De La Salle University, spearheaded by the Information Technology Services (ITS) is planning to launch a new Learning Management System (LMS) called Animo Space, built based on the Canvas LMS software. To orient students and professors on the transition and use of this new feature, the University held a town hall session in the fifth floor of Henry Sy Sr. Hall last December 3.
The purpose of Animo Space is to standardize the LMS used by professors, which the administration hopes will be maximized by faculty, particularly those in Blended Learning courses.
The University plans to slowly introduce Animo Space over the whole academic year. A pilot test was conducted during Term 1 of Academic Year 2018-2019 among students in the College of Computer Studies as well as those belonging to Senior High School. As demonstrated in a video presented during the meeting, the system was met with positive feedback from the testers.
Pilot professors have also been receiving training in the use of this system. With plans to formally launch Animo Space in the second term of the current academic year, professors were requested to at least upload their course syllabi and materials already to the website. ITS will also be gathering feedback on the system from professors and students after the launch. As clarified by the office, Sakai, one of the LMS presently being used in DLSU, will still be available for use during this transition.
Come first term of the following academic year, they will hold an open conference on the adoption of the system to iron out any remaining concerns, after which they will finalize its implementation in the University.
Features of the new LMS
Animo Space functions like most LMS: it is a way for professors to facilitate online classes, administer quizzes, and provide a space for students to submit papers. However, Animo Space had a few extra features that were demonstrated during the townhall meeting. Among them is the ability for professors to view quiz statistics, which provide information on the correct and incorrect answers students make on a particular item. This can aid professors in assessing what topics the students are able to understand.
Professors can also control the time when the answers to quizzes are made available rather than revealing answers immediately after the quiz is answered. The Library also contributed its online collection to the platform, ensuring easy access to any course material that may be required by professors. Turnitin functionality is also available on the platform
Professors were also oriented during the meeting on the process of preparing courses and classes through the system. One notable advantage mentioned during the meeting is the digitization of class lists, which will be distributed on the first week of the term. This eliminates the need for a printed copy of class lists currently used by professors.
On the other hand, during the open forum, professors expressed concerns over the implementation of Animo Space. Among their concerns was the potential inflexibility of the system, citing that the standardization required might make it harder for non-points based grading systems to be done.
In response to this, ITS assured faculty that non-points based grading systems are possible under Animo Space but did not clarify how it would be done.
Another concern raised was on infrastructure problems, such as latency issues, lack of availability of smart rooms and computer labs, and the inability of some students to bring their own laptop for accessing the website, which were based on the problems encountered by faculty who have had experiences with the Canvas system.
ITS responded to those concerns by citing plans of creating an account system for accessing the University’s wireless internet services, thereby limiting the number of devices consuming bandwidth and hopefully reducing latency issues. They also urged both students and faculty to raise any further concerns they may have through their email address.