Pilot phase assesses significant upgrade to SmartSite

Information and Educational Technology is conducting a focused pilot program to test the significant changes for SmartSite conditionally scheduled for installation in mid-December.

SmartSite is the online course-management and collaboration system used by most of the Davis campus. The changes include an upgrade to version 2.6 of the underlying Sakai open-source software; new software tools; better resource materials; and the transfer of system hosting and maintenance to rSmart, a leading commercial affiliate of Sakai. Previously, SmartSite has been maintained by the campus.

Most users won't notice any change beyond the upgrade, because SmartSite will continue to be managed and supported on campus. The service will look and feel much like it does now.

"Discovery sessions" that present the upgrade and collect comments are scheduled on most Wednesdays this quarter through Dec. 9. An open forum sponsored by the Campus Council for Information Technology has been scheduled for 3:30-5 p.m. Nov. 17 in room 3001 of Plant & Environmental Services (PES). All faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend. Find more information, including previous communications and an FAQ, at smartsite.ucdavis.edu.

The eight-week pilot is giving SmartSite users, especially faculty, an opportunity to test and try out the changes, and offer their input, before the campus makes a final decision in early December. The pilot is part of the fully reviewed plan for SmartSite, and a team of staff and faculty are working on the transition, but more pilot participation is welcome.

The pilot phase will confirm the technical fit of the rSmart-hosted version with UC Davis; assess the vendor support model; and solicit feedback. The switch to the rSmart-hosted system, if approved, will occur after the close of business Dec. 17 and will require SmartSite to be shut down for up to three days. For more inform ation, contact SmartSite Program Manager Kirk Alexander at kdalex@ucdavis.edu.