Schools like Michigan State University and Ohio State University have switched over their course management software from ANGEL to other course systems. But, for now, Penn State has opted to remain with ANGEL.
A full upgrade or change in course management might not be possible at this time.
Though, this is not to say we shouldn’t ameliorate ANGEL for students’ benefit. Many students have dealt with ANGEL and find it archaic and hard to use.
And some teachers agree. Some professors have chosen to opt out of using ANGEL for their classes because of difficulty in using it. Instead of allocating a large sum of money to a new course management system, perhaps there could be a revamp of ANGEL’s existing features to ensure that Penn State students and Penn State professors are able to use this system proficiently.
Communication between students is key throughout the semester. And in 300-person lectures, communication is often the key to success.
Students need to be able to track their grades, email their teachers and correspond with their peers.
And professors should not feel bogged down with helping to provide this structural balance for students. There isn’t a reason that Penn State shouldn’t be aiding professors in becoming proficient with ANGEL, in order to make it more easily accessible for the entire class. And though we’re not switching over from ANGEL, professors cannot and should not count out this course management totally — with no secure alternative. An alternative should be demonstrated to students in order to allow a free and easy communication.
But the only form of course management should not just simply be within the classroom and in-person.
So ensuring that students can still effectively communicate with an online presence is key to a successful class. Access to online syllabi, information about projects and grades should be a standard in every class.
We need to revamp and improve ANGEL, as well as improve professors’ proficiency with this system. There needs to be consistency on behalf of the university and the students on using a system such as ANGEL. The university should either guarantee that all professors will have an online presence — whether on ANGEL or another effective plan — so both the students and teachers don’t have to deal with complications and difficulties that cause them to stray away from an organized course management system.