The IACC (Intercollegiate Academic Computing Committee) recently conducted a survey of all faculty, staff, and students at The Claremont Colleges. This survey focused more on users’ satisfaction with Sakai, how they felt about possibly transitioning to a different LMS, how they used Sakai, and what they felt was missing from existing tools.
The results for all colleges showed that a majority of student, faculty, and staff respondents were satisfied/very satisfied with Sakai (66%, 65%, and 60%, respectively). Looking at the HMC-only results, 61% of students, 53% of faculty, and 39% of staff surveyed were satisfied or very satisfied. HMC staff respondents were more neutral about Sakai’s usefulness, ease of use, reliability, and available features than staff at the other campuses. Faculty and student responses did not differ significantly from the combined results of the consortium.
Across The Claremont Colleges, a majority of students, faculty and staff expressed neutral feelings about transitioning to a different LMS (51% students, 50% of faculty, and 71% of the staff). Only 19% of the students, 22% of the faculty, and 12% of the staff respondents were in favor of a transition. The HMC results were similar; the only significant variation is that HMC staff were much more likely to mark an LMS transition as a medium, high, or urgent priority than staff at the other colleges.
Faculty and students who did not favor transitioning to a new LMS expressed that, given Sakai’s adequacy in meeting their needs, switching seemed to pose more challenges than benefits. In particular, they pointed to the challenges of learning to use a new system and of having to use two systems simultaneously during the switch. Several students also shared their desire to see faculty use Sakai more consistently and in more sophisticated ways.
Those who expressed dissatisfaction pointed to frustrations with Sakai’s navigation and described some additional features in existing Sakai tools (Dropbox, Forums, Gradebook) that they would like to see. Constituents will be pleased to know that a number of the requested features will be implemented this summer in the newest version of Sakai, including an updated interface to the Resources tool that requires fewer clicks, a new version of the Gradebook tool that incorporates new features from Gradebook 2, and a revised user interface. Interestingly, there were also a number of requested features that already exist in Sakai, suggesting that respondents either do not know about these features or have not received adequate instructional resources to be able to use them.
As a result of these responses, the Educational Technology Services team will prioritize developing new opportunities and methods for the community to learn to use Sakai’s existing functions and features, as well as those that will be introduced this summer. Hopefully this effort will benefit both faculty and students by making it easier to integrate the LMS into course activities. We look forward to partnering with others on campus in implementing new programs and resources in the 2017-2018 academic year.