Petoskey, Michigan, is a quintessential small town. Situated on Lake Michigan some ~270 miles north of Detroit, the landscape also once provided muse for Ernest Hemingway, who spent time in Northern Michigan as a child.
North Central Michigan College (NCMC), like Hemingway, also calls Petoskey home. The campus is a stone’s throw from Little Traverse Bay, and currently operates in service of ~2700 students and a smaller number of full time instructors.
For Chris Cerrudo, Assistant Dean of Instructional Technology at the College, the size of his institution means a relative technology budget, and an even more demanding headcount constraint. These factors, as well as a pretty enticing product set, led to the selection of the ANGEL LMS for the College in 2008.
“ANGEL just fit our needs perfectly at the time,” Cerrudo explained. “For our institution, the software package and the community surrounding ANGEL was just fantastic.”
When Blackboard purchased ANGEL Learning the following year, an LMS evaluation process was set in motion for North Central Michigan to decide the next step for the College, with resource constraints again top of mind.
“By 2011 we had looked at many different products and had a lot of options,” Cerrudo continued. “Blackboard Learn was considered but a few open source and cloud-based options were attractive, given the limited resources we had at the College.”
Watch Chris Cerrudo Discuss NCMC’s Migration from ANGEL to Blackboard Learn on ANGEL Office Hours:
“We looked really closely at the asset we had for training, support and development and that’s when we realized that Blackboard was by far and away the best option for us.” Cerrudo recalled. “We told the other vendors, ‘thank you very much for your time, but we’re going with Blackboard!’”
NCMC utilized CourseSites as a resource to kick the tires with Blackboard, long before moving through the process of a full migration. The Upgrade Cohort Program, a free series of virtual webinars for ANGEL institutions who planning migration to Blackboard Learn, was also used by the NCMC team as a vehicle to keep them on task for each step of their transition. In addition, the On Demanding Learning Center and Help.Blackboard.com resources were also particularly helpful for NCMC’s faculty training strategy.
“Blackboard did a great job of providing two sets of resources; one set for our IT team, and one set for our faculty.” Cerrudo explained. “Blackboard’s faculty resources became a game changer for us when we began training our instructors, and we found how many things were available to us at no additional charge.”
NCMC found their transition from ANGEL to Blackboard Learn to be one that was anything but rushed. “Blackboard also provided a co-production license of Blackboard Learn that allowed us to move at our own pace and fully migrate away from ANGEL by the Fall of 2012,” Cerrudo continued. “Everything was on our terms.”
The College also found features they loved from ANGEL were finding their way, rather rapidly, into the Blackboard Learn product. Recent additions into Blackboard Learn from ANGEL include item analysis and auto re-grading, interactive rubrics, content editor and the soon to be released cloud based learning object repository, xpLor.
“The product roadmap direction that Blackboard pursues is very important to me.” Cerrudo explained. “With xpLor, I have an additional piece of evidence to point toward as we consider the legacy and impact that ANGEL Learning left on Blackboard as a company.”
Chris Cerrudo recently presented the North Central Michigan College migration story on ANGEL Office Hours, a virtual series of meetings specifically for the ANGEL Community. To see an upcoming schedule and join us in the future, visit http://www.Blackboard.com/ANGELOfficeHours.