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Chief of Staff, Molly Pennington, left, listens to Treasurer, Trinity Robinson, right, at the student senate meeting in Walter Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 14 2022.

Student Senate hears Blackboard upgrade plan

Correction and clarification appended.

Ohio University Student Senate met Wednesday evening to discuss the university’s learning management system, Blackboard, and its future at OU.

Chris Ament, Chief Information Officer of OU’s Office of Information and Technology, or OIT, presented that the university is working to launch Digital One Stop, a single, central web and mobile app that connects students to key services and information, and evaluating an upgrade to the learning management system.

Eszti Major-Rohrer, manager of Enterprise Learning Systems in the OIT, said that Blackboard needs to be upgraded to Blackboard Ultra or the university will need to adopt an entirely new learning system for OU students.

Ament said that OIT wanted to discuss the issue at the Student Senate meeting because student engagement in this issue could cause the university to change its learning system platform and focus on improving the student experience.

“I am for changing Blackboard. I think so many students recognize it’s just not working the way it needs to be,” Dayna Shoulders, Student Senate president, said. “I think something that's going to be really interesting is the OneStop platform that they are working on so I am hoping more students will give feedback.”

Digital One Stop offers critical aspects of a learning management system like grades, current courses, course offerings, scheduling adviser meetings and listing information about your major, Major-Rohrer said.

Major-Rohrer said that universities like Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati use Canvas, another learning system vendor. 

OU has used Blackboard for 20 years, and OIT believes that they should upgrade to Blackboard Ultra, or applications that other universities use, Major-Rohrer said.

Correction appended: A previous version of this article stated that Chris Ament presented the idea of switching from Blackboard to Digital One Stop when it should have said that the university is working to launch Digital One Stop and evaluating an upgrade to the learning management system (Blackboard). This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.

Clarification appended: OU will be evaluating learning management systems from multiple vendors. The expected outcome of the RFP is that OU either moves to Blackboard Learn Ultra, which offers an upgraded interface to improve user experience, or changes to a new learning management system.


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