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Laurier launches new technology initiatives for fall academic term
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Wilfrid Laurier University is launching three initiatives in preparation for the fall academic term: the myLearningSpace learning management system, a new student web mail service and a new myLaurier.ca student gateway.
On August 1, Laurier implemented myLearningSpace. The new learning management system is powered by Desire2Learn (D2L) to support the significant number of Laurier courses with an online component.
“MyLearningSpace provides solutions that enable learning to take place inside and outside the classroom,” says Tom Buckley, assistant vice-president: academic services. “This system is designed to meet Laurier’s teaching, learning and technology needs now and in the future.”
MyLearningSpace is accessible through https://myLearningSpace.wlu.ca using Novell usernames and passwords.
“Students and faculty alike will benefit from the ability to make course information and resources for students available online,” says Sandy Hughes, director: teaching support services. “Some courses use myLearningSpace for online quizzes, discussions, group work or electronic assignment submission.”
MyLearningSpace replaces WebCT/ Blackboard, which had been used by the Laurier community since 1998.
Teaching Support Services is offering myLearningSpace orientation and training for faculty and staff from August 25 to September 10. Click here for details and to register.
myLaurier student webmail
The university will provide all Laurier students with official myLaurier webmail accounts, effective August 30.
MyLaurier student webmail is one component of the Google Apps for Education Edition, a suite of web applications used by many universities because it offers the benefits of Gmail, an improved calendar feature, document-sharing capabilities and a seven-gigabyte mailbox capacity.
Laurier’s new webmail will allow the university to satisfy students’ desires for a more feature-rich and higher-capacity email system and address the university’s need for an externally hosted student email solution, identified in last year’s ICT review.
“In addition to the benefits offered to students, myLaurier webmail will allow ITS to retire more than 34,000 student email accounts currently on GroupWise and free up system resources. This will improve GroupWise service for faculty and staff,” says Tom Buckley, assistant vice-president: academic services. “The move will also enable ITS to divert its resources from maintaining student GroupWise accounts to more critical initiatives.”
Students will access their myLaurier webmail account using existing usernames and passwords, then follow instructions to migrate their GroupWise messages to their new myLaurier account. Students’ email addresses will change to “Novellusername”@mylaurier.ca and will be the official email account the university uses to communicate with students.
The ITS helpdesk will host training sessions for students to learn about Google Apps functions (click here for schedules) and will provide answers to commonly asked questions at http://its.mylaurier.ca/faq. Ongoing technical support will be provided through firstname.lastname@example.org (Waterloo campus) and email@example.com (Brantford campus).
On August 30, Laurier will go live with a redesigned student web gateway: www.myLaurier.ca. Using their Novell username and password, students can log on to myLaurier.ca and access their myLaurier webmail account, their OneCard account, myLearningSpace, their academic records, class schedule and links to common Laurier sites – all from one website!
“This partnership between ITS, the Wilfrid Laurier University Student Union and Laurier Student Services allows us to provide students with easy access to the information they need most,” says Fazil Rasheed, director of enterprise projects for Laurier’s ICT renewal. “Response from student testing has been extremely positive.”
Kyle Walker, president and CEO of the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, is enthusiastic about the benefits the gateway will provide to students.
"These new tools will be beneficial to student academic success on our campuses and will allow students to be more organized and balanced overall," says Walker. “The effort the ITS team put into reaching out to students to gather feedback about existing challenges was the drive behind these projects."