IT News

WebCat going away May 15, Blackboard Learn on the way

By Susan Jones, Learning Management System Manager, Coulter Faculty Commons

WebCat_Gone

As faculty and students look forward to the 2011 commencement ceremonies on May 6 and 7, another important milestone is fast approaching. On May 15, the WebCat Learning Management System (LMS) will be defunct.

Over a year ago, a faculty-led taskforce made the recommendation to upgrade to Blackboard Learn, the latest tool set to facilitate collaboration and engagement in online and face-to-face learning environments. Since the fall semester, the university has been supporting both WebCat and Blackboard learning management systems in co-production to allow plenty of time for faculty to prepare for and make the transition to the new LMS.

To date, 500 faculty have made the transition to Blackboard and have engaged the new tools to support teaching and learning in over 2,300 courses. During this final phase of the transition, the most important task is to make sure all faculty and students realize that as of May 15 they will no longer have access to WebCat. Even the LMS team and IT systems administration will not have access to WebCat. What does this mean for faculty and students? It means they need to save any course files or student work that they want to keep. Options for saving content may be found at https://online2.wcu.edu.

The Coulter Faculty Commons (CFC) team is excited about the new opportunities Blackboard Learn is bringing. A LMS Faculty Advisory Board has been charged to look at the integration of the LMS into our campus culture and investigate issues and solutions for effective teaching and learning. The board is chaired by Carlie Merritt and members, represented by all colleges, include Mary Teslow, Jane Perlmutter, Susan Brown-Strauss, Ron Michaelis, Vittal Anantatmula, Susan Jones and Laura Cruz.

In the CFC spirit of “pedagogy first … technology second,” the LMS team has redesigned Blackboard faculty workshops in a new training series, “E-Dimensions of Learning,” which focuses on how the LMS can be used to support the Seven Dimensions of Teaching. Over the summer, the CFC and LMS teams will be piloting several important features in Blackboard, including the notifications system and student centers.

If you’d like to know the latest Blackboard news, please contact the LMS team at lmssupport@wcu.edu.