Scaffold Migration

Goodwin University

Goodwin University Calls K16 ‘Amazing Investment’ during AI-Enabled Transfer from Blackboard to Canvas.

Scaffold Migration is an Amazing Investment

Founded in 1999, Goodwin serves its 3,300 students with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes. The median age of students is 29, nearly two-thirds transfer from another institution, and 61% are the first generation to attend college. Based in East Hartford, Connecticut, the university has gold status as a military-friendly school. With 85 full-time instructional faculty, Goodwin has three schools: arts and social sciences; business, technology, and advanced manufacturing; and nursing and health professions. Nearly 70% of Goodwin’s degrees are conferred in health and clinical related professions.

Goodwin transitioned from Blackboard to Canvas after acquiring many of the academic programs of the University of Bridgeport, which used Canvas. As part of the innovative partnership, Goodwin wanted to use one learning management system for the two institutions. With a small staff to start with, the merger prompted some staff reassignments, reducing the number of employees able to work on the migration. K16 Solutions leveraged its deep knowledge of learning management systems and used its proprietary software to migrate 500 courses accurately and within the university’s desired structure while saving Goodwin money as well.


Content-Heavy Courses

Classes in Goodwin’s health sciences program use a lot of space, all of which had to be migrated completely and accurately. “Faculty don’t want to whittle down because they like to have everything,” said Kathryn Jensen, instructional designer at Goodwin. “The kitchen sink is in there in some of these courses. A lot of content is put willy-nilly, wherever.” Goodwin’s team worried it could spend hours uploading a course to Canvas and later discover the transfer was incomplete because there was too much content.

Limited Staff Resources

Only seven employees would be available to work on Goodwin’s migration to Canvas. To handle all aspects of a migration would have been too taxing for the small department. Plus, staff from the two universities were new to working together.

Mandate for Consistency

A top priority for Goodwin was ensuring the courses had an identical structure in Canvas to make navigation easy for students. The university mandated the use of master shells, or templates, in Blackboard, so a class in nursing looked the same as a business course. But not every instructor followed the mandate fully, so the transfer needed to fix these discrepancies.

”They kept the flow going because they know their business. They’ve done this before, and we have not. It would have been utter chaos moving the stuff over by ourselves.”

– Lisa Manley, Director Online Studies


Goodwin’s team said overtime pay would have been a given without K16’s automated Scaffold Migration service to help on the migration. With the small staff and the extra work of merging with another university, Goodwin’s team could not have completed the transfer to Canvas alone. “K16 was an amazing investment. We saved a lot of time. We actually saved money because we didn’t have to hire people to come in and do additional work for us, or pay us to work a ton of overtime,” said Jensen. Lisa Manley, Director Online Studies and Center for Teaching Excellence, estimated Goodwin would have spent at least three times K16’s fee for overtime pay. “It was definitely worth the investment,” she said. “It gave the team time to do other things.”

K16 began with a pilot run to transfer 150 courses. Pleased with the results, K16’s work was extended to migrate 500 courses. Leveraging its experience and innovative software, K16 developed a flow to address Goodwin’s desire for all courses to be identical structurally and ensure classes were migrated without error. ”They kept the flow going because they know their business. They’ve done this before, and we have not. It would have been utter chaos moving the stuff over by ourselves,” said Manley, who believes the migration would have been delayed at least one semester without K16.

K16’s services also reduced the stress level. “We would have been in this crunch time from the word go, and K16 dramatically reduced the crunch time we did see,” Jensen said. Aside from the cost of overtime, the Goodwin team was able to spend time with family during the summer of migration. “K16’s contribution to this transition was priceless to us,” said Manley.


Completeness, Consistency Delivered

With Goodwin needing all courses to look the same, K16 had to create a structure that would work in Canvas even when the classes being migrated from Blackboard weren’t all uniform. When something deviated from the Blackboard shell, K16 sometimes had to add a page or make other adjustments to fit the new structure in Canvas. They ensured the completeness of each class, crammed with content, as it landed in Canvas. “They helped in getting stuff over that was too big, that would have taken us forever,” said Manley. Faculty members were pleased. “They’re happy,” said Jensen, “I have faculty who have these amazing ta-da moments.”

Process Flowed Easily

Goodwin was merging with Bridgeport as the migration was being planned and executed, adding extra stress to the team. With a three-semester calendar, Goodwin is also busier than many universities in the summer, when the transfer happened. K16 created a smooth process throughout the project. “Consistency was important,” said Jensen. “In this craziness, we knew there was a sounding board and a calm path we could walk down. K16 was that calm path.”

Open Communication

Goodwin described K16 as very responsive with strong communication skills. ”Their customer service is amazing, they are easy to work with,” said Manley. “They really listen to your needs and work with you in finding the right solution for what you need to get done.” K16’s team was open to Goodwin’s thought process throughout the project.

“K16’s crew made this easy. They were there, every step of the way, and so responsive.”

– Kathryn Jensen, Instructional Designer