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ICYMI: Rutgers digital academic services see upcoming changes

Photo Illustration | Rutgers plans to upgrade its digital learning platforms over the summer, including Sakai. It will also start using Canvas, a system which will ultimately replace eCollege. – Photo by Nikhilesh De

Rutgers’ online teaching platforms will see some changes come next year.

In April, the University announced changes to be made to Sakai. That same month, Rutgers announced it would be parting ways with Pearson’s eCollege, and opting into the Canvas Learning Management System.

Canvas will be implemented over the next three years. Courses part of Rutgers online-only degree programs, the first courses using the new platform, will be available on Canvas for the Fall 2016 semester.

Other courses will be introduced on a rolling basis following each semester. For-credit online classes will be available through Canvas starting with the Spring 2017 semester.

Hybrid courses will be available by the 2017 summer session.

In addition to being better supported than eCollege, Canvas presents instructors with the opportunity to implement third party software and share course material across the University freely, said Antonius Bittmann, associate vice president of Online Programs within the Division of Continuing Studies.

“Canvas is wide open when it comes to integration,” Bittmann told The Daily Targum. “That includes all the third-party integrations that we have currently and use with Pearson LearningStudio.”

A data-shifter that will allow instructors to duplicate site on Sakai will be implemented in June.

Additionally, the open-source platform will see changes to its Assignment and Gradebook tabs. The platform’s current discussion and messaging systems will be removed and replaced with a new forum function.

“In the past, students have responded favorably to changes we’ve made in Sakai … We want to provide the best possible service to Rutgers faculty and students,” said Gayle Stein, associate director for Instructional Technology within the Office of Instructional and Research Technology.

This article is part of our Spring 2016 Perspectives edition. Find the full issue here.

Nikita Biryukov is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies. He is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum. Follow him on Twitter @nikitabiryukov_ for more.