Apr 032012
Authors: Kate Winkle

Move over, RamCT. There’s a new system in town.

Starting the summer session of 2012, CSU will complete a switchover from the current RamCT “Campus Edition 8” online learning management system to a program called “RamCT Blackboard,” according to Rusty Scott, executive associate director of Academic Computing and Networking Services at CSU, in an email to the Collegian.

Blackboard will no longer support CSU’s current version of RamCT starting January 2013, according to CSU’s RamCT website, necessitating a change to a new system.

In November 2010, CSU’s Faculty Council Committee on Teaching and Learning recommended adoption of Blackboard’s newest version “Bb Learn 9” or “Blackboard Learn,” to replace the current RamCT system.

The council’s research involved input from faculty, students, the Division of Continuing Education, RamCT College and Area Coordinators, and CSU’s Academic Computing and Networking Services.

Starting this semester, CSU launched a pilot program of 50 faculty and approximately 2,000 students to troubleshoot potential transition problems, according to Scott, who said that for faculty the new system functions differently from RamCT. Training in RamCT Blackboard use has been offered since February, and under the new system, faculty will still able to use other online resources within their class curriculum, Scott said.

A preview of the pilot system can be viewed at http://ramct.blackboard.com.

“Students participating in the pilot program have appreciated some changes in the system, but for the most part, are successfully navigating the system with essentially no training,” Scott said.

The new RamCT Blackboard system will have a more efficient interface, according to CSU’s RamCT website, and will feature new tools such as drag-and-drop file uploads and an improved grade center. More than 95 percent of CSU students use the current system.

Students aren’t too attached to RamCT and are open to change.

“I use (RamCT) quite a bit for classes, to check homework, communicate with teachers, check to see if I have tests or quizzes coming up and to get homework assignments posted there,” said freshman rangeland ecology major Matthew Ketcham, who hadn’t heard about the upcoming system change but was open to the idea.

Sophomore chemistry major Ryan Ash was also welcoming to a new online class management system.

“If the new system is easier, more efficient and has a better way to navigate, then it sounds like a good idea,” Ash said. “If it’s more beneficial for us, it’s okay to switch; I’m fine with it, and I’m sure it won’t be too hard to learn.”

Collegian writer Kate Winkle can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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