University beginning next phase of project to retire CTools


This semester marked a major milestone for teaching and learning at U-M: All course sites moved from CTools to Canvas, a more capable system that has earned praise from faculty and students.

But the work is not done yet.

Information and Technology Services is now shifting its focus to decommissioning CTools Project Sites by late 2017.

Project sites, commonly used for file storage, research support, and collaboration, account for more than half of the content stored on CTools. Although about 60,000 such sites exist today, less than 10 percent of them were accessed in the past year.

“Use of CTools Project Sites continues to decline — likely the result of several newer collaboration tools being available to campus. Most people find that tools like U-M Google and U-M Box better meet their needs,” said Sean DeMonner, executive director of ITS Teaching & Learning.

In a pilot that starts this fall, several academic and administrative units will use a tool developed by ITS to move content out of CTools and into Box and Google.

Beginning in December, new CTools Project Sites can only be created upon request to the ITS Service Center. In February, the ability to create a new project site will be disabled completely.

Take Action Now:
Delete Obsolete Project Sites

If you no longer need your project site contents, ITS encourages you to delete them:

1. Log in to CTools. Click My Workspace in the top navigation.

2. Click Worksite Setup in the left menu.

3. Click the box next to the sites you wish to delete. NOTE: You can only delete sites you created or own.

4. Click Delete at the top of the window.

Early next spring and into fall 2017, ITS will bulk migrate project site resources to Box. Site owners will also have access to self-service tools to download their content, have their site deleted, or request their content not be bulk migrated.

Owners of training sites may request their content be moved to Canvas. Training and help guides will aid in the transition.

ITS is working with Migration Champions in each unit to provide support. Migration Champions determine when their unit migrates and partner with ITS to communicate and provide training.

“Any large-scale change requires support from many individuals across our campus,” DeMonner said. “Canvas was a success due in large part to our partnerships with individuals in each school and college. We plan to use a similar model as we move project sites to other solutions.”



  1. Johannes Schwank
    on October 26, 2016 at 7:53 am

    C-tools Project Sites are used for teaching short courses abroad, and C-tools project sites allow to use Assignments and Gradebook. These features are not available on Box or Google. Assignments and Gradebook features on Canvas require the students to be registered at UM. So, is there a viable alternative for this use of C-tools project sites to deal with students who are not UM enrolled?

    • Jennifer Love
      on October 26, 2016 at 8:52 am

      Hi Johannes,

      Canvas can indeed be used these types of short courses so that you can take advantage of the Assignments and Gradebook features. You may request a Canvas site through the ITS Service Center ([email protected]) or your Unit Canvas Contact (

      Once your course is created, just like with CTools, students who are not U-M enrolled can be added to courses with U-M Friend accounts through the Canvas Course Manager.

  2. Kierstin Fiscus
    on October 26, 2016 at 8:57 am

    What are the plans for the project sites that are not used as file storage, but rather as courses for people who may not be registered students, such as postdoctoral research fellows? Will Canvas have an equivalent tool where we’ll be able to post assignments, readings, and grades?

    • Jennifer Love
      on October 26, 2016 at 9:23 am

      Hi Kierstin,

      For CTools project sites that are used as courses, Canvas would be the best alternative as it allows you to post readings and assignments, give quizzes, and grade student work. You may request a Canvas site through the ITS Service Center ([email protected]) or your Unit Canvas Contact (

      Once your course is created, just like with CTools, people who are not registered students can be added to courses with their uniqname or with their U-M Friend accounts through the Canvas Course Manager.

  3. M Jessup
    on October 26, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Does U-M Google and/or U-M Box offer an announcement front page similar cTools, as well as, document storage? This feature offered a way to list meeting schedules, instruct project participants where documents are located, as well as, other project announcements.

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