Vista updated for the summer

Kathie Zipp

Students who take summer classes will notice that Vista, the university’s course management system, looks a little different. Information Services will upgrade Vista 3.0 to a new version, Blackboard Vista 8.0.

Preeti Palvankar, lead education technology designer, said the new version will include additional tools for students.

“Students can keep blogs and journals and review others’ blogs,” Palvankar said. “They will also have access to a roster tool that will list all the students in the class, which they can use for peer groups and projects.”

The new version will go fully into effect May 21.

Education technology designer Deborah Murphy has been using the new version this semester in her Introduction to Web Site Technology class. She said the new version was a “pleasant surprise.”

“The previous version of Vista could be a challenge at times,” she said. “Version 8.0 was intuitive right from the start.”

Murphy said she especially liked the new grading forms and rubrics.

“The rubric and the submitted assignment were both available to me while I was grading,” she said. “This simplified the process for me.”

Christa Skiles, editorial communication manager for Information Services, said the university aimed for a simple switch.

“We want to make sure it’s as easy and simple a transition as possible,” she said. “We offer weekly workshops if faculty want to attend. We also had an open house last week that 70 faculty members attended.”

Most changes are from a faculty standpoint, so it’ll be easier for them to use, Skiles said. But students need to be aware because when they log in and see some of these changes, it may look a bit different.

Palvankar and Skiles recommend students and faculty go to for online tutorials, movies and further information.

Contact science and technology reporter Kathie Zipp at [email protected].