Heading into Week 2, students are getting familiar with UC’s new Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), UCLearn, and its range of new features including auto-fill calendars, chat rooms and its mobile app.
The change to UCLearn is a big one for both staff and continuing students, who had been using the platform Moodle since 2008. However, this was no impulse decision: the change had been in the works since 2015, when the university underwent a major review of Moodle.
In September 2015, the university conducted surveys and workshops with students, staff and senior management to gain insight into the community’s perception of Moodle. Based on the outcome, UC ran a complex and successful procurement process, which led them to implementing the Learning Management System, Canvas, and their own custom VLE.
Acting Director of Teaching and Learning, Dr Kim Blackmore, said that decision is based on UC’s commitment to using world-renowned learning technology that focuses on communities which build positive teaching and learning journeys.
“UC’s VLE is an eco-system of interrelated online services and tools that comprise the primary means of enabling and supporting the teaching, learning and research activities of its staff and students,” said Dr Blackmore.
Canvas is used by universities on a global scale, with notable institutions including University of Chicago, Columbia University, and University of Sydney.
In an Introduction to UCLearn (Canvas) video, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Professor Nick Klomp, assured students that it will be “easier and smoother to use … you’ll find it great”.
Dr Blackmore described this as an obvious change, with different colours and a new way of organising information.
“UC has applied a standard look and feel and navigation to all teaching sites, so a student’s experience will be consistent regardless of which faculty they are in, or what unit they are studying,”
“Once students have learned their way around one UCLearn teaching site, they will understand where to find information in any other teaching site. This will free up students to engage more deeply with the learning experience,” said Kim.
So far, 400 students have self-enrolled into the An Introduction to UCLearn (Canvas) site, which offers support and information about the transition.
For further assistance with UCLearn, go to either the Study Help site (located within the ‘Help’ section of the main navigation bar at the very top) or the ASK Advisors on Level B of the Library. Canvas also offers 24/7 support which is accessible via live chat, free phone call and web form.