Living learnonline: What’s behind your university student portal?

By JOSHUA BOSCAINI

We use it almost every day, but what do we know about learnonline? On the Record reporter, Joshua Boscaini, asked UniSA’s IT experts.

Few students have probably noticed, but the university’s learnonline has been given a facelift over the summer holidays.

It’s a system students usually take for granted, but Information Strategy and Technology Services officer, Michael Castafaro, said it takes hundreds of people to manage.

“Because all the systems are integrated, it takes the entire IT team…to keep everything working,” Mr Castafaro said.

“These range from graduate developers to senior developers and managers.”

But how the team of developers manage the system is what makes it all the more intriguing.

Mr Castafaro said even the smallest change to the system can leave the technology team busy making sure the entire program is running smoothly.

“We thoroughly test the entire system including simulating multiple students logging on at the same time to ensure it will stay up and running and not crash,” he said.

Course coordinators are also finding ways to make their learn online sites the most up-to-date.

Ideas, Innovation, and Communication (IIC) course coordinator, Neelu Sharma, said learnonline is becoming a space to better interact with students.

“For IIC, it’s the first year where I have introduced the virtual classroom, and in addition to that, I’m using… a non-UniSA virtual whiteboard,” Ms Sharma said.

“This year, with the introduction of the padlet… we’re hoping external students have a better experience being external students.

“Learnonline is the lifeline of who we are… it’s how we connect with the students and it’s the only way we can share a high volume of information in a structured way.”

But some first-year students are still trying to understand a very new and important part of the university.

Primary school education student, Courtney Larwood, said it has taken a little getting used to.

“It was confusing to start off with but once you get the hang of it, it’s [learnonline] fine… sort of like high school,” Ms Larwood said.

“It would be good to have all the courses the exact same… it needs to be consistent throughout.”

Her peer, and fellow first-year education student, Lucy Norton, said it would be great to get some more information about the site.

“We didn’t know how to use learn online until our first workshop… the first Monday of university I pretty much learnt how learnonline works,” Ms Norton said.

If you’re a new or first-year student to UniSA, you can follow this link for more direction with learnonline.

 

 

Image Source: Joshua Boscaini

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