Academics & Research

Students, faculty use online resources

The future of education continues to move toward online-based programs, allowing for more instantaneous communication between student and teacher.

UH has its own online interface systems in CASA and Blackboard Vista and Learn. Students and teachers both seem to have positive relations with these programs.

“I like it because I can organize my classes there, and I can communicate with my students,” said Spanish professor Edgar Vargas about Blackboard. “I think it is a good tool to help the instructor.”

“It’s all up there on the website, and I don’t have to worry too badly if I miss class,” said multimedia communications senior Karla Rodriguez.

Other students are more ambiguous about these information technology tools.

“I like Blackboard. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either,” said corporate communications alumna Mary Andress-Reed. “Instructors need more training in the use of Blackboard and its utilities that are beneficial for the instructors and students.”

Access to grades, assignments and announcements, as well as the ability to send e-mails to everyone in the class, are all features of the Blackboard program. Professors are able to link to other websites to provide supplemental material that students can access on their own time.

“I frequently use web-based links in lectures, especially in advertising courses, although most of the content originated on television or radio,” said Catherine Burch Graham, instructional assistant professor for the School of Communication.

“I provide my lectures there following each class. Having the slides reinforces the material and allows students to participate in more active listening during each lecture. I previously used Vista and now use Learn as I understand it will be the only option eventually.”

According to the UH website, two different versions of Blackboard are being used during the fall. Vista — the older version — will continue being used by 900 courses, while Learn — the newer version — will be used by the remaining 900 courses.

Terence Jackson, UH information technology center aide, explained that the courses are split in order to try out Blackboard Learn while maintaining access to the Blackboard Vista, which will no longer be used after the fall.

“Blackboard Learn is the one that is taking it to the next generation of online learning,” Jackson said.

Though Blackboard can be a useful teaching tool, not all instructors use the it. Adjunct professor Carolyn Canville ignores Blackboard in favor of trade-related software.

“My career background is TV news, and we don’t use Blackboard in TV news,” Canville said. “There, it’s iNews and similar programs, and those are the programs my students will need when they get jobs in TV or radio newsrooms.”

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