As we explained in our article in April 2020, IT Services and the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) have been reviewing plans to retire WebLearn - the old Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) - for teaching and learning, and eventually to decommission it entirely.
WebLearn for teaching and learning
The coronavirus pandemic has meant that WebLearn has seen increased use, particularly for open book exams. There was also concern that the additional workload involved in responding to the crisis would mean that some courses would not manage to move away from WebLearn as planned.
However, thanks to the on-going efforts of departments across the University to move to Canvas, we believe that all programmes of study, except a few previously agreed cases in Medical Sciences, are intending to move their current teaching out of WebLearn by January 2021. Whilst content in WebLearn will still need to be accessed by students who started their courses before the move to Canvas began, we are in a position to be able to stop supporting WebLearn for ongoing teaching and learning by the end of 2020.
WebLearn for other uses
Those using WebLearn for other activities will continue to be supported until summer 2021 but are strongly encouraged to look at alternatives and switch over as soon as possible. For many online activities, such as collaborating and communicating, Nexus365 Teams is a good option. SharePoint Online, the new cloud-based version of SharePoint, will be available from Michaelmas term, towards the end of 2020, and will be a good alternative for intranets and for sharing documents across the University and with external users.
Next steps and further information
WebLearn will continue to be used for open book exams and coursework submission through Michaelmas term, with alternative solutions planned for launch next year.
Plans for decommissioning WebLearn will be reviewed at the end of 2020, as new tools become available, and we will provide an update then.
Further information and support: