Goodbye WebCT, Hello Desire2Learn

After 10 years of using WebCT as the online learning system for faculty and students, Radford University will be switching over to Desire2Learn in summer 2011. The Contracts and Materials Management office is finalizing the paperwork with Desire2Learn.

When Blackboard bought out WebCT, they said they would continue to honor the license agreement with Radford. Former IT director, Krista Terry, received notification that a renewal would no longer be possible.

Desire2Learn was one of the options that Terry and new IT director, Charlie Cosmato, looked into.

“Students will love the fact that if they have a decent internet phone they will be able to access it,” said Cosmato.

As well as being able to access Desire2Learn from a cell phone, it will also be more advanced than WebCT. An electronic portfolio will now be available, as well as less glitches because it is updated with the time.

“The beginning of this semester has been a big challenge,” said Cosmato.

A major issue with WebCT is that they are not updating with technology. Everything else is advancing and WebCT is not, making it a pain to use. According to Cosmato Desire2Learn will be more user-friendly.

Once contracts are signed, faculty will be able to start training with the new program. In the spring they will have the choice to integrate it in the classroom. The university will officially switch over to Desire2Learn during 2011 summer session.

“I’m still getting used to WebCT so a new program would be kind of frustrating,” said sophomore Jillian Ruppert.

Ruppert, who uses WebCT about every day for her online dance class, is iffy about starting a new program. Senior Nick Giles says if the program is better, then he has no problem learning a new one. Cosmato says there will be tutorials available for students to use and reference so they can learn how to use it.

“It’s interesting because 10 years ago WebCT was purchased because professors believed it was the way of the future,” said Cosmato. When he first starting teaching tutorials about WebCT, he was teaching how to use it, now he is teaching how to avoid glitches.

Upgrading to Desire2Learn on campus should make turning in assignments quicker. Whereas with WebCT students have had click ‘ok’ and ‘submit’ multiple of times before turning anything in, so that should be fixed.

“Yea I don’t mind WebCT but I wouldn’t mind trying something else,” said Giles.


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