With various sites for student- to-teacher interaction like Blackboard, Gradebook and Syllabus Builder, BYU’s online resources for viewing assignments, grades and syllabi could often be confusing. The new Learning Suite combines all the functions of these previously separate systems.
The vision behind the program
Jeff Fox, associate director at the Center for Learning, has been working on Learning Suite since day one. The administration asked Fox, among others, to create a more user-friendly program than those available. The Center for Learning helped implement programs like Syllabus Builder and Gradebook. Fox knew the system would get clunky with so many programs, so Learning Suite was created.
“We have taken the ideas we’ve developed and implemented those as just pieces of the Learning Suite,” Fox said.
The new software will help both students and faculty. Students will no longer have to go from site to site to access class information. Faculty members no longer have to post information on scores of websites to help students understand class expectations.
Operating the new system
The login process for Learning Suite is identical to most systems on the BYU website. After visiting learningsuite.byu.edu, login using a Net ID and password. The home page for Learning Suite, where information on courses will be available, will then open. The layout is similar to Blackboard but cleaner. On the left hand side are some of the typical links found on the top of the Blackboard page like course lists and announcements.
Some of the new links will be files, messages and learning outcomes. The sidebar will change with each course, just like Blackboard. A help tab is located on the top right. The transition to Learning Suite may be confusing at first. Fox said 55 students are helping faculty migrate information from the other programs to Learning Suite.
“It’s going to be a fairly straightforward thing for students to use,” Fox said.
What’s in Learning Suite
Several functions enhance the classroom experience. Uploading files on Blackboard was often slow and restricted to single-file upload. On Learning Suite, a multi-file upload will be available for classes.
Learning Suite also has a new content presentation system where movies, PowerPoint presentations and other resources can be posted. Exams and quizzes also can be accessed on Learning Suite.
The greatest improvement will be the inter-program communication. An assignment found on the syllabus will automatically be on the grades.
Learning Suite is a constantly changing program. Fox said this is only the first version. As problems arise or revisions are needed, the program will be updated. Fox said new tools will be added for students.
“This will be a growing and changing environment,” he said.
What you need to know about Learning Suite:
Learning Suite replaced programs like Blackboard, Gradebook and Syllabus Builder. Learning Suite is similar to earlier programs. It compiles all these tools into one. Learning Suite will be updated as necessary with new tools and upgrades.