New college platform DECclic II launched
The new platform will be unveiled at the Fédération des cégeps convention for the many delegates in attendance. Special guests for the occasion will include Yves Blouin, President of the plateforme collégiale DECclic corporation, Christian Goulet, Assistant Vice-President at Bell Canada, and François Duranleau, Director of University and Collegial Affairs representing the ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport.
Far more than just a facelift
The improvements found in the second version of DECclic are based on suggestions and feedback from users since 1998. In fact, DECclic II is a complete rewrite in another programming language that offers more features and tighter security.
Every object in DECclic II – be it a forum, message, evaluation or even user – is subject to permissions. This gives the platform a flexibility lacking in the original version. These preconfigured options restrict access to a teacher’s content to their students and give institutions complete freedom in managing their users. Teachers who want to co-teach, allow a student to moderate one of their forums, or share content with colleagues or the whole world can simply change the permissions associated with those objects. Two or more institutions that want to use the same course or have their teachers collaborate have only to alter a few permissions. Moreover, new permissions can be added to the list and the collection of objects in DECclic II can be expanded. A fully extensible platform, DECclic II is the culmination of years of experimentation and represents a fresh start.
Flexibility and adaptability also call for greater ease of use. Students will first see a control panel from where all the resources they need are just a click away. Forums, course URLs, catalogues, class lists and timetables are organized on a single page to facilitate both access and interaction.
For teachers, DECclic II features a publisher for producing course content in Web format. No programming knowledge is required. The publisher resembles a word processor and also includes layout templates.
A new secure gateway
To encourage greater use of the new platform, a gateway has been installed between DECclic and institutional data servers. This entirely secure Web service will enable teachers to register groups of students. The gateway, made possible by a donation from Bell Canada, will also make data synchronization possible during a term. Thus, as of September 20th, class lists are adjusted to college records.
One community of practice
DECclic II also means continuity. Aside from the changes and improvements, the same helpdesk team will provide online support, answer technical and pedagogical questions, and assist teachers encountering difficulties. Communication and collaboration by colleagues at the same college or teachers at different institutions will be facilitated.
Naturally, the questionnaires produced with Exam Studio will be fully functional and correction will take place in a more intuitive setting. Moreover, with DECclic II, Exam Studio becomes an integral part of the platform.
DECclic II is now being used by about 100 teachers and a few thousand students divided into 250 class groups. Priority has been assigned to experimenting with new teachers and multi-institutional groups.
In January 2007 DECclic II will become available to teachers and students at all DECclic Corporation member institutions.