Blackboard replacement to begin in spring semester

By Nicole Lafond

Joule, a new learning management system, has been introduced to the ONU community with hopes it will replace Blackboard next fall.

The decision to adopt a new learning system was a year-long process, because hassles typically emerge with the integration of new technology. Essentially, the decision to change systems was made because Blackboard was not meeting the needs of professors and students.

“There have been a lot of issues with Blackboard not being compatible with different browsers and the system does not upgrade often enough,” said Barb Axmark, IT training and instructional support specialist. “There were also several different things that professors wanted to do with Blackboard that required a far too complicated process.”

There have also been a large number of complaints regarding the usability of SafeAssign.

To address these issues, IT chose not to continue with the new Blackboard upgrade this year and to adopt the new program, Joule.

Joule is a learning management system that is a branch off from the widely used program Moodle.

“There is more flexibility with Joule,” Axmark said.

The system offers the same features Blackboard offers, but navigating and creating pages is much simpler. Joule offers an easier online grading process that allows students to see their professor’s comments.

Joule has been used by four different professors this semester and will be used by 48 professors in the spring. The IT department hopes it will be the dominant learning management system used in fall 2012, because incoming freshmen will be taught the Joule program exclusively.

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