| The Communicator
Angel software to be replaced by new system
Tu Nyguen | The Communicator
Students and teachers of Community Colleges of Spokane (CCS) are going to be leaving the pains of the ANGEL platform behind, in a very near future.
In early 2012, a committee at Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) chose Instructure Canvas as a new learning management system (LMS) to replace the current ANGEL. This decision was made with feedback from almost 1000 instructors, staff members and students who had tested three different submitted LMS. A contract with Instructure was signed in June 2012.
ANGEL is a LMS which is used by many colleges in Washington State. It was acquired by Blackboard in 2009, at which point they also announced they would stop developing the product. Although CCS has used ANGEL for a long time, the system is outdated and there are many complaints about the platform.
“ANGEL is slow, poorly programmed and incredibly inefficient for anyone who has to use it for more than just looking up their assignments,” said a SFCC student Deric Wadleigh.
According to SBCTC, all colleges don’t have to change to the new LMS, but after June 2014, the end of the contract with Blackboard, Canvas is the only LMS that will be supported by SBCTC. However, there are some teachers who have already begun using Canvas with their classes.
“I setup 4 classes using Canvas for my Fall 2012 class schedule and the students unanimously like the software compared to Angel,” said David Jones, an instructor at SFCC. “Both my students and I had excellent reviews of the entire process and the students were anxious to get all of their classes using the same system.”
Mary Ann Goodwin, Dean of eLearning of CCS, said that CCS is going to replace ANGEL with Canvas in June 2013. Over 25 colleges in Washington State, University of Washington and Eastern Washington University are implementing this new platform.
“I have not had any issues and find Canvas much easier to use than ANGEL,” said Brian Kauffman, a SFCC student. “It is much easier to submit assignments, and to see what assignments have yet to be submitted.”
The program’s use of cloud hosting and its use of a mobile-friendly smartphone app were factors that lead to SBCTC’s decision.
“I think the integration of auditory and visual content will be excellent,” said a SFCC instructor Polly McMahon. “We are trying to use a LMS in a much more interactive way, and that is what the students demand.
“I think Canvas is well suited for this.”
Canvas also allows instructors to more easily manage their class schedules and assignment dates.
“One of the biggest benefits of Canvas is their extensive ‘notification’ feature. This allows many different ‘events’ that happen in Canvas to be sent to your students on their own terms,” said Jones. “If you move an assignment on the calendar, then the dates associated with that assignment are updated throughout the system.
“This drag-and-drop interface is a dream to use.”