Closure Report

TEL056 ESO Learn go-live

Project Name

ESO Learn go-live

Project Manager

Karen Beggs

Start Date

03 Sep 2018

Close Date

27 Sep 2019

Approved by

Project Board 


The VLE Consolidation Programme began in 2016 to decommission a number of bespoke VLEs and enable teaching to be delivered using one of the centrally supported VLEs. The Edinburgh Surgery Online (ESO) programmes used three bespoke VLES and in late 2017, three projects[1] were created to migrate content and implement the new Learn VLE environment for September 2018. Over 80 new Learn courses were created using course templates that were developed with the ESO team’s help to create a consistent look and feel across the ESO programmes, as far as possible.

In August 2018 a proposal was approved by the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine to change the scope of the above projects to complete the migration of content only and to delay the implementation of Learn for all ESO Programmes until September 2019. This would give an additional year for the team to manage the change, become familiar with Learn and ensure content was updated and fully ready for teaching from September 2019.

The ESO Learn go-live project (TEL056[2]) was therefore set up to oversee the implementation of Learn from September 2019 for the MSc in Surgical Sciences, ChM Trauma & Orthopaedics, ChM General Surgery, ChM Urology, ChM Vascular Surgery, MSc Primary Care Ophthalmology, and ChM Clinical Ophthalmology.

The overarching objective was to maintain a good student experience of the ESO Programmes and to ensure Tutors were supported in the transition to Learn. In order to achieve this, the project set out to[3]:

  1. Support the ESO team during the transition to Learn
  2. Ensure all ESO courses are ready for teaching
  3. Ensure tutors and students have the information they need to use Learn effectively from September 2019




The Project Team met approximately monthly for an informal catch up and to share good practice. Each eFacilitator was asked to provide a written update every two weeks so that a regular progress report could be provided to the Project Board and full team, and to identify whether any additional support may be needed.

The Project Board met eight times between October 2018 and August 2019. The Project Board was chaired by Sarah Henderson, Director for Postgraduate Taught programmes (CMVM).



Project Board

Project Team

Sarah Henderson (Chair)

Executive Sponsor



James Garden

Business Lead (ESO Programmes)



Anne-Marie Scott

Service Owner (Learn)



Sheila Fraser

Head of IT, CMVM



Annie Heaney  

Programme Manager



Paula Smith       

MSc Surgical Sciences Programme Rep



Chantelle Aftab

ChM Programme Rep (GCHM, TCHM)



Uzma Tufail-Hanif

ChM Programme Rep (UCHM, VCHM)



Heather Ellis

Ophthalmology Programme Rep



Kaisey Murphy

Programme Admin Rep



Domenica Coxon

Patient Safety Clinical Human Factors Rep



Karen Beggs

Project Manager



Chris Hooper

Programme Administrator



Sarah Jones

Programme Administrator



Patrycja Mitrut

Programme Administrator



Paul Melone

Multimedia Manager



Joost Uding

Learning Technologist, CMVM (from Jan 19)





Major Milestones




Project Start date



End of Planning Stage



End of Delivery Stage



End of Closure Stage




Major milestones were delivered as planned, with the Delivery milestone a little later than planned because Learn was made available to students at the start of the two-week induction period and to tutors at the start of teaching. However, a number of milestones were not completed and these activities will be taken on by the ESO team as business as usual, following decisions taken by the Project Board during 2019.

Milestones that will be done as business as usual by the ESO team




Semester 1 content updates complete Oph


Week 1-4 content will be ready by 23 Sep; remaining Semester 1 content will be completed as BAU

 Semester 2 content updates  complete MSc


Work in progress, will be completed as BAU

 Semester 2 content updates complete ChM


GCHM/TCHM complete 09 May

UCHM/VCHM will be completed as BAU

 Semester 2 content updates complete Oph


Will be completed as BAU

 Bespoke VLE archived ChM


Deferred to 01 Oct

 Bespoke VLE archived Oph


Deferred to 01 Oct

 Everything ready for teaching


MSc Surg Sci

Sem 2 content to be done as BAU



Sem 2 content to be done as BAU


Ophthalmology ChM & MSc

Week 5-10 Sem 1 and Sem 2 content to be done as BAU


In May 2019 the Project Board agreed to prioritise Semester 1 updates, and any remaining updates would be managed as business as usual from September onwards. This decision was taken as a result of slower than anticipated progress on updates to content for Semester 1 teaching for some Programmes. This was primarily caused by the need to combine business as usual with the work required to update content and become familiar with the new VLE.



Objectives & Deliverables





Objective 1

To agree the tools required to deliver ESO Programmes using Learn


Deliverable 1

An agreed list of tools to be used for each ESO Programme by the end of 2018 (discussions, ePortfolio, reading lists, etc)*


Objective 2

To deliver ESO programmes using Learn from September 2019


Deliverable 2.1

All ESO courses in Learn ready to teach from September 2019


Deliverable 2.2

Students, tutors and course organisers have the information they need to use Learn from September 2019


Deliverable 2.3

Communications programme running from late 2018 to provide information about the use of Learn from September 2019 to students and tutors


Objective 3

To decommission the bespoke surgical VLEs


Deliverable 3.1

An agreed decommissioning plan for the three surgical VLEs


Deliverable 3.2

An archive-only version of the three surgical VLEs will be available from Sept 2019 until September 2020, at which point they will be closed permanently

Partially achieved – eeSURG archived 12 Aug; ChM and Oph archived 1 Oct

* Work to adapt the functionality of the Discussions on Learn to meet the ESO requirement for a flat (not threaded) discussion board was completed by DLAM. Custom e-Bookshelves were created in Learn by DLAM to host links to resource materials for each programme. These may be replaced by Leganto in future years.


