Do not attempt to adjust your screens; this is how the new UBLearns really looks.
Students were in for a surprise when they signed on to their UBLearns accounts for the first time this semester – the entire format of the website had been changed. It looks different, the links are different, and the content is different. Upgraded on Jan. 8, UBLearns version 9.1 hopes to make use of the website easier for students.
The only problem was, students were not exactly informed of this change and how the new format would be set up. Many students did not go out of their ways to look up the features of the new website, and were unfamiliar with the new system when they attempted to use it this semester.
"I did not know that there was going to be a new version [of UBLearns]," said Cassandra Warsaw, a freshman pharmacy major. "I could not find the readings that my professor assigned for my class…my [other] professor had trouble posting homework."
Many professors use UBLearns as a primary form of communication between themselves and their students, so it is important to know how to use the website.
The UBLearns help website created a page detailing a few features of the new site and ways to help students familiarize themselves with the new look. The site stated that the new format should help faculty members to more easily organize their courses and connect with their students, and that students will be better informed of their assignments and due dates with the new dashboard. The new version also added new features for instructors that allow them to more easily manage their courses.
Version 9.1 introduces a new drag-and-drop function to improve organization, a relocation of the Control Panel to a side menu, and a customizable Home Page. The UBLearns support team declined to comment on the program's new format.
The school is doing its part to help students and staff to become familiar with the program so they will be able to effectively use it in the future. A free workshop called UBLearns: What's New was held last Friday for students and faculty to introduce them to the new features of version 9.1.
"We taught [students and faculty] about the new features, the change of interface, and the terminology of the new version," said Christopher Wells, a student assistant at the Teaching and Learning Center. "The new version is exciting to look at, easy to navigate, and there is more you can do with it. There is now a homepage, a new module, and easier access to course content."
As for the problems that have been reported, Wells says that many can be explained by the fact that "instructors sometimes forgot to set items as available to students," so some instructors saw the document as being available on the site when, in fact, the students were not able to access it. There have also been some browser-based issues. Some browsers, such as Internet Explorer, develop problems when using UBLearns.
Adjustment is required for any kind of change, and the situation with UBLearns is no exception. With continued use and upgrades, the new version of UBLearns seems like something UB simply has to learn.