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about 2 years ago
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Penn Staters for a Better ANGEL

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If you logged onto ANGEL last week, you might have seen a new notice on the homepage encouraging students, faculty, and staff to give their input for future improvements, because apparently the much maligned course management system is going to be sticking around for a long time:

As Penn State plans to make ANGEL available to the University community for several more years, Information Technology Services (ITS) wishes to ensure the system effectively meets faculty objectives and course needs. ITS has collected enhancement suggestions from ANGEL users and arranged them by category on the survey. Survey takers are asked to vote for the enhancements in each of the categories they consider most important.

The survey will be open until February 4 and offers a plethora of options on how to make the course management system better. You will need to log in with your Penn State user ID to take the survey, available here.

The survey — a daunting eleven pages long — might look like an arduous task, but it takes less than 15 minutes to complete. The nice thing about the survey is that it’s not just open to University Park students. It’s open to students at every single campus who might use ANGEL differently than their UP counterparts.

On the main page of the survey, you are asked to identify three categories that are the most important to you. The list includes assessments, calendar, content, course mail, discussion forum, grade book, and roster management. However, you will still be asked questions on how to improve all aspects of ANGEL, despite picking the three that matter most to you.

The questions asked allow you to pick up to three or five choices for improvements you want. For example, in the assessments section, you can only choose three things. The LMS-### before the improvement ideas aren’t as important as the actual ideas themselves, like instructors having a review up before a test, in what I would assume to be in a format like the actual tests/quizzes on ANGEL. That could be particularly useful for people who are not familiar with ANGEL’s assessment setup.

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Meanwhile, the content section is chock full of much more useful suggestions, like being able to print your syllabus, instead of jumping through all sorts of obstacles with a PDF viewer or Word to print it out. Printing via the ANGEL software itself sounds much easier than going through other applications!

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Unfortunately, there aren’t really any places to put in your own suggestions, except for a comment box at the end of the survey where you can write down any other thoughts you may have about the software.

There also aren’t any options for getting rid of some not-so-useful things in ANGEL, like having the “milestones” or “learner profile” sections under the Report tab. Does anybody actually use those?

Do you have any ideas or suggestions that could make ANGEL better for the Penn State community? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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