platform was something we couldn't have foreseen when we began planning the migration years ago. The stakes were high," she said.

"This large and complex project involved migrating 48TB 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."

But the migration was completed over one weekend in June, immediately after a two-week exam period.

All students and staff able to successfully log in on the following Monday.

"There was close collaboration across the University and beyond. [Brightspace vendor] D2L and Deakin's highly talented, cross-disciplinary project team, drawn from faculties and divisions, worked together to ensure it went smoothly. It was a real partnership evidenced in how responsive Deakin's project team and D2L were to any issues that arose and trouble-shooting on the fly throughout the migration," said Adachi.

Advantages of the cloud version of Brightspace include learning analytics, continuous delivery, and interoperability with third-party software.

"As an institution we've all put a lot of work into supporting our students during the upheaval of the pandemic. We've seen student success rates increase by two per cent on average in Trimester 1, 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," said Adachi.

D2L APAC regional director Tony Maguire said "Deakin University is a trail-blazer in providing a signature digital learning experience that puts student engagement, experience, and – ultimately – success at its core.

"COVID-19 changed entire industries overnight, but it shook higher education to its core and demanded a rapid transformation. Deakin was already ahead of the curve, and now they're poised for a digital future as bright as those of its students."

Image: Bob T via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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