Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, July 12, 2010

CTools positioned for expansion

U-M’s largest collaboration application for teaching and learning, CTools, is benefiting from a renewed focus on its support.

On July 1 the Digital Media Commons (DMC) CTools Implementation Group (CTIG) staff became part of Information and Technology Services (ITS). While the move directly affects only nine full-time employees, it sets the stage for expanding the CTools application team and adding new functionality.

Previously, support staff for CTools divided between DMC and ITS. In the new environment, production support will be entirely within ITS, while DMC still will be involved in developing new tools and enhancements.

“Now that CTools is so widely adopted and critical to U-M’s mission, we believe that it should be supported as a campuswide production system,” says Paul Courant, university librarian and dean of the libraries.

John Gohsman, executive director of applications and information services in ITS, now is responsible for CTools.

“Last year’s formation of ITS opened the doors for enhancing the ongoing support CTools needs,” Gohsman says. “With the entire team under one organization, campus will realize a number of benefits such as new capabilities to analyze student outcomes, support services through 4-HELP, better integration with the infrastructure and improved project management.”

Gohsman says the cross-functional IT governance committee led by Deborah Ball, dean of the School of Education, also will improve the support for CTools. “Having the entire CTools team in one organization and more aligned with campus needs under Deborah will ultimately result in CTools better serving faculty, staff and student needs,” Gohsman says.

CTools began as part of a landmark venture led by U-M, known as the Sakai project. It became the model for higher education open-source efforts and originally was funded by the Mellon Foundation. More than 100 of the world’s top universities now support Sakai.