The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Online course registration freeze fixed

Problems with the online courses’ operating system, Blackboard, have been fixed since Tuesday, August 31, according to Howard Story, the supervisor of the Distance Education Program.

“The concern was that you can’t receive information about class ’til you get put into the system. Students could fall behind in classes and the faculty was upset because the syllabus might have to be adjusted,” Story said.

Students who registered for online classes found that they couldn’t access their classes because they couldn’t get in the internet program even after school had started.

“It really upset me to find that Blackboard wasn’t working. A week ago, I was trying to register and it kept telling me the system was down,” Johnetta Mailner, business major said.

WebCT and Blackboard are operating systems where professors can get online to post course information such as the class syllabus and assignments so that students can access them on the net. Rio Hondo College is the host of El Camino and 24 colleges in the Los Angeles Region’s Virtual Campus Program.

“Since the college decided to switch everyone from using WebCT and Blackboard to only using Blackboard for sake of unity, the ITS Department had to work to send the files to Rio Hondo,” Story said.

The files for registration were required by Rio Hondo to be in a certain format, so the ITS Department of El Camino had to work manually to get everyone uploaded, which was the reason for the delay in getting the system up for everyone to use according to Story.

“Our online courses have expanded so much since it started, it really has mushroomed, ” Story said.

Many students choose to do online courses because it would save them time from having to go to class on a weekly basis.

“Online classes are convenient and you get to do things at your own pace,” Natasha Mason, social work major said.

With word of the convenience of Blackboard growing, even more people are looking to add into the system.

“Traditional course instructors have been hearing about the capabilities of the programs and want to put their course material on the internet also,”Story said.

The idea is not to replace traditional class settings, but Blackboard offers message boards and internet help for students to aid in their learning.

“If that were to happen, then we are talking about the whole student population. That’s great because it shows how crucial it is for us to work with ITS to make an automatic process to upload everyone,” Story said.

The ITS department is working on writing a program where all a person has to do is type in the section number. The computer will then automatically read all the names registered in that class and put them in the correct format.

“Ideally, in the future, we will host our own program so that we don’t have to send the information back and forth like we have to now,” Story said.

With the growth of technology and the demand of Blackboard, it’s still unknown of the chances of EC hosting their own system because it all depends on the budget granted by the state.

“Right now, we are all done with the registered students. We are just working to add in students that later added into the classes,” Story said.

Despite the small office for the Distance Education Program, and with only one person fully committed to work with the program, the goals are still set high to improve, Story said.

“We are going to be working all semester, perhaps all year for a program that will work seamlessly in the future,” Story said.

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