ID Meeting 11.6.2012 – SLN Internship #14


When I saw that this meeting was about migrating from Angel to Blackboard I wondered how much there was to talk about since it has been discussed at the last few meetings.

Rob shed some light on the rationale behind the migration pointing out that the Chancellor wants all campuses on common LMS platforms for cross registrations, cost-efficiency, etc…The change must happen by 2017 when Angel will no longer be supported.  Grady posed the question of “why not consider an open source like Moodle?”  Rob answered that the Chancellor is pushing for Blackboard and the selection process has been done for a while.  He also pointed out that you are not going to be required to go to Blackboard, but SLN will not support Angel after 2017 and will only be supporting Blackboard.  You will be free to use any LMS at 2017, but will only receive support for Blackboard.  SLN can support 2 platforms but Angel will not be one of them past 2017.

Each campus conversion process will include 2 semesters of planning and prep and 4 semesters of migration before Blackboard courses go live.  Pilot training will happen for faculty at 12 weeks and 6 weeks before courses go live.  Both of these trainings are 2 and a half days long, for 2 separate groups and are very hands-on.  Rob also mentioned that there will be stand-alone Bb training courses to use as a resource.  Dan has asked me to look through these courses and provide him with feedback.  I’m really looking forward to looking through these courses not only as someone who has experience as an online student but also from the mind frame of an instructor who would be using Bb for the first time.

People seem to be voicing the same concerns.  Vicky said it seems like putting all our eggs in one basket (Bb) seems like a bad idea.  She also voiced that Angel is better than Bb.  The other usual concerns brought up were time for training and conversion of courses, etc… Other participants were pointing out benefits of Moodle and Pearson.  Many said they wanted to be the campus to convert last.

Rob was trying to get the point across that this is really happening and can’t be delayed inevitably.  SLN can only commit to 4 new campus migrations at once.  We aren’t going to be able to wait until the last minute and migrate everyone.  It just isn’t feasible.  SLN has come up with a timetable outlining how long migration will take the structure of how SLN will handle it the next few years. I felt bad for Rob as I have when this topic has been brought up at meetings in the past.  He must have felt like he was repeating himself over and over again.  While I understand that change is difficult for everyone and that a large change such as this is very time consuming, I feel like since the decision has been made it is time to accept it and move forward.

I’m reminded of a situation I am currently going through at my school.  There are a large amount of Kindergarten students being pulled from our classrooms this year for AIS support because of a large level of need.  There was frustration about the amount of time they were being pulled and the specific times they were being pulled.  While I agreed this was inconvenient, I didn’t see the point in complaining about something we couldn’t change.  I suggested coming up with a solution as to how to provide those students with the information they were missing from class time rather than complain about a schedule we had no control over.  My solution was to have some 4th grade students come down during their free time and work with these students in groups of 2 for a half an hour a few times a week as well as providing parents with extra activities at home.  Yes, this created more work and took extra effort from me, but it accomplished something and will benefit everyone in the long run.

I hope to see a change in future meetings where everyone is working together to discuss solutions and action.  If the instructors at each of these campuses are going to handle this transition smoothly, their ID’s need to present it to them in a positive light.

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