Meridian Star

April 5, 2013

MCC hosts e-learning system seminar

Technology used to connect students and professors

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     The days of college students using the excuse their dog ate their homework are long gone thanks to a growing trend in higher education to make use of technology to stay connected with students.

    Facebook, text messaging, and emails that show up on smart phones, laptops and e-readers are a few of means in which distance learning are being used in college and universities.

    "We are catching up to technology," said Dr. Krista LeBrun, director of eLearning at Meridian Community College. "Even if a teacher is at home with a sick child, or if a student is at home sick, they can still access the curriculum so they don't miss an assignment."

    MCC hosted staff members from East Central Community College, East Mississippi Community College, Hinds Community College and Holmes Community College for the regional Canvas training on Thursday in the campus' E-Learning Center.

    Canvas is a learning management system for online, hybrid, and in-person courses where students can interact with their instructors, get course content, collaborate with other students, take online quizzes and get their grades. Canvas is built with students in mind and has potential for multiple web 2.0 technology integration.

    Dr. Chris Jenkins, director of E-Learning at East Central Community College in Decatur, said CANVAS is tailored for students.

    "It gives the student instant connectivity," Jenkins said. "With the capability to link to social media sites, the students will embrace this and should transition to it easily."

    LeBrun said the colleges have been using Blackboard until now. She said switching to CANVAS will save MCC $80,000 per year.

    "This will be a year long process but eventually we will get everyone acclimated to CANVAS," said LeBrun.