History of T-Square at Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech has long struggled with its technical support of teaching and learning. The range and variety of needs across campus led to the frank conclusion in 2006 "that there is no current LMS product that meets the needs of a significant proportion of the users and potential users of an effective LMS at Georgia Tech" (from Report from the Subcommittee on Learning Management Systems). Although the penetration of WebCT had remained very low (~20% of courses), the use of technology to support needs particular to distinct units had been fairly high. That is to say, there had been extensive use of educational technology, it just hadn't been found in the centrally provided solution, which had proved to be both difficult to learn and too inflexible for the technical innovation of Georgia Tech faculty and students. The end result was a fragmentation of overlapping services which were difficult for students to navigate, and difficult for the respective units to maintain.

Beyond the LMS question, higher ed is coming to terms with an increasing need for online communication, filesharing, and other forms of digital collaboration; it's not just about teaching and learning anymore, and the value of the institution is larger than the curriculum. Since many of these needs and technical tools overlap to a great extent with those for instruction (e.g. communication, document sharing, workflows of submission and review), a system designed exclusively for coursework starts to look like an unnecessary and ultimately unhelpful narrowing of focus.

Georgia Tech needed to find a solution that was more flexible than any LMS had been to date, one which affords enough control to allow it to be tailored to local needs where appropriate, while at the same time not sacrificing coherence and a sustainable IT strategy. T-Square represents the path toward achieving that goal.