In a move that will save Ithaca College money and answer complaints, Information Technology Services is switching from Blackboard to a new courseware learning system — Sakai.
Blackboard, which has never been very popular among faculty and students, costs the college a six-figure price annually. Sakai will cost the college less than $50,000 a year. The college will be saving money that it can use in other areas.
Sakai will include RSS feeds from sources like The New York Times and embedded content that includes videos, blogs and social media. As more faculty use social media and technology in the classroom, Sakai will be another tool for them to use. Sakai is a way to incorporate current events and other opinions into a course. If used correctly and effectively, Sakai could be a valuable tool to use in teaching and learning.
As the pilot program for Sakai goes into use Fall 2011, ITS should monitor it closely and gather feedback from students and faculty before it officially launches the program in September 2012. If there are any complaints from users, ITS should find a way to fix the issue. In the past, students and faculty have complained that Blackboard has been down when they needed to use the system. ITS must find ways to make sure the system is consistent.
As the college looks toward the future with IC20/20, Sakai can be included in a way to move forward.