Mount Union College to Launch A New Global Environment for Learning (ANGEL) Course Management System
April 22, 2010
As of January 1, 2007, Mount Union will be launching A New Global Environment for Learning (ANGEL), a learning/course management system that will give faculty and students a new set of innovative tools. ANGEL will provide users with the opportunity to meet online and share course content, discussions, materials and information, extending class contact hours.
This new Course Management System (CMS), also called Learning Management System, is a secure location for teaching and learning activities such as course syllabus, class content and activities posting, course calendars, class announcements, a digital drop box for student assignments, interaction and communication via email, debate forums and class chat sessions. Such interaction may be between students and faculty or among students. This may include peer tutoring, online office hours or class discussions.
Other features of ANGEL include online assessments like practice exams with multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, matching, short answer and essay questions. Students also have the ability to learn course material through crossword puzzles, a jeopardy game and flashcards.
Online polls and surveys, access to online resources such as Mount Union's library and automated online course enrollment are additional possibilities. ANGEL also includes an online gradebook where faculty can post grades throughout the semester and students can view their grades confidentially.
Beginning next year, Mount Union will have licensed 3,000 students and faculty members to use ANGEL, which will be accessible anywhere, anytime via the internet. Students will go to https://angel.muc.edu and enter the same username and password as their Mount Union login.
Dr. Jacque Mumford, manager of instructional technologies in Information Technology (IT) on campus, is one of the facilitators helping train interested faculty on how to use ANGEL. Mumford said she is extremely excited that Mount Union has access to ANGEL.
'Mount Union College having this is a tremendous accomplishment,' Mumford said. 'It is one of the coolest things Mount has ever done.'
Mumford said it is up to the academic discretion of every instructor to use ANGEL, but professors are encouraged to use ANGEL if it will help their teaching and their students' learning.
'One of the best attributes of ANGEL is that it allows professors to use class materials they already have in a different way,' Mumford said.
Mumford said it is important to keep in mind that ANGEL is a supplement teaching tool and face-to-face instruction is crucial.
'ANGEL is not replacing the professor,' Mumford said. 'Instead, it is an alternative way of delivering instruction.'
Dr. Jim Kadlecek, assistant professor of human performance and sport management, has also been helping instruct faculty on using ANGEL. Kadlecek said he is a strong advocate of ANGEL and has been using it for the past three semesters.
'Assisting with teaching and learning is where ANGEL is really beneficial,' Kadlecek said.
Kadlecek says what he likes about ANGEL is its ability for the instructor to give immediate feedback to students. He also said ANGEL is very convenient and easy to use with all course materials and resources right there in a secured site.
'You don't have to be a master IT student to use it,' Kadlecek said. 'ANGEL was designed with education in mind, so it is incredibly user-friendly for faculty and students.'
Kadlecek said he enjoys using ANGEL because it allows his class to become more discussion based. He says he can have his students read articles, take quizzes or start discussions on ANGEL so students can come to class more prepared and ready to continue discussion.
'ANGEL allows you to use your time differently,' Kadlecek said. 'Class time becomes more enriching because students are not spending time doing things that can be done outside the classroom.'
In addition to ANGEL, Mount Union received a grant from AT&T and the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC) for faculty development. The grant is entitled 'PostcastU.' A foundation for this grant was created in spring 2006, when the College entered into an agreement with Apple Computers for participation in their iTunesU program.
iTunesU makes it possible for Mount Union's faculty to record and broadcast audio or video from lectures and speakers. Students will be able to go to a special iTunesU (or ANGEL) website for Mount Union College to access and download these resources to their iPods, mp3players, computers, laptop or cell phones.
'Both iTunesU and PodcastU provide students with learning anytime, anywhere opportunities which will supplement the face-to-face learning and interaction our traditional classes provide,' Mumford said. 'Although ANGEL will be the major initiative this spring, and it will bring faculty and students innovative new ways to deliver instruction, iTunesU and PodcastU will offer more variety to the instructors' technology tool boxes. Students will be able to download content such as videos, lectures, audio files from the iTunes or ANGEL areas and have those materials for review or other learning opportunities.'