New Blackboard platform replaces WebCT
By Collin Dever
This is the last semester that students will be working in the WebCT online environment. WebCT was purchased by Blackboard in 2006 and since then Blackboard has maintained the service, but done very little to update it.
Blackboard has decided it will no longer offer or support the WebCT platform and therefore, Valencia had no choice but to switch to the new Blackboard platform.
Valencia has been working to switch over to Blackboard since July of 2010. So far, 14 percent of online classes have been moved into the Blackboard environment.
“It’s like switching from a Windows to a Mac,” said Angelique Smith, director of Learning Technology & Alternative Delivery. Recently, the school surveyed 1,100 students about working in the new system, and found the biggest challenge students had was having to work in both platforms.
The new Blackboard system offers updated ways to work in groups, and integration with YouTube. Students can also set their classes to send updates based on a web feed and access some features on certain mobile devices.
The old Atlas email system has been replaced with a new Microsoft based email system. Known as Live@edu, the new system is a much needed update to the Atlas system.
“It’s going to give you a lot more tools than the old Atlas,” said Smith.
Students will now have access to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint through their e-mail accounts and they will be able to share and collaboratively work on documents with other students.
The new system also offers much more storage. Each account comes with 10GB space for the e-mail inbox in addition to 25GB of space in what is known as a sky drive, a cloud computing storage system that can be accessed from anywhere.
Students will also be able to forward e-mails to their mobile devices, without having to jump through the hoops of creating an outside e-mail account as with Atlas.
Valencia will be offering workshops on the west campus to help teach students how to utilize the new tools at their disposal.
West Campus Library, room 6-118.
Feb 2, 3:00pm-4:00PM
Feb 14, 4:00PM-5:00PM
March 18, 2:30PM-3:30PM
April 4, 4:00PM-5:00PM
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