You have heard us refer to the larger ‘vision’ for the “eCampus” and you may wonder why we didn’t just call it Canvas, or brand the site as eLearning. Here is a bit more on our thoughts.
On a very practical level, the eCampus idea was reinforced when we reflected on the need to change wording about Angel on the public eLearning Web site. I didn’t count how many places we referred to the old name there and in handouts, but it was a lot! We brainstormed a bit about what else we could call it to eliminate confusion, and so we’d not have to change it ever again (like when the next LMS comes along…heaven forbid!).
We actually started out with eLearning on the log In page. We quickly decided that would be confusing. Suppose you had a question about logging in and we were to ask you, “Have you been to eLearning?” That seemed to make it more difficult to work with students. “Are you referring to the Canvas site or the campus offices?” So, we worked with Marcom to arrive at eCampus and they crafted a visual to go with that concept.
eCampus made sense for a couple additional reasons.
We made a big processing change this fall. There is a classroom shell for every course in the Class Schedule (eSchedule). That means we created an account for every student that enrolls and gave them access to those classrooms. Everyone in our Pierce instructional community is using the system. It was not a big leap to think, the same online tools that support teaching and learning (discussions, Web meetings, quizzes/surveys, calendars, modular presentation of content and personal messaging) can also support other interactions with student services and student programs! Students who can’t readily come to campus could get support services in the same way the online courses support their learning experiences.
Having a rich, interactive environment that supports all learners, not just those taking fully online or Hybrid classes, makes a great deal of sense, as well. The public Web site offers a lot of information and some personal data when using Web tools like MyPierce. That information most often gets used in partnership with faculty and staff, like during “New Student Orientations” or advising sessions. Why not get your information and have the opportunity to use it all online? The tools are available to avoid having to print it out and bring it to an office on campus. This idea aligns with an element of our eLearning mission and is reflected in what we see in the world around us; “21st century students at Pierce College thrive in a mobile, collaborative, personally networked, anytime, always learning environment.
Another ‘awesome’ thing about the Canvas platform is it’s open software architecture and capability to integrate other Web tools to share information and offer a seamless user experience. Called Learning Tools Interoperability, it opens the door to an interactive portal-like experience. Achieve the Dream sub-groups have been looking at third-party tools like Cranium Cafe that offer appointment scheduling with online staff, easy web meetings and collaborative work. Picture going over a form or planning Web site and then capturing the work done with your adviser. That ‘work’ can be readily available for later review or sharing.
That is a nice vision, but don’t expect 24 by 7 access to services students typically use! Like the construction of a physical campus, we are just starting the “Master Planning” effort. It takes time to rethink processes. We need to design them so they work well, protect student privacy, simplify effort and eliminate confusion. It also takes a great deal of training to get college personnel skilled at using the system and designing their services in ways that tap into the capabilities found in the Pierce eCampus. We are just beginning that planning and will want to be sure to focus on high priority areas that lead to access, engagement and success.
We invite you to share your ideas for taking the eCampus to the next level. What would you like to try today? What parts of our community do you see being served by the eCampus? Post and discuss below!