By Erin Leavitt
Technology moves fast! And here at CI, our Academic and Information Technology team (A & IT) is always hard at work to keep up and bring much needed improvements to campus. That is why every semester students are faced with the challenge of adapting by figuring out how one goes about printing or, as a recent example, by moving their school email to Google’s GMail.
I sat down with the Chief Information Officer of Channel Islands, Dr. Michael Berman, to learn more about the changes to our course management system, otherwise known as CI Learn (or Blackboard – one of the three systems primarily used by campuses). If you were not already aware, next semester CI will either be upgrading Blackboard to the current 9.1 version or migrating to Moodle, which is an open source system. Presentations for both systems were held in the Broome Library back in March.
These scheduled and publicized presentations are evidence that CI’s A&IT department is sensitive to student and faculty reactions. Also this semester, a total of sixteen CI instructors piloted both systems in various classes and have since been surveyed.
I was fortunate enough in one of my classes to use the newest Blackboard – which is the system our campus has used since its start – and although it does have its issues, I honestly don’t think Moodle will win out in the end. Mainly because it will be such a broad leap for our campus. I know one classmate, Elliot Perez, said he did not like it at all, to say the least. Fortunately, he will be graduating and won’t have to put the work forth to learn the new system.
By piloting these two systems, those who assess the surveys, like Judy Swanson (who has actively been helping users), will know exactly what students find difficult and what faculty will need help with in the future. And it is based on these surveys taken that the new system will be chosen and implemented for the Fall.
Other improvements to look out for??
- A student directory project is underway. This will allow “students to connect [and at the same time] respect their privacy and their control over their own personal information” according to Dr. Berman. A tab will most likely be added in MyCI.
- Connecting to CI’s WiFi has always been sort of tricky, so that will be looked into – easier instructions for those not so tech-savvy.
- CI Learn on mobile devices is also a possibility.
- And my favorite is the possibility of having texts and emails going out to students for classes that have been canceled throughout the day.
As always, emails will be going out informing students and keeping them involved every step of the way.