eLC to feature program with chat capabilities

Clouser

Students will experience fewer problems with their virtual learning systems as the University of Georgia adopts a new online classroom software.

“We think that people were ready to move to something new and better,” said Sherry Clouser, coordinator of Instructional & Distance Technologies.

UGA will begin using the update – eLC-new – as its new online learning system during the next academic year. The learning commons will begin using Desire2Learn as its basis software. The current learning commons, eLC, runs on Blackboard Vista, an online classroom software. UGA decided to transition from Blackboard Vista after Blackboard.com announced that it would no longer support the program.

The new software will be more user-friendly, Clouser said. Students will experience more efficient email through eLC-new and will also have the option of text notifications, meaning students can be notified via text when a new announcement or assignment is posted. Desire2Learn also provides better Internet browser compatibility and mobile access.

“The text notification option is something that students have been asking for a while. You can also open multiple windows at once," Clouser said. "If you want to be have your syllabus open while looking at your assignments page you can certainly do that.”

Instructors will have more flexibility in building their courses on the new system, including homepage customization and drag-and-drop capabilities.

“I think any learning managements system should allow opportunities for communication between students and also for collaboration in a secure environment which eLC-new provides,” Clouser said.

The new program will lessen UGA’s burden as the program will be hosted by the University System of Georgia rather than UGA itself. USG hosts the program at several other universities, including Georgia State University and Kennesaw State University.

“The transition relieves UGA from quite a bit of extensive training issues,” said Shawn Ellis, UGA's IT director.

Officials are slowly introducing the program to campus. The new program is now available to select professors. Faculty usage will gradually increase until its campus wide release in spring 2014.

"I think the new eLC is great. It is easy to navigate and it is very organized, said Kalila Clarke, a sophomore animal science major. "Only one of my classes uses it so it would be better if all of my classes used it."