Why is Thomas Edison State College moving to a new learning management system?
Thomas Edison State College made the strategic decision to transition to a new learning management system to provide greater flexibility and efficiency for the development, design and delivery of new courses and to better position the institution to leverage the latest technology in education to deliver courses to our students in richer, more meaningful way that optimizes flexibility.
What is Moodle?
Moodle is an open source learning management system (LMS) that provides educators with the latest tools to manage learning and provides students with a rich learning experience. Some institutions use Moodle to support fully online courses while others use it to supplement traditional brick-and-mortal classroom experiences.
For students, what are the main differences between the Moodle platform and Blackboard?
The biggest change will probably be navigation. When students enter the new course space, they will notice a different navigation. We think the navigation of the course is much improved in the new course space and students will not have to click on as many links to find things and complete their course work. Students should also find the new space familiar as many elements of the courses are being brought over from Blackboard.
Another change will be the addition of Google apps, a suite of programs that use cloud-based technology, which enable students to create spreadsheets, documents, Power Point presentations, access multimedia presentations and other programs required for your courses. Using Google apps and Google docs, students can access and submit their assignment regardless of the computer, tablet or other device they are using or the software installed on that device. Students will automatically gain access to a College Google account when they register for a course. Once they access their course in the new space, students will need to log in to their Google account to access Google Apps and the programs required for the course.
Another important change will be communications features that enable students to communicate with their mentor and each other. Moodle is much more social in nature, so students will have additional methods to communicate with their mentor and other students beyond the discussion board and e-mail.
What is going to happen to myEdison® and the Blackboard course spaces?
The College plans to fully implement the new system for all courses in 2013. When that happens, all students registering for courses will access their courses in the new system. Students who are still in courses on the old system (Blackboard) will remain in those courses in Blackboard until the courses are completed. This means the College will be operating two learning management systems (Moodle and Blackboard) at the same time for awhile, as students complete their courses in Blackboard. During this time, the myEdison® student portal in Blackboard will also continue to operate until all students complete their last courses in Blackboard. The College is launching a new student portal in conjunction with the new learning management system.
What about this pilot program taking place the September 2012 term? What is that?
To test the new system and gain student feedback on the new course space, the College is piloting seven courses in the September 2012 term that will be offered in the new learning management system. The courses are:
- ART-100-OL: A World of Art
- APS-302-OL: Customer Service: A Practical Approach
- EAS-101-OL: General Earth Science
- MAN-311-OL: Organizational Behavior
- MAT-231-OL: Calculus I
- MAT-231-GS: Calculus I
- SOS-110-OL: Living in the Information Age
These courses are only offered in the new system during the September 2012 term. Students who register for these courses in the September 2012 term will be automatically included in the pilot. Students who register for these courses in the September 2012 term will receive credit for the courses pending passing grades and successful completion of the course.
How will students access their courses in the new system during the pilot?
Students registered for courses included in the pilot will access the courses via a link to Moodle in myEdison®. They will need to sign in a second time to access their pilot courses using the same user ID and password that they use to log in to Online Student Services. Additional tutorials on accessing the courses will be sent to students this summer.
How will students access their courses in Blackboard during the pilot?
There are no changes for students accessing courses not included with the pilot in Blackboard. Students taking one or more of the courses included in the pilot, who also are taking courses not included in the pilot, will continue to access their Blackboard courses using myEdison®. Courses included in the pilot will be delivered in the new system. All other courses will continue to be delivered via the Blackboard platform and accessed via myEdison®.
What will happen after the pilot? Are there going to be additional pilots in 2012?
Once the pilot has concluded, the College will carefully review student feedback on the new learning management and course space and implement appropriate recommendations. At this time, no additional pilot studies are planned for 2012. This means, after the September 2012 term, all courses will be offered via Blackboard until the new system is fully implemented in 2013. Once the new system is fully implemented, all courses that students register for will be offered in the new system.
When does the College expect to move to the new system?
The College plans to fully implement the new system in February 2013. If this date is changed, all students will be informed.
What does it mean to have a single sign-on? When will that be a reality for students?
A single sign-on means students will sign in once, using one user ID and password, to access their courses, Online Student Services and other student resources. This will be a reality for students once the new system is fully implemented and students have completed their final course in Blackboard. The College expects that most students should have a single sign-on by July 2013, depending on course extensions, etc.
Will the College operate two systems at the same time?
Yes. The College will be operating two learning management systems at the same time through June 30, 2013. This is being done to accommodate students who will be actively taking courses in Blackboard when the new system is fully implemented. It will also ensure no students are “kicked out” of their current course space before they complete the course. The College will operate both systems to accommodate students’ needs and expects all students will have completed their courses in Blackboard by July 1, 2013.
Will this change the way I take my course examinations?
No. Regardless of the platform (Moodle or Blackboard) the format of examinations and the method of completing them remain the same. If a course offers an online proctored exam, students will register with Proctor U and schedule a test date. On the day of the exam, students will log into the Proctor U site for the user authentication process and then be guided to their course space by the Proctor U proctor. If students choose the take the test in the paper format, they will simply submit a Proctor Request Form at the beginning of the semester. Students should check each of their course spaces early in the semester to identify the number and format of examination(s).