The steering committee has decided that data currently on TeleTOP will soon be manually transferred to Blackboard. In the next few weeks, the Blackboard project group will plan how to provide support to the academic staff during this transfer of courses from TeleTOP to Blackboard.
An important part of the move to Blackboard, which requires special attention, is the migration of data from TeleTOP. Of course the project group wants to ensure that this process takes as little time and energy as possible for academic staff. Therefore over the last few months, the project group has researched whether courses and other data can be transfer automatically from TeleTOP to Blackboard.
However Karen Slotman, on behalf of the project group, said “Our conclusion was clear: do not even begin. Writing a script that could transfer data automatically would be extremely complicated and time consuming. It would only be worth it if there were grantees that it would work perfectly, and we have no such guarantee. And if there were errors, then of course academic staff would have to check and correct all their data”.
In addition to the technical issues, the construction of the different systems is also a part of the problem. “In TeleTOP all information is connected to timetables, but Blackboard has a different organizational structure. So this further complicates the automatic transfer of data from one system to the other”.
From June 2009, academic staff can start setting up their courses in Blackboard. The project group is currently working on creating a plan to support the academic staff during this transfer of data from TeleTOP. Karen Slotman said, “We are now figuring out for each faculty how much work this will be. And it is from this that we are creating a support plan. Academic staff must soon be able to call on people who can help with the transfer of data”.” In April, the plan will be ready, and then Academic staff will be able to register for workshops in May and June that will enable help them fully understand this new e-learning environment.