Following the successful move of course sites from CTools to Canvas last fall, Information and Technology Services is now helping the campus transition CTools project sites to alternative services.

For more than a decade, the U-M community has used project sites in CTools to store files and collaborate. The increased availability and expanded capabilities of other collaboration tools, combined with declining CTools usage, has led to the plan to retire the service.

“We realize that changes to IT services can be disruptive, particularly for faculty,” says Sean DeMonner, executive director of teaching and learning for ITS. “So, one of our key goals in how we approached this effort was to minimize that as much as possible.”

Through pilot programs with the schools of Public Health and Dentistry, ITS gathered feedback over the spring and summer to fine-tune a process that recognizes the faculty’s need for flexibility and control in how the transition happens.

The result is a self-service tool that allows project site owners to export content when they want and store it locally, or upload it into the platform that best fits their needs for ongoing collaboration and file sharing. Sites that are no longer needed can be easily deleted using the same tool.

ITS will conduct migration clinics on campus this fall to provide one-on-one consultations for site owners who would like additional help. ITS is also working with staff in units across campus to provide support, coordinate communications, and offer additional guidance about services available within the unit.

To supply sufficient time for project site owners to review their sites, explore alternatives and move content, ITS has established a generous timeline for transitioning CTools project sites.

The target date for transitioning all active project sites from CTools is Aug. 31, 2018. However, individual units may choose an earlier date. All historical content in CTools will be available at least through July 1, 2019. The ability to create new sites in CTools was suspended in February.