ITS has announced that the final step in the multi-year process to decommission CTools will take place on July 1, 2019 when the platform will be retired and content will no longer be accessible. For more than a decade, the U-M community had used CTools for learning management, file sharing and storage, project collaboration, and research support.
The decision to retire CTools was prompted by several factors:
- The successful implementation of Canvas in 2016 as the university’s learning management system
- The availability and expanded capabilities of other collaboration tools, such as Google and Box
- Increased security risks and ongoing maintenance costs for the aging and redundant CTools platform
The long road to retirement
Since launching Canvas, the university has gradually reduced reliance on and access to CTools by first turning off the ability to create new sites, which happened in February, 2017. After developing, testing, and piloting various content migration approaches, the ITS CTools team released a self-service tool in the late summer of 2017.
“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 whole effort was to minimize that as much as possible by giving site owners maximum flexibility and control to move content and delete old CTools sites on their own schedule.”
ITS supported and encouraged site migrations and deletions with direct outreach to site owners, a project website with detailed documentation, and both live and online training and instruction. In September, 2018 all CTools sites became read-only: site content could be viewed and downloaded, but not modified.
The last mile
Over the next several months, ITS will carry on with its outreach activities and support for those who wish to retain content from remaining CTools sites. Direct communications and instructions to site owners about managing their site content—which have been ongoing since September, 2017—will continue. Site owners should first review their sites, then:
- Delete sites that are no longer needed.
- Use the self-service tool to download site content and migrate it to another platform or save it in a location of their choosing.
- Use the Convert2Canvas request form to have a site moved to Canvas. (This option should only be used for instructional sites. Canvas is designed for teaching and learning so might not be the best option for collaborating on projects.)