Washburn to drop WebCT, switch to ANGEL

Erin Wiltz

ne course program from WebCT to ANGEL learning management system.

On Jan. 23, the Board of Regents approved the purchase of the ANGEL management system to replace WebCT, which is currently being used for online courses. Washburn University has been using WebCT since 1999. Washburn’s Board of Regents had been thinking about switching programs for the past two years because they knew the current support for the platform would eventually be outmoded.

“WebCT is a little outdated and it’s been a reliable piece of software for 10 years with upgrades, but it doesn’t include a lot of the social networking web tools and is not state of the art when comes to accessing student learning outcomes,” said Tim Peterson, dean of continuing education.

NGEL is because the license for WebCT will expire in September. Johnson County Community College experienced trouble when finding a program for their online courses and they switched to ANGEL. Institutions such as the University of Kansas Medical Center and Creighton University use the ANGEL learning management system. The ANGEL software is relatively new, created in the last four to five years. Washburn committees have investigated in much online software for its classes and ANGEL stood above them all.

“I’m new at WebCT because this year is the first year I have an online course, but I think it’s clumsy to navigate,” said Kayla Waters, professor of human services.

Blackboard encouraged everyone who used WebCT to buy its new and improved program. However according to Johnson County Community College, it was not necessarily improved. Some features that the ANGEL learning management system has is automated routine tasks, such as announcements and deadline reminders, mail that is searchable, personalized communication with students, desktop applications, and assessment tools that make is easy for students to navigate the program. Washburn students and faculty can visit http://angellearning.com/ which gives access to demo accounts so students and faculty are able to try out and experience the software.

“There has been much support from faculty and encouragement for them to switch courses to go online and when putting their courses online there is a Quality Matters Rubric which helps them to set their courses up,” said Peterson.

According to the Board of Regents handout, the Online Education Committee and ISS staff are training and developing a support program to help faculty members learn the new system this spring. All faculty members who are scheduled to teach an online course this summer or fall will be contacted by Feb. 27.