Making a shift


photo by Bailey Fisher

Victoria Tomeo, Staff Reporter

At first look, ePassport, the main foundation of eCampus, is overwhelming. It shows several applications such as Discovery Ed, i-Ready, Pearson, Skyward, and eCampus. With the departure of Blackboard, teachers and students are getting used to the new and improved system, which provides more features and a free download of Microsoft Office 365.  

“eCampus allows teachers to design irresistible online content that goes well beyond what we’ve traditionally thought possible in a learning management system,” school board member and former chairman, Dede Schaffner said. 

New technologies have been introduced to the county that make the gap between teacher and student smaller in terms of obtaining grades, assignments and missing work. One of the new technologies of eCampus is the ability for teachers to give quizzes and tests that will be graded and uploaded to Skyward instantaneously. Teachers can arrange any type of content into their courses, which allows them to collaborate with students and parents using discussions, text, audio, video and even live conferencing. 

Teachers and students can also tell eCampus how they would like notifications and how often those communications should occur, which is a distinctive difference between eCampus and Blackboard. 

“I think the students probably prefer Blackboard over eCampus because they’re used to it. I call it Blackboard all the time even though I mean eCampus,” science teacher Sarah Evans said. 

Students have been programmed to know the works of Blackboard, so it is difficult for teachers to introduce a new system. Teachers have expressed their approval for the new foundation and some have said that they love how eCampus does not have as many issues as Blackboard did.  

While very few problems with eCampus have been reported, some students and teachers are still stuck on Blackboard.  

“It is not a question of preference of eCampus over Blackboard, but that eCampus is a technological advancement. In order to help prepare students better for their futures, schools must provide the most recent forms of enhanced educational resources when possible,” principal Dr. Mary Williams said. 
 The school board is also being cautious about this change by being extra careful with introducing the new system to teachers and students. eCampus is more user-friendly and intuitive than Blackboard, which allows students and teachers to participate in learning 24/7.  

“Obviously, there is some anxiety associated with implementing a large new system across the entire school district,” Dede Schaffner said. 

Despite the challenges of adapting to a new and improved system, according to Dede Schaffner, eCampus will help the students in the future.  
“Many colleges and universities are adopting this system, including UCF, UF, and SSC,” Schaffner said, “This ensures that our students enjoy a seamless online learning experience from kindergarten through college.”