Angel on its way out

HEATHER MORSE | Evergreen reporter

The learning management system begrudged by WSU students and administrators, Angel, has been slated for replacement by the start of the 2015 spring semester.

“The committee felt that overwhelmingly the university would like to move to a system that is more modern,” said Christopher Coons, a member of the committee that decided to replace Angel with the more up-to-date Blackboard Learn. “Originally, it was because Angel is a system that is no longer being developed.”

Blackboard has purchased the Angel system with no plans to increase its functionality.

The committee was assembled in 2012 to evaluate the university’s learning management system (LMS) and other systems, Coons said. It conducted surveys to gather feedback about the possibility of such a replacement.

The committee plans to implement a pilot group of courses this fall in addition to training resources for faculty, he said. It also determined that Learn provides more flexibility and stability than other systems, including Desire2Learn, Moodle and Canvas.

Guy Westhoff, the director of integrated media services, said the committee will continue planning for the transition over the next two months. Both Angel and Learn will be available for use during the next school year, Westhoff said.

The committee is also developing a training plan that will enable faculty to explore Learn during the summer, Westhoff said.

From the students’ perspective, the upgrade to Blackboard Learn will be similar to the upgrades made on Facebook in recent years, Coons said.