Several big changes have happened with Saylor Academy so far this year, including: moving our courses from WordPress to Moodle, moving our discussion forums from WordPress to Discourse, launching new and improved certificates, and (this is the controversial one!) dividing our courses into the fully-supported group on Learn site and the unsupported group at our Legacy site.
He is one more very significant change, which has been discussed more casually in the forums up to this point: we plan to shut down our Eportfolio system at close to the same time that we shut down our old Testing Center (which currently serves our Legacy courses). Essential functions and many nice-to-haves will be taken over by our other systems. Some features will disappear.
Take a look at the chart below (click for a larger image) to see what the changes will be. Read on after the chart for some background and reasons; we invite both warm and cool feedback!
So why are we shutting down the Eportfolio system? We debuted the Eportfolio back in April 2012. Since that time, there have been no major updates to the software — plenty of needed tinkering has been done, to be sure, but if we call the original version “1.0”, we never got to 2.0…we probably never got to 1.5, even; maybe 1.2 or so is accurate.
Meanwhile, our program has changed. Students’ needs have changed. The online learning landscape has changed. The Web has changed. The rest of our site has changed.
Our original assumptions about what the Eportfolio could be, should be, no longer really apply — if they ever fully did! Several functions never become popular in the first place and saw low use and adoption. Other functions that we wanted to develop and extend fell too low on our priorities list until the times had passed them by. Still other functions are redundant with other systems we have available. As a whole, the Eportfolio does not make sense with what Saylor Academy is today; longer-tenured students may feel pretty comfortable with the contradictions but newer students are just (and justifiably) confused.
Here is one big reason for change that will resonate with many of our students: persistent problems with signing up and logging in should be a thing of the past because we will stop using our current user authentication system (what you see at cas.saylor.org) and instead use the native authentication at learn.saylor.org.
Basically, we have come to realize that security and function issues required that we either make a large investment in updating our Eportfolio or that we dissolve it and invest in its core functions elsewhere. We have chosen the latter route.
What now? Our goal is to make the transition pretty seamless. Some confusion and frustration is probably inevitable but we hope that our communication will help to mitigate any problems and keep them short in duration. To be sure you stay up to speed, you can subscribe to our blog posts by email.
What are your questions? What are your concerns? We welcome your feedback here in the comments, in the forums, or right to our email.
Banner image: modified from user Geralt via Pixabay | CC0