AsULearn upgraded at the start of the semester

Stephanie Sansoucy

Appalachian State University’s learning management system, AsULearn, was upgraded Aug. 9 in order to benefit students and faculty with the latest available features, Director of Learning Technology Services Steve Breiner said.

The new version gives instructors and students an up-to-date interface of the software that will continue to add features in the future, according to Learning Technology Services’ website.

Some of the features available with the new version include the ability to drag and drop files, a rubric grading option, improved quiz functions, and a more “mobile-friendly” interface, according to LTS.

Another major reason for the upgrade was that Moodle, the development company for AsULearn, will no longer be providing security updates and fixes for the old version. As a result, the upgrade was necessary to protect past data.

Concerning the timing of the upgrade, Breiner said there was never a perfect time to launch the new version.

“We did not want to start using it in the middle of a summer school session or wait until Christmas break to make it available,” Breiner said. “Launching it in the couple weeks before the fall semester started was going to be the best option we had.”

Breiner also said the “old” AsULearn has remained available in order to keep past data available for instructors to move into the new version.

“There are more and more instructors taking advantage of the upgraded version everyday,” Breiner said. “We will be providing workshops and webinars soon for faculty and students to help them get acclimated to the features.”

Breiner said approximately 80 percent of the faculty has transitioned into using the new version, while others are continuing to use “old” AsULearn for now.

Political science professor Curtis Ryan continues to use the “old” AsULearn.
“I’m not against the two,” Ryan said. “I am sticking with the ‘old’ for now since I could import a great deal of material from earlier versions. It just needs some lead time for all of us [instructors] to figure out the newer version.”

The old AsULearn will be shifted to “archive mode” this upcoming January, Breiner said. At that point, all instructors and students will use the new version.

Appalachian is not the only university to upgrade to the 2.5.1 version of Moodle’s software. The University of North Carolina Charlotte and North Carolina State University are also making the upgrade.

While there have been four or five available upgrades since AsULearn was commissioned in 2009, Breiner said that none of them were exactly what Appalachian needed to achieve its goals for the system.

“It has been an evolution of the software,” Breiner said. “There were certainly things we would have liked to have been able to do with the old AsULearn, but it just wasn’t able to support them. We are very excited about what the next version will provide.”

Story: GERRIT VAN GENDEREN, Intern News Reporter