UBC’s CMS Steering Committee

After more than a year of planning, meetings and conversations, we’ve established a Steering Committee, as outlined in: New Steering Committee Launched to Guide UBC’s Course Management System .

We have very high hopes for this model. UBC obviously has a special relationship with the course management system. We use WebCT widely, and have built up a lot of internal competency and a sense of ownership of this system. Because WebCT was invented here, though.. the scale and depth of use is not as appreciated as it might be…. this structure will help us tackle that!The Steering Committee model reflects our culture…

We are quite decentralized her at UBC — most of our Faculty units (Agricultural Sciences, Arts, Science, etc.) have a unit that provides instructional/pedagogical and technical support for using technologies – particularly WebCT. We’ve even developed a tool that allow for decentralized administration of the system (See CTConnect, particularly the Help section).

More centrally positioned organizations like the one that runs me (Office of Learning Technology), concentrate on facilitation & coordination, and/or providing unique expertise/services/compentencies (technical systems, faculty development, etc.). It is UBC’s belief that this “decentralized collaborative” model encourages innovation and engages community more effectively than centralized models.

The committee structure reflects a shared ownership that aligns with the culture. Its mandate is:

To ensure our UBC course management system works well for all students, faculty, and staff by making university-wide decisions in consultation with local units.

Note that the committee makes decisions; it is not an advisory group to the IT organization.

This may seem to be a fine distinction, but it is not. Ownership implies both freedom, and responsibility…

Our distinct challenge with this model is communication… ensuring that we are engaging the community, not just informing.

We are focused on the CMS, but I think believe that we are creating a framework that will help us make good decisions about university-wide learning technologies moving forward. Time will tell on that part of the equation…. we have to get the CMS part right first!

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