A Growing University Deploys LMS in the Cloud

After utilizing their current LMS for less than five years, the current platform was not going to be supported by the vendor after this calendar year. Darby Consulting was utilized to conduct requirements gathering, vendor selection and overall implementation of the new system due to the expedited schedule of getting more than 1500 courses ready for instruction in a 12-month window. The university provides instruction onsite, online, and through regional sites. The online branch of the institution utilizes a cohort model with non-standard terms, meaning courses begin on a rolling basis, nearly every day of the week. This added an additional level of complexity to the implementation efforts as the school had a goal of providing access to the new system as soon as possible for the online students.

Project Description

Darby Consulting conducted requirements gathering sessions onsite and through a series of virtual sessions. The requirements were then utilized to determine which vendors should be reviewed for selection. The team led the university through the selection efforts. and then created a detailed project plan to transition the institution from one system to the other seamlessly. The consultants managed the migration and conversion of more than 1500 courses into the new system, and completed quality checks on more than 800 of the courses before the schools reviewed and approved the courses. A full communications plan was executed, implementing the creation of a team of dedicated communications liaisons to assist with the sharing of project information. The team held monthly town hall meetings to share project progress and updates to the entire university community to ensure transparency of the project beyond those involved in the project. A detailed training plan was executed providing in-person and online training opportunities for system users.

Results & Benefits

The project was completed on-time with cost savings exceeding $500,000 from original budget. Members of the Darby team worked with the university's instructional designers to provide a new framework for two of their largest online programs taking their courses to the next level utilizing features provided in the new system as a value add to the project. The original project plan slated all online courses beginning in the new system in January and we were able to modify the schedule to deliver access to courses in the new system as early as August.

Given stakeholder engagement is key, a team of communication liaisons was implemented providing the campus with a team of dedicated individuals tasked with sharing updates and messages about the project progress to the campus community. This was coupled with monthly town hall meetings lead by the communications lead, providing a venue for updates, questions and progress reporting to all constituencies. At a wrap-up meeting, a member of the communications team cited that the campus had used steering committees before, but had never put together an integrated team of people focused on communicating project efforts before, and they found it to be extremely beneficial.

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