To:     Deans, Associate Deans (Academic)
From:  John Doerksen, Vice-Provost (Academic Programs & Students)                                      
Date:   September 8, 2009

Re:     Final Grade Submission - Transition from MMS to WebCT

As many of you are aware, with the recent changes across campus and in the Faculty of Social Science, Western is no longer able to support the Marks Management System (MMS).  Throughout the summer, ITS and the Office of the Registrar have been working in collaboration with a pilot group of Department staff and faculty members to develop within WebCT an efficient way for Departments to submit final grades to the Office of the Registrar in line with Senate policy.

The pilot project has proven successful, and the feedback from the Departments has been positive. In this context, I wanted to let you know that the WebCT platform will henceforth be the preferred means of submitting final grades to the Office of the Registrar. Adjustment to new technology takes time, of course, and so 2009-10 will be a transition year where we will be able to accept final grades through WebCT, MMS, or the secure shell. By the summer of 2010 it is our hope that all Departments will be able to submit their final grades to the Office of the Registrar using WebCT.

To facilitate the transition this upcoming year, the Instructional Technology Resource Centre (ITRC) will be available for Departmental Support and training in WebCT OWL. Documentation for WebCT OWL (including the Grade Book) is available on the ITRC website at Also, a handy reference document will be distributed shortly, outlining the capabilities of WebCT and providing instructions on key steps to using the system.

Features of WebCT OWL that should be helpful to faculty and staff include:

•    Immediate availability to all instructors. All courses are set up on WebCT and pre-populated with class lists automatically.
•    Constantly updated class list. Manual revisions are no longer needed.
•    Built-in availability of student photos.
•    Enhanced security and data backup capabilities.
•    Secure posting of grades for students.
•    A simple three-step process for grade submission to the Registrar’s Office.

Thank you for your help in effecting a smooth transition from MMS to WebCT OWL.

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