The Labour Day weekend was quiet on university campuses. Then, on Tuesday, students returned to school.
System administrators were expecting it, but were still surprised by the huge jump in the numbers of students using the learning management system (in this case Moodle) shared by three Alberta post-secondaries. Over 70,000 students went on to the cloud-based system at the same time in September to adjust their schedules, check their class notes, upload assignments, watch videos and send messages to professors — without any lags in performance.
This is the biggest test of the Learning Management Cloud's resources since its development in 2012 by Cybera, Alberta's not-for-profit advanced information technology agency, and the participating institutions: the University of Alberta, NAIT, NorQuest College and Athabasca University. The system allows educators to share a single learning management system, rather than run and maintain their own in-house. This pooling of resources saves costs and, for smaller institutes, creates faster access times for students.
It is now in full use at the University of Alberta and NAIT, and in select courses at NorQuest College. Athabasca University will start using the Learning Management Cloud in 2014.
With growing confidence in this cloud-based system, education partners have asked Cybera to offer an additional shared service called Adobe Connect. This software allows many students to participate in live-streamed courses and group discussions at once. The cloud version of the tool will be rolled out in spring 2014.
To find out how to sign up for the Learning Management Cloud, please contact Cybera program manager May Lynn Lee, or visit the Alberta Learning Management Cloud information page for more details.