By Susan Knight, Learning Management System (LMS) Manager

How many of you remember the first day back to school and writing about what you did on your summer vacation? Remember how exciting it was to hear about your classmates’ trips to favorite places? If the Learning Management System (LMS) team wrote about their summer adventure, it would read something like this …

We conducted workshops from June 1 until classes started in August. Faculty could choose if they wanted to teach in WebCat or “take the plunge” to become an early adopter of Blackboard 9.1 for the fall semester. We were thrilled that so many faculty members chose to become early adopters—we now have 799 active course sections in Blackboard for this semester. (To put this number in perspective, we usually average 1,600 course sections in a typical fall semester.) By summer’s end, the LMS team had conducted 44 workshops that were attended by a total of 297 faculty and staff.

The LMS team spent the summer strengthening working partnerships with on- and off-campus entities, too. Moving a university of WCU’s size to a new LMS requires a tremendous amount of hard work, commitment and teamwork—much more than the five-member team could provide on its own. Those who joined us on the journey include the Coulter Faculty Commons staff, who graciously helped with smiles on their faces; IT Help Desk staff, who worked for chocolate; and the Registrar’s Office staff, who experienced an unreasonable increase in e-mails to their inboxes, but never hesitated to help us. We even reached out to our off-campus support, Presidium Learning in Kentucky, who had a rare opportunity to get to know the entire staff of the Coulter Faculty Commons through a video we produced.

Remember the infamous question that kids ask when on a road trip: “Are we there yet?” The answer is no, not yet, but we are off to a successful start. We will continue the migration to Blackboard and the support of both systems (WebCat and Blackboard) until June 2011 when WebCat will be retired. Thanks to all of you who have helped us in getting this far. We look forward to continuing the adventure with you.

For more information on Blackboard 9.1, visit or contact Learning Management System (LMS) Manager Susan Knight at