State University of West Georgia, Distance & Distributed Ed Center


Why is Webct the chosen online course management tool for the USG?

IN MARCH OF 1997, the UWG Distance Ed Steering Committee was formed for the leadership and coordination of on-line distance learning. The charge of the committee was to establish a common vision, define strategic directions, and identify implementation strategies for the coordination of on-line distance learning services. Members of the steering committee represent faculty, technology staff, the library, and distance learning administration perspectives.

The committee included representatives from all stakeholder areas -- faculty, administrators, staff from the library, the Admissions office, the Registrar's office, ITS, and representatives. UWG Student Council representatives were invited to participate and did so intermittently.

An IT sub- committee conducted extensive research and testing of various online course management tools, at that time. The sub-committee presented the top 3 tools chosen, demonstrated each tool, and discussed the pros and cons of each. WebCT was chosen as the standard tool for UWG. The

Shortly after UWG, UGA and others adopted WebCT as their standard tool. In 1999, the Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia conducted its own course comparison of online management tools. Though some other users in the state were using Blackboard, Lotus Notes, and various other tools, the University System of Georgia's independent study also found WebCT to be the best. Today WebCT is the standard for USG, the eCore, and the webMBA. In Spring 2002, UWG earned the honor of being a USG certified WebCT server institution. What does that mean? It means that on top of the support provided locally for WebCT, our users now have access to extended WebCT support, under the USG/WebCT support agreement.

Students or faculty can now e-mail and phone WebCT directly -- see the "Help" link located oat the top of the WebCT login page (http://webct.westga.edu).

Though WebCT is not perfect -- no software ever is -- it remains the best online course development tool available today for our university. The general consensus, among independent comparative studies found online, is that though there may be some 'easier' or 'cheaper' course management systems (CMS), WebCT is the most flexible, robust, and 'customizable'. Comparably, the changes and customization that an instructor can make in all other CMS systems are very limited. WebCT provides more freedom and options -- but these very items that make WebCT desirable also can make it harder for faculty to use.

The impending integration with our SCT Banner student info system and with Campus Pipeline, is one final reason that both UWG and USG chose WebCT. See this white paper:
http://www.webct.com/transform?name=solutions_webct_vision

Resources:

General info about the company:
http://www.webct.com/company
http://www.webct.com/transform/viewpage?name=transform_webct_vision
www.webct.com

Here's another student's "Analysis of WebCT" -
http://cube.icestorm.net/cee/webct/


WebCT versus "Blackboard":

http://www.edutools.info/course/compare/compare.jsp?product=3,142
http://www.webct.com/service/ViewContent?contentID=5720972
http://www.webct.com/service/ViewContent?contentID=4236546&communityID=-1&categoryID=-1&sIndex=0


See these websites for some general comparisons:

http://www.edutools.info/

http://www.webct.com/products/viewpage?name=products_comparisons.

http://www.itweb.co.za/sections/trainingandcertification/default.asp

http://chronicle.com/free/2002/04/2002041101t.htm


Have your own CMS in mind that you'd like to compare? - see:
http://www.edutools.info/course/compare/byproduct/index.jsp


Used with permission from Georgia Perimeter College.

Return to UWG WebCT Faculty Manual: http://distance.westga.edu/webct/facultymanual/