Project Management estimated        66 days            actual 92 days (Cost funded by CMVM: £32,200)

Data migration temp (MCQs)                        40 days (Cost funded by LTW: £3,774)

Twenty days of Project Management time had been estimated from Aug to Dec, however 49 days were required to complete project planning. From January to June, fewer PM days were used than expected (20 days instead of the estimated 30 days). In the run up to go-live from July to the end of September, an additional seven PM days were used (16 days estimated; 23 days actual).

LTW employed a temp for eight weeks to create 1,200 Learn quiz questions for the MSc Surgical Science Programme.

CMVM appointed two Learning Technologists to provide advice and support for the team from early 2019. This had been identified as a gap in provision during the earlier projects, and the team benefitted from the expertise provided, with bespoke Learn training being provided to the team in summer 2019. The Learning Technologist was also available to the ESO team during the go-live period.



Success Criteria

The success criteria identified at the start of the project were met on 1st October when all three bespoke VLEs have been archived.

  • ESO Programmes will be taught using Learn from September 2019 (achieved)

All programmes are using Learn from 09 September 2019. However, content updates are still to be completed for some teaching material (MSc Semester 2 content; UCHM/VCHM Semester 2 content; Ophthalmology Semester 1 Week 5-10 content and Ophthalmology Semester 2 content) and this will be managed by the ESO team as part of their regular workload.


  • Bespoke VLEs will be archived from September 2019 and fully decommissioned in September 2020 (partially achieved)

eeSURG was archived on 12 Aug; ChM and Oph VLEs were archived on 01 Oct. Plans are in place to fully decommission the three VLEs in September 2020.







The overarching benefit of the project will be to ensure the infrastructure underpinning ESO teaching is resilient and sustainable

Improved service availability, improved disaster recovery, improved security


Learn provides access to a wide variety of tools to support delivery of teaching (e.g. PebblePad, Media Hopper, Turnitin). These can be added to Learn courses easily with no requirement for additional authentication

ESO programmes using these tools within Learn courses


Moving to Blackboard Learn brings the ESO programmes in line with the rest of the organisation, providing a consistent user experience and facilitating cross-programme teaching

MSc Surgical Science, GCHM, TCHM, UCHM and VCHM programmes have implemented consistent menus, flat content structure and content that uses Learn formatting


Ophthalmology programmes have a different structure, mirroring the bespoke VLE, although some elements of the menu are consistent with other Programmes.  


Ophthalmology students and tutors are unlikely to use any other Learn courses, so cross-programme consistency may not be as relevant for this group.

Partially achieved

Learn provides a more sustainable VLE solution, allowing the School to take advantage of centrally provided IS support, training, documentation and consultancy as well as improved service continuity and disaster recovery provision

Single point of support (IS Helpline); students have access to Deanery Induction Hub; the team have already attended central training courses, ESO Learn courses include links to central guidance


Reduced administrative effort required to support the VLE:

  • Courses and students automatically populated within Learn via a link form the student records system EUCLID
  • Learn can be configured to produce base student analytic data




Reduction in support costs, as Learn is funded out of the contribution made by Schools and Colleges to the central IS infrastructure

The project required additional funding from CMVM so savings will be realised in 2019-20

Expected 2019-20


Key Learning Points

  • Academic involvement on Project Board helped bridge the gap between IS and Programme teams
  • Support from a dedicated Learning Technologist greatly helped the transition
  • Planning and monitoring was important to keep work on track
  • Acknowledge time required to deliver change – difficult to do alongside business as usual activities
  • Loss of bespoke functionality impacts team confidence and may impact teaching and assessment methods
  • Strong buy in from the top is needed to evoke and drive change
  • Acknowledge impact (even if short term) on NHS and Academic colleagues



Outstanding Issues

Project risks to be closed


Risk to be closed



Current workflows cannot be exactly mirrored in Learn

Any new workflows that are identified will be managed as BAU

A Learn service review is arranged for 24th Oct 2019


Additional content is to be migrated to Learn

All content has been migrated to Learn


Work to update Learn courses is not started early or is not done

Any new content identified will be managed as BAU


Tutors are not prepared for the move to Learn

Will be managed as BAU


Students are not prepared for the move to Learn

Will be managed as BAU


Staff leave

Will be managed as BAU


Governance is not effective

Project Board and Project Team no longer required


Open risks


Open risk



One of more bespoke platforms suffers critical outage

All content has been migrated to Learn so the risk of critical outage has been largely mitigated. However, the three bespoke VLEs will be in read-only mode until September 2020. Should there be a critical outage before then, the sites will not be recovered.


PhP end of life January 2019

See risk 1


Labyrinth & PathCAL

Links to the Labyrinth and PathCAL systems have been added to Learn, so that students can continue to use these resources. These links will no longer work once the bespoke VLEs are decommissioned in September 2020 and an alternative solution will have to be identified.

Other comments

Now that all online programmes in the Deanery of Clinical Sciences are using the same platform, we are able to share content and technical expertise much more easily.  This brings with it the advantage of a cohesive, consistent and better supported experience for our remote students.



[1] eeSURG Migration Project; ChM Migration ProjectOphthalmology Migration Project

[2] ESO Learn go-live Project

[3] ESO Learn go-live Project Brief



Project Info

Edinburgh Surgery Online Learn go-live
ISG - Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)
Management Office
Project Manager
Karen Beggs
Project Sponsor
Anne-Marie Scott
Current Stage
Project Classification
Start Date
Planning Date
Delivery Date
Close Date
Overall Priority