Although the initiation was triggered by COVID-19, Learning Management System (LMS) has shown a new trend in education, exposing many students to the unlimited potential of online learning. Despite its convenience in usage and efficiency based on algorithms, its short history of public utility destabilizes the fundamental values of online learning. As students it seems more than necessary to clarify what rights we uphold in terms of public learning and whether or not the services provided by Hanyang University (HYU) are coherent with our essentials of learning.
Confronting skeptical students is unavoidable when it comes to online learning platforms. Universities promise quality education at the price of enrollