This semester, the Academic Technology Services (ATS) department teamed up with professors, staff, and students to begin brainstorming for an updated PROWL website.
“We are currently running on an outdated version of Moodle…which is becoming problematic and having technical problems,” Chad Schonewill, the Director of Education Technology Services, said.
The website currently serves many professors and students, but it has been in use since 2005 and an upgrade is necessary in the near future because the current version is no longer supported.
“Our main goal is to get a newer system with fewer limitations,” Christin Deville, the CC Helpdesk Analyst, said.
Some proposed upgrades include more support for mobile devices, like text alerts and better access for a smaller screen. The look and feel of the interface will be more modern, with drag-and-drop uploads, opportunity for comments or up-votes, automatic page refreshing, and improved discussion forums.
“I would love to see a service that is shiny, new, and, dare I say, sexy, but I do have to keep in mind that this is a service that has to span many different users… I want a solution that is comfortable for everyone, which means keeping an open mind,” Emily Blakely, an Instructional Technologist, said.
Another aspect of the website upgrade may be to modernize it in the direction of a social networking forum. Students may be able to create their own groups, and the possibilities of alumni staying in the system after graduation or attending classes remotely are being explored.
The needs and desires of those most involved are being addressed in every way possible. A few weeks ago, a survey was sent to students and faculty, to which about 150 have responded so far.
“I do the whole course on PROWL, I have videos, I have homework, I have everything.
It works, but like any software, at some point you’re going to have to upgrade,” Jim Parco, professor of Economics and member of the selection committee, said.
Parco explained that the upgrade of Prowl is necessary, but the thoughtful and open investigation of other systems proves that ATS is going beyond what is required for a switch.
“I can’t promise it to be perfect, but I really want to this to be as transparent as possible and give everyone the opportunity to participate and comment,” Schonewill said.
Comments and input from students are gladly welcome from everyone in the committee.
“I know PROWL probably doesn’t keep most people up at night, but hey, you never know. CC students are bright, with great ideas. We would love to hear them,” Deville said.
The selection panel, which consists of three students, four faculty, an academic staff assistant, a library representative, and four IT staff representatives, will help search for systems in use at other institutions and test them in the fall. Extended demos of the new system possibilities may be available for anyone who is interested to try.
“I’m excited about the possibility that this could become more than a learning management system, and particularly about the potential to see it grow into a CC-centered, academically focused social network which graduating students could stay a part of and contribute to as alumni,” Schonewill said.
After testing the five or six finalist systems in the fall, a new system should be instated by Spring 2014.