District will replace Angel with Blackboard

A few weeks ago, a new link labeled Blackboard appeared on the RBHS website.

A few weeks ago, a new link labeled Blackboard appeared on the RBHS website. Screenshot by Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Kafi

Platforms, whether Harry Potter’s one at 9 3/4 or those that host web information, can be difficult to navigate, and for Columbia Public Schools, they can be hard to settle on.

For years Columbia Public Schools has used an instructional technology called Angel Learning, Inc., which is a website that gives teachers the ability to send documents over the internet to their students.

Because of a lack of future development of Angel, the Technology Services for CPS,  the district decided to switch to another Learning Management System, and the top two they chose between were Blackboard and Canvas.

“All teachers, administrators, students and community members were invited to attend the vendor sessions provided by Blackboard and Canvas during [school] and after school to review possible replacements for Angel,” Julie Nichols, the Manager of Instructional Technology for CPS said. “Blackboard was selected as the replacement.”

Before Angel, CPS used Blackboard, another Learning Management System with features similar to Angel.

“We had Blackboard, and we were using it, but it was getting expensive, so we bought Angel,” Dennis Murphy, a media center specialist, said.

In May 2009, Blackboard, Inc. bought Angel and, until recently, continued to develop the website along with Blackboard, their main product. CPS changed back to Blackboard during the last month.

“Blackboard continues to support Angel as a Learning Management System, but there were no plans for future development of the Angel product,” Nichols said. “Instead, development would be focused on the Blackboard System.”

Other than the name change and a slightly different design, Blackboard and Angel are essentially the same. However, CPS will only use the features Blackboard offers that are similar to Angel, like the document sharing and calendar abilities. Unlike the version MU uses, CPS students will not be able to check their grades using the new Learning Management System.

Students say any change can be difficult.

“I like Angel because it is simple and easy to understand,” junior Jacob Wilson said. “I hope Blackboard will be the same.”

Until the district completely changes over to Blackboard, Angel will still be temporarily available for CPS teachers and students.

By Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Kafi

What do you think of Angel? Have you used Blackboard? Do you wish everyone would just get on Google Docs?

One Response to District will replace Angel with Blackboard

  1. Julie Nichols February 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

    CPS is using all features available with our Blackboard subscription and is not limiting use to those similar to Angel. Students are able to view their grades in Angel and Blackboard if the classroom teacher chooses to use the grade book features of the Learning Management Systems. Blackboard actually offers advanced grading features that Angel did not offer. Hopefully more classrooms will take advantage of using Blackboard to provide students with 24/7 access to resources.

    Reply

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