Washburn searches for Angel’s replacement

Washburn will be hosting presentations for new Learning Management Systems (LMS) within the coming weeks.

AJ Dome / Washburn Review

Washburn will be hosting presentations for new Learning Management Systems within the coming weeks. The first of these LMS presentations was on Sep. 24 for Blackboard Learn. Blackboard Learn bought Angel Learning–the system currently used at Washburn–in 2009 for $95 million, causing a shift in the way educational systems are managed and used by schools. 

“Speaking as a past client, I’m happy to be seeing and helping make changes to the learning systems since we acquired Angel,” said Liam Ferris, solutions engineering manager at Blackboard. 

Blackboard’s upcoming Service Pack 10 would replace the current Angel system. Service Pack 10 premiers in December, and would include a host of new features, including Blackboard Social.

“It’s like a less intimate Facebook,” said Ferris. 

Blackboard Social operates on an interface that combines some design traits of both Facebook and Blackboard. Many features, like a real-time chat box, private messaging, and the equivalent to Facebook groups and organizations called “Spaces,” are similar to the popular social-networking site. There’s even a mobile app, and a demo version of the app is available for free download in mobile app stores. 

File-sharing will also be different. According to Ferris, the file management system in Blackboard is much more robust than Angel’s, and offers a similar but easier-to-use interface. Blackboard is compatible with all browsers, and it generally works on mobile devices, but Ferris said that Blackboard doesn’t actively test their mobile app on different devices. 

“It should work on most anything you have,” said Ferris. “The latest updates ensure that the system keeps working on anything and everything students use to access the site.”

Two more presentations are scheduled for prospective LMS providers. Desire2Learn will be in the Washburn Room B from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1.  From 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Wednesday, Oct. 10, in Washburn Room A, Instructure Canvas will be presenting. Videos of each of the presentations is available online, under the Technology Services tab in students’ MyWashburn account. Students and staff are encouraged to attend the sessions if possible, watch the demo videos, and provide feedback during this process.

More information and evaluation sheets for the different presenters can be accessed at www.washburn.edu/lms.