This fall, Northern Arizona University will join a group of over 1500 institutions that have adopted Blackboard Learn 9.1 as their learning management system.

In an effort to understand their decision a little better, we met up with Dan Stoffel, Assistant Director of the e-Learning Center at the Northern Arizona University, to talk about his institution’s migration, planning and participation in various upgrade programs.

“We are ahead of schedule by a couple weeks [on our migration]. The University chose Blackboard in late fall of 2010 and since then, we’ve been moving quite quickly to get our courses migrated over to Learn, 9.1.”

–Dan Stoffel, Northern Arizona University

So what kinds of strategies did Northern Arizona University employ to move through their migration so quickly? One resource they managed to call upon was an unlikely one: their students.

“We have student employees doing the bulk of the work on the migrations – that has worked out very well,” remarked Dan. “We’ve got five students working pretty much full time through the summer.”

Watch Dan discuss Northern Arizona University’s LMS Migration to Learn 9.1

In addition to conscripting some of their e-learning population, Dan’s team also participated heavily in the Upgrade Cohort Program, Blackboard Product Development Partnerships and beta testing of some next generation Blackboard systems.

The Upgrade Cohort program, a free series of virtual meetings designed to help institutions plan and execute their Blackboard migration or upgrade, was especially useful to Dan and his team.

“It’s nice to hear from other institutions [in the Upgrade Cohort Program] – what challenges they are encountering and how they’re dealing with those,” Dan explained. “It’s especially good to talk to people out there in the trenches, who maybe have already gone through what you’re about to go through…and sometimes that applies and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s very, very helpful.”

To learn more about the strategies employed by Dan and his team, watch the video interview from BbWorld 2011 and make sure to join the Upgrade Cohort Program to find out ways to efficiently move to the latest Blackboard release.

and make sure to join the Upgrade Cohort Program to find out ways to efficiently move to the latest Blackboard release.

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