Amy MacKenzie – The Aquinian
Some students at St. Thomas this year are dealing with several online course management tools as the school transitions from WebCT, its primary e-learning tool, to Moodle.
St. Thomas spends a significant amount of money on WebCT each year, making Moodle the more economical choice.
As an open source media, Moodle won’t cost STU a dime as there is no purchasing cost associated with the switch.
The university is still registered with WebCT until June 2010, and no official decision has been made yet, but information technology service officials are hoping that faculty will decide in favour of Moodle.
“We’re going to have to make a transition from WebCT anyway” said ITS manager Dan Hurley. “WebCT has been bought out by the Blackboard company that UNB uses, but with Moodle, the school won’t be out any money”.
STU Faculty is currently trying out Moodle to give ITS feedback when decision time comes. Some professors still prefer WebCT, some Moodle, but some are using completely different systems.
Professor Trevor Sawler of the English Department has created his own website to avoid using WebCT.
“I just find programs like WebCT and Moodle limiting for what I want to accomplish,” he said.
Sawler has a technical background and thinks that while sites like WebCT and Moodle are not for him, “Moodle is a superior program, and it’s time for WebCT to go”.
Unfortunately for St. Thomas Students, this means using multiple course management systems.
Michelle Twomey is using three different systems this year.
“It can get complicated using so many different programs for my classes,” she said. “As a university student, it takes up a lot of time that I don’t have. It’d be a lot easier if there was one standard website for all my courses.”
Even after the transition, students most likely will still need to deal with using multiple sites for their courses, but at least WebCT will be off the menu.
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