Observations on NIACC Switch from Bb Vista to ANGEL

Way back in July Ezra commented on a great meeting ND had with Blackboard management at BbWorld which I posted about here. He asked, in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, “Did you drink the Bb Kool-aid?”

I’d just like to say, no matter what is in the Kool-Aid being served by whatever vendor, I’m passing on it all. Those who know me well are aware one of my superpowers is the ability to see all sides (I am an extreme “P” on the  Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). And for life skills, well, a healthy dose of skepticism has served me thus far…

Secondly, for those of us currently evaluating, or looking to evaluate, or having already switched (or deciding not to), I’d like to point out a couple things about Bruce’s comments:

  • NIACC was at a cross-roads -had to do something. They knew their current CMS to be nearing EOL.
  • Their needs are relatively small: 2000 user accounts, 50 faculty, 165 course sections over summer AND fall.
  • Administration needed a solution within their budget for their existing need.
  • We did not hear a comparision of features, usability, support …

What factors would be important to your institution if you were evaluating course management systems? Would you be looking at support for wider collaborative structures beyond the course section? How would you balance existing need with future vision for your institution? And speaking of vision, does your institution even articulate its vision for learning technologies? Maybe it’s mostly in your head as a Course Management Administrator?

And hey, I’d like to wish NIACC, and Bruce McKee especially, “an Irish Blessing” with their new CMS. We all want that for each other, don’t we?

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