Classes officially switch from Angel to Blackboard

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(Elijah Vary | The Oswegonian).

Blackboard_GraphicBlackboard_GraphicSince the spring of 2007, Angel has been used by professors to post student’s grades, upcoming assignments, use discussion boards and a calendar to organize events. As of September 1, Angel is no longer available to students and the school has fully transitioned over to using Blackboard Learn.

Over 20 SUNY campuses have begun to make the transition from Angel to Blackboard Learn since the company was bought out in 2009.

“It’s putting us in a good position to move forward,” said Nicole Decker, Associate Director of Campus Technology Services for client support and communications. “There are some features in Blackboard that weren’t in Angel.”

Oswego State professors were able to begin moving their content from Angel to Blackboard starting in the spring of 2015, in preparation for the fall semester.

Kathi Dutton, the project manager from Learning Management Support, believes that as time goes on, more professors will end up using Blackboard after they hear how useful it is.

“For some people, Angel never made sense,” Dutton said. “Then they get to Blackboard and it just clicks.”

The new app, Blackboard Mobile Learn, is free. The app sends course notifications, such as new content, discussion posts and grades.

“I think it is a very useful resource, and it keeps you up to date with all of the homework and tests that professors give you,” said Jason Hui, a freshman.

Oswego State has attempted to make this transition as smooth as possible by hosting a series of workshops throughout the semester for professors from August 19, and until December 3.

Communication and Social Interaction professor Jessica Reeher attended a session and thought it was helpful.

“You always learn things in training that you don’t learn on your own,” Reeher said.

Students and professors also have a couple different resources to assist in the transition. There is an Open SUNY Help desk, at http://open.suny.edu, which assist students in learning how to use the program. Faculty can also email any questions they have regarding blackboard to bbhelp-list@ls.oswego.edu.

Angel had a more complicated process of opening up quizzes for students who had issues after they started the quiz. Through the use of Blackboard, professors are able to click on a student’s name and re-open a quiz for a student whose laptop crashed in the middle of a quiz.

“I didn’t have to go through a lot of hoops, so I really like that it’s an easy fix,” Reeher said.

Blackboard has simplified some of the processes, including the way students submit papers. Students are able to confirm that they submitted the correct files, because it appears in a window that will allow the student to view the entire paper.

“I like that Blackboard keeps everything localized so you don’t have to keep track of everything in each class,” James Schaller said.

Not all students like using Blackboard, including Alexus Grady.

“I get confused trying to be told what the homework is on Blackboard, because I always have a lot of questions,” she said. “It also seemed like a lot of my professors were confused trying to set everything up.”

Some of the students are embracing the change and like the use of Blackboard.

“I think it can be a powerfully productive tool to enhance and better the student teacher relationship,” Jamie Aranoff said. “It can avoid communication errors if used correctly and if both the students and teachers are avid users.”