BCcampus Continues to Grow Shared Services for the Province’s Higher-ed Institutions

At BCcampus we pioneered shared educational technology services in higher education, starting with a Shared Services Task Force in 2005. Its report, titled Recommendations to the BCcampus Task Force: Systemic Support for the Delivery of Online Courses in British Columbia (Ambler, 2006), outlined opportunities and barriers to providing educational services across B.C. post-secondary institutions.

Since 2006, in response to the report and requests from the post-secondary sector, BCcampus has spearheaded many shared educational service models in campuses across British Columbia, providing support for aggregation of software licensing, hosting, technical services, communities of practices, and participatory governance models for these instructional systems. These include:

  • WebCT learning management system (LMS)
  • Moodle: (LMS)
  • Desire2Learn: LMS
  • Adobe Connect: web conferencing
  • Blackboard Collaborate: web conferencing
  • Osler Systems medical billing software
  • Question Point: (AskAway library reference service)
  • eTutoring System: (WriteAway tutoring service)
  • Kaltura: user-generated video distribution and LMS integration
  • SOLR: Equella-based digital library software
  • Pressbooks: Open source system for writing an publishing open textbooks

implementation diagramThe growth of these services continues, and we add additional software systems every year (i.e. Canvas LMS), based on environmental scans and other needs expressed by our partner institutions.

Deloitte’s Administrative Service Delivery Transformation (February 2013) report to the Ministry of Advanced Education highlighted the existing collaborations and sharing of services that provide the ability for B.C.’s post-secondary institutions to deliver high-quality service more effectively. The report also indicated the further potential for shared services in the province’s higher education sector.

BCcampus was recommended in this report at the Tier 1 level, where the estimated benefits are the clearest and the implementation is considered most feasible. We didn’t think the recommendations went far enough in painting the opportunity picture for shared services for instructional delivery and support systems. We have presented our enhanced version of the shared service opportunity outlined in the Deloitte report (see the graphic below).

Currently, BCcampus is exploring the next phase of educational shared service delivery with institutional partners and BCNET. BCcampus hopes to capitalize on BCNET’s strengths in networking and licensing, and our demonstrated expertise in supporting the educational aspects of evaluating, implementing instructional systems, and facilitating the needs of a community of professionals who turn those same shared software systems into educational opportunities for B.C.’s students both on and off campus.