posted on: Thursday April 15, 2010
Valerie Ferdon ’12 / News Editor
Providence College faculty members have finally grown accustomed to the ins and outs of ANGEL. Soon, however, students and faculty will have to become familiar with another learning system since ANGEL has been sold to another company, Blackboard.The College has a contract with ANGEL that guarantees usage until July of 2012. Until that time, students and faculty will continue to use this system without seeing any major changes.The LMS Task Force is the group investigating alternative learning systems. The co-chairs of this committee are Charles J. Haberle, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs, and Rebecca Ramos, assistant vice president for Information Technology.The College began using ANGEL in the summer of 2001. Overall, the community has been pleased with the system.”There have been some concerns expressed primarily by faculty in the last couple of years about some of the changes that ANGEL has made to the product, but overall, [their evaluation of it is] very positive,” said Haberle. “In 2001, we had 30 or so faculty who used the product. Now, based on the surveys we did last year, somewhere between 90 and 95 percent of the faculty within the day program are using ANGEL in some way.”Although Blackboard is an option, the members of the LMS Task Force have attended regional and national conferences about this technology.”We have been to both regional and national conferences and we talked to many people there. We have also talked with local schools such as Brown University, University of Rhode Island, Johnson & Wales University, Roger Williams University, and Wheaton College,” said Ramos.Moodle, Sakai, and Blackboard are the three main systems used by peer schools. The Task Force will be sending out letters to request information from these three major producers.”As far as our timeline, a year from now is when we should make a recommendation for which direction we want to go in, whether it be with Blackboard or whether it be with one of the other learning management systems that are out there,” said Haberle.The Task Force has surveyed faculty and a random sampling of students to get their perspective on what they seek in a learning management system.”We are certainly about going with a company or product that is going to be around for a while,” said Haberle. “We have had ANGEL for nine years. Whatever we end up with is something we want to use in the long-term.”There are plans currently in the works for an open forum with faculty. Students will be incorporated into the process beginning in the fall.