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Conversation #69: Xavier Students Talk About Brightspace

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Xavier students talk about Brightspace.

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Transcript:

Jason Todd: This is J.Todd, associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development at Xavier University of Louisiana. This episode of our podcast will be a bit different than usual. This week, we’re going to hear from some of /xavier’s students about our new learning management system, Brightspace, which Xavier began using this past January, after more than a decade with BlackBoard- probably the most well known LMS. as everyone in academia knows, change can be difficult. So we thought we’d reach out to students to see how they were handling such a significant change. We spoke to students on Xavier’s Technology Day on March 20, so you may hear some background chatter. When students stopped by our booth, we simply asked them what they liked and what they didn’t like about Brightspace. Overall, I’d say the switch to Brightspace has been a success, even if it hasn’t been a perfectly smooth transition. The students seemed to really appreciate the clean look and the greater accessibility in Brightspace, but the most common complaint was about the availability of grades for tests and assignments. But enough from me, let’s hear what the students had to say.

- Freshman, Biology Pre-med major:

“My professors use Brightspace in order to post coursework that’s due in our syllabuses [sic]. Every week, one of my professor’s, he posts a blog where we can submit it. I like the fact that when we submit stuff, Brightspace sends you an email to confirm that you actually submitted it. I don’t like the fact that when your professors post on Brightspace, you don’t get like an email notification.”

- Junior, Biology major:

“I can honestly say that this has been a lot better than BlackBoard. It took a while to get used to it, but I am really liking it. I like it- Orange is the new BlackBoard- that’s cute.”

- Sophomore, Public Health major:

“I do enjoy Brightspace. The only issue I will ever have with it, for now, is that the mobile app doesn’t work. But the online system, it’s easy to navigate, everything’s clear and understanding, it works for me as a student here at Xavier.”

- Junior, Biology Pre-med major:

“Compared to the last thing that we had [BlackBoard], I actually enjoy Brightspace a lot better. I feel like it’s just more efficient, it’s easier to navigate, and I also like that they have the helpful videos to find where everything is at. Even my teachers have said that they like Brightspace, so I love it and I hope that we continue to use it.”

- Junior, Computer Science major:

“From going from BlackBoard to Brightspace, I really enjoy Brightspace a lot more because BlackBoard has been going down a lot since I’ve been here. I really like how Brightspace is set up- where I can see all the classes displayed in the view- and it’s pretty easy to maneuver around. I’d say it’s easier than BlackBoard, honestly, and it hasn’t gone down yet- that’s the good thing I like about it.”

- Sophomore, Computer Science major:

“I do like that from the homescreen, it is easy to get to my classes and figure out discussions or check my grades. I don’t like how- I guess since my teacher says that it’s difficult for them to use it, or like they just don’t sometimes- it makes it hard for me to find my grades sometimes. But other than that, it’s cool.”

- Senior, Psychology major:

“Brightspace is a little bit better than BlackBoard because there’s less issues, but there is an issue because my teachers don’t necessarily know how to use it. But me- as a student- I do know how to use it. Maybe there could be more teacher tutorials.”

- Sophomore, Sales and Marketing major:

“I find Brightspace to be a handy tool that, upon learning how to work, is pretty useful. However, it’s March, and literally yesterday I was finally able to work the mobile app without it crashing on me, so- I mean- obviously there’s some bugs here and there. But I find it to be kind of useful that it doesn’t crash every week.”

- Sophomore, Public Health major:

“I like Brightspace. It’s better than our old system: it’s easier to work, everything is right there at your fingertips, you can see everything, and it looks really good- I like the design of it.”

- Junior, Chemistry major:

“My opinion on Brightspace is that it’s really clean. I really like it. I like the style and the font and whatnot. Interface is pretty cool. It tells my classes- okay, click there. Grade-wise, I mean trying to figure out my grades is a little confusing, like there’s a lot going on, so simple it down just a little bit- it’d be pretty cool. I don’t really have anything much to say except positivity. I like it- I don’t know- it’s just super clean, and that’s it.”

- Student:

“Overall, I like it. It’s better than BlackBoard. It doesn’t crash a lot. The only thing I don’t like is when I take quizzes and tests, my grade pops up as a zero- but I don’t know if it’s on the teacher’s end or if it’s on our end. But other than that, it’s a good program.”

So what’s an ideal turnaround, for grades to pop up on Brightspace?

“I don’t know-I guess the teacher have to input it.”

Like immediately? Like once you take the test?

“Yes. like BlackBoard used to do that: when you finish a quiz or a test, your grade automatically pops up. But Brightspace, it doesn’t. It gives you a zero. So your average automatically goes down. So I can have an A in the class and if I get a zero, it goes down to a C. that’s the only thing I don’t like.”

- Sophomore, Biology Engineering major:

“I would say that my experience with Brightspace is good. I like the fact that I’m able to see any notes that my teachers make. I like that they’re able to put announcements on there. I also like how they’ve divided the categories up between content, assignments- it makes it easier to find whatever you need. The only thing that is a little bit challenging- I would say- is when you’re trying to download a document, sometimes it will pop up, and sometimes it won’t.”

- Junior, Psychology major, History minor:

“What I love about Brightspace is that everything’s really easy to access and your grades come instantly- like as soon as your teacher posts them in. So far, what I don’t like about Brightspace is- I really don’t have anything.”

- Sophomore, Psychology major:

“I was actually in the pilot study for Brightspace. I think it’s a lot better. It’s a lot easier to use- especially as far as being able to message each other in class, being able to see assignments is a lot easier, just being able to have access to everything available. We’ve never had any issues where Brightspace was down or we couldn’t use it. Even as far as submitting assignments, it’s a lot easier than just having us do it through TurnItIn or another website. And then it just makes it easier for the teachers to comment on our assignments and send it back tous, so it’s been really good.”

- Senior, Biology Pre-med major:

“It was a little adjustment- being a senior- last semester switching over. But as far as it goes, I think it works a lot better than BlackBoard. I feel like- for the kids, for al the people, for all the incoming freshman coming in- doing a little tutorial in the summertime would make things go a little bit more smoothly. Other than that, I think it’s a lot easier to use than- like I said- BlackBoard, so I think it’s a good change.”

- Sophomore, Biology major:

“It’s a lot more colorful than it was on BLackBoard. I like it so far- my teachers who use it- it’s easy for the content to be used, easy to migrate.”

- Sophomore, Computer Science major:

“My opinion on Brightspace is that it’s better than BlackBoard because there’s less glitches. I feel like I can clearly see what my professors have outlined for me to do. Plus, I like the white background better because I think it’s cleaner.”

- Junior, Psychology major, Public Health minor:

“Brightspace, I think it was a big adjustment compared to BlackBoard. I think that with Brightspace, we do have an increased amount of workload and it’s difficult to keep track of everything. Even though all of our dates are on there, but it’s kind of clashed together on the homepage and everything. But it’s another transition.”

- Senior

“I really enjoy Brightspace. It’s a lot easier to navigate. I like how everything’s right in front of your face. It would be a lot easier if the teachers knew how to navigate and upload stuff- that would make things a lot better. One thing I’ve heard my teachers complain about is that Brightspace is not connected to TurnItIn, so they complain about having to do extra manual labor there. But other than that, I like Brightspace. As a student, it’s very easy to navigate. I like how you can see everything- it’s very clean and modern.”

Transcribed by Raye’ Tabor

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