As the new semester rolls in, students and faculty alike are making the switch from Blackboard to Moodlerooms, a program that allows professors to put course materials and lessons online.
Moodlerooms is still a mystery to many students and teachers, who are now asking how they will make the transition.
“I want to advise students that Moodlerooms is nothing to be afraid of,” said Mary Johnson, online learning faculty coordinator and professor of computer information systems. Johnson taught a course with Moodlerooms over the winter 2012 session.
“At the end of the course session, I did a survey and found that most students preferred Moodlerooms to Blackboard. Students see it as more user-friendly and easier to navigate.” Harmon Huynh, 22, cognitive science major, agreed.
“I’ve already experienced Moodlerooms through classes, and I think it’s better, faster, and far less complicated,” said Huynh. “The interfacing is easier to use and more intuitive. Why didn’t we make the switch sooner?”
Over the winter 2012 session, approximately 200 faculty members were trained with Moodlerooms and how to integrate it into their courses. “The faculty is now developing and getting comfortable with the transition. It even appears that around 125 sections are being taught in Moodlerooms,” said Johnson. While Moodlerooms has made its move into the Mt. SAC campus, some classes retain Blackboard. “This spring, faculty have been given the choice whether to use Moodlerooms or Blackboard, but Blackboard will no longer be an option by summer,” said Johnson.
Huynh said that it is too soon to tell whether the transition to Moodlerooms will be easily accepted by students and faculty.
“It’s so new that other professors aren’t yet accepting of it. They’re wary of it because [they are used to] Blackboard,” said Huynh. The Learning Assistance Center, which is located on the first floor of building 6, will have workshops to introduce students to Moodlerooms. These are scheduled to take place during the seventh week of school. “They will be noncredit workshops that are around one hour long and all students are welcome,” said Johnson. Students also can enroll in STUDY 85C, an eight-week course.
“This is a one-unit credit course that teaches students how to be successful in a distance learning course,” Johnson said. With the sudden appearance of the program over the winter intersession, students wonder why the switch was made.
“The most important reason is cost,” said Johnson. “At this time, we found that Moodlerooms had all the functionality of Blackboard but [cost less than half the money].”
Johnson advised students to ask instructors if they are experiencing any troubles. “Students’ first line of resource should be the instructor,” said Johnson. “With more technical issues, Moodlerooms offers clear and detailed instructions on how to log in and offers a whole link detailing solutions.”
Johnson is confident that students will easily accept the switch to Moodlerooms. “The program offers a lot of student resources,” said Johnson. “There is a calendar that displays due dates for a course, which can be downloaded to iPhones and personalized for students’ own use.” “Students will also find that Moodlerooms is closer visually to what they’re used to,” Johnson added. “In this way, it’ll be better integrated.”
– Aida Ghorbani