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ANGEL Here to Stay (For Now)

News has been circulating around the Penn State community that Penn State Information Technology Services will not be renewing its contract with Blackboard for the ANGEL Course Management System (CMS). The speculation stemmed from an article published by the Collegian, stating that “ITS officials say the university will not be renewing its contract with ANGEL.”

ANGEL Program Manager Terry O’Heron says differently. In an email sent to Onward State, O’Heron notes that, in 2009, Blackboard Inc. purchased ANGEL Learning Inc.

Blackboard is planning for”end-of-life for ANGEL” to be in 2014 and that Blackboard “will integrate the best of ANGEL functionality into their CMS.” He goes on to state that ITS will be “renewing the ANGEL license and maintenance agreement with Blackboard for next year” and that they have four additional option-years through 2014.

ITS has begun evaluating alternatives to the ANGEL system starting with beta testing of Moodle, an open-source course management system, and Desire 2 Learn (D2L), another major player in higher education course management systems. The beta testing began this semester of Moodle and D2L, and ITS will be testing Blackboard in the spring. ITS has created focus groups for both faculty and students at University Park and the commonwealth campuses. Their plan is to make a recommendation at some point in the summer whether or not to stick with ANGEL until 2014 (and possibly beyond, the license includes the option to continue using ANGEL without Blackboard support after the product cycle is terminated) or to move to one of the alternatives.

O’Heron also notes that if ITS does “decide not to stay with ANGEL, transition to a new product will take a few years.”

So it looks like Penn State will be continuing to use ANGEL for at least a few more years.

About the Author

Chase Tralka

Chase Tralka is a Senior majoring in Information Sciences and Technology with a minor in Security and Risk Analysis. He is from Northern New Jersey and is involved in far too many organizations to list here. He enjoys photography, cycling, and listening to obscure free jazz music.


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