ONU’s use of Blackboard shrinks

By Autumn Keiss

Starting next school year, Blackboard will only be used as a connection between professors and students for classes.
A new portal will take the site’s place for all other services, such as the calendar of events, links to websites and other key information.

My Olivet will serve as a “one stop shop” for students and faculty. OASIS, e-mail, the Live mail calendar, and a link to Blackboard will all be available through My Olivet, said Barb Axmark, Information Technology (IT) Training Manager and member of the Portal Implementation team.

“It knows who you are. It can tell music majors about band practice or football players about games.”

Under the current system, departments and extracurricular groups work with IT to change and update information.

When My Olivet is used, those groups will be able to update information on their own.

“They can update as often as they want, as much as they want,” Axmark said.

The new portal is the second part of a three-year plan that IT introduced last year. The first step in the project was switching from Novell’s webmail system to Live mail.

“Our long-term goal is a single sign on,” Axmark said. “We want everyone to have a single password and a single username instead of separate logins for Blackboard, OASIS, etc.”

While the new portal is a step toward having a single sign on, students will still have to log on to Blackboard to access their classes. That may not be the case in the future, but Axmark said a change is “not for certain.”

The new portal is through Datatel, the main system Olivet uses.

“Datatel is what students use to register, view grades and pay tuition,” Axmark said. “Datatel holds all our information.”

My Olivet became available to faculty and staff on March 28. The address of the new portal has not been released yet.

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