Press - 03/11/2016

Course Management Systems Evaluation Update

It’s time for a test drive.

That’s the message from the MiraCosta College Course Management System Evaluation Task Force, which is evaluating possible providers for MiraCosta College’s Course Management System. The task force is looking at programs offered by Moodle, Blackboard and Canvas, and it has set up a lab for students, faculty and staff to test each of them out.

The first demonstration lab is set for Tuesday, March 15, from noon to 4 p.m. in Room 1201 of the Library & Information Hub at the Oceanside Campus. The second demonstration lab is set for Friday, March 18, from noon to 3 p.m. in the same room. Computers will be set up with parallel sample courses developed in Moodle, Blackboard and Canvas for participants to try out. 

Students, faculty and staff who try out the systems will be asked to complete a short survey detailing their thoughts and preferences. Feedback will be invaluable in helping the task force reach its recommendation. No appointments are necessary; walk-ins are welcome. And faculty taking part in the demonstration lab can receive Flex credit. 

Those unable to attend the demonstration labs should check the CMS Evaluation website for additional information on how to participate in the evaluation.

Course management systems comprise the software tools providing an online environment for course interactions.  MiraCosta College now uses course management systems from Moodle and Blackboard. 

Customers of Salt Lake City-based Canvas include nearly 50 California Community Colleges that opted for the cloud-based program after the Online Education Initiative selected Canvas as its Common Course Management System in 2015. Australia-based Moodle is used by higher education systems that include Louisiana State University and Cambridge University. Washington, D.C.-based Blackboard by 2011 was being used by more than half the colleges and universities in the United States. 

The MiraCosta College Course Management System Evaluation Task Force began its evaluation process in February. It will forward its recommendation to the Academic Affairs Committee in April, with reviews by the Academic Senate, Classified Senate Council, Associated Government Student Council and Administrative Council to follow. President/Superintendent Sunita ‘Sunny’ Cooke will make the final decision, which will then be presented to the Board of Trustees.

The College Course Management System Evaluation Task Force comprises some two dozen students, faculty and staff. In January, representatives from Blackboard, Moodle and Canvas conducted one-hour, in-person presentations during Flex Week. (Visit http://miracosta.edu/cms-eval to view recordings of the presentations, learn how to access the systems under consideration, and to learn more details about the evaluation process.)

Further information about the demonstration labs can be obtained by contacting Karen Korstad at kkorstad@miracosta.edu. Korstad and other Task Force members will be at both sessions.

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