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Third WebCT replacement demoed

by Frankie Olito / Beacon Staff • April 26, 2012

In part of a month-long event series to find a WebCT replacement, Emerson hosted a demonstration of the third possible new Learning Management System, Blackboard Learn, in the Bill Bordy Theatre Wednesday. 

Karen Owens, the solutions engineer for the company, gave the demonstration to a group of seven faculty and staff members. 

Blackboard Learn is owned by the same company as WebCT. The company has recently discontinued WebCT and is now converting to Blackboard Learn.

This new system has a tool called SafeAssignment that checks students’ work for plagiarism, according to Owens.

With the system, students would have access to a Notifications Dashboard, highlighting assignments and their due dates. Students would also be able to participate in collaborative Wikis, where they can edit, add, and remove content from a page.

However, Owens said the best part of the system is that it allows students to participate easily.

“Class time can be dedicated to instruction now. It utilizes face-to-face more effectively,” Owens said. 

The system also has native applications for the iPhone, iPad, android phones, and BlackBerrys. These apps allow students to upload photos, participate in discussions, and check grades, according to Owens. 

Natalie Hebshie, the creative instructional designer and Instructional Technology Group member at Emerson, said this system fits for Emerson’s future.

“It certainly looks modern,” Hebshie said. “There’s a lot of cool features.”

The final demonstration of a potential replacement LMS will be held on Friday, April 27. After that date, a group comprised of faculty, students, and staff will go through all the feedback from the past month and make a decision, according to Hebshie. A decision will be made by the end of the academic year.