From Portal to Quercus: By The Numbers

Overall Summary

Every year around this time, we take stock of the past year’s activities. With that in mind, I thought it would be a good opportunity to have a look at the Portal to Quercus transition by the numbers.

When we set out, our target was to have approximately 5,000 active courses for Fall term and 10,000 by the end of the Winter term, As of March 24, 2019 on Quercus there are:

  • 13,790 published courses
  • 94,214 active students
  • 5,195 active instructors

We also set out to make all previously integrated tools available in Quercus, and as of the end of March we have:

  • All 21 external tool integrations migrated from Portal to Quercus
  • 3 UT-created applications were re-developed for Quercus (UTAGT, UTOMR, UTGET)

Content Migration

In addition to courses on Quercus, we also set in motion a plan to help with the migration of content.

  • Eleven Content Migration Assistants were hired during the Toolbox Renewal Project to assist instructors and Divisional staff with training and supporting content migration from Portal to Quercus
  • After working closely with divisional colleagues, for the vast majority of instructors and departments, course shells were re-built from scratch, rather than using automated or semi-automated migration tools. While those tools remained an option, it was generally felt that, pedagogically, re-building made more sense, and that was consistent with other schools’ experiences. Nonetheless, all courses were archived for cases where an instructor might have missed the deadline to export their content from Portal.
  • We also put on a number of related events, including Clinics, Sessions, Support Resources and Presentations:
    • Central Content Migration Clinics offered: 30
    • Divisional and Departmental Information Sessions: 12
    • Divisional Migration Clinics: 75
    • Online guides with step-by-step instructions, matrix, FAQs and an instructional video with 2,251 views as of March 27, 2019 posted on the Toolbox Renewal website and Quercus Support Resources site.
    • Scheduled consultations: approximately 15. Faculty and staff were directed to attend the clinics.
    • U of T Event Presentations open to the Community (e.g., Quercus Day: all 3 campuses, TKF 2018, CTSI Teaching & Learning Symposium 2019 – Quercus Table)

In addition to courses, we also identified more than 2400 Portal (Blackboard) Organizations or “org” shells being used on Portal (these are similar to course shells, but with a different metaphor and manual creation). A great deal of effort went into identifying the ownership and purposes for those shells, including:

  • 455 Medicine
  • 445 FAS
  • 201 Engineering
  • 197 UTM
  • 190 OISE
  • 158 UTSC

The effort to identify the pedigree of the org shells included exporting and saving the content for the owners when requested. In the end:

  • 74% of Orgs were deleted
  • 10% of Orgs became course shells on Quercus
  • 6% of Orgs became MS Team
  • 10% to other non-enterprise systems (such as divisional SharePoint instances, for example)

Note: MS Teams was rolled out simultaneously as a service for non-group course collaboration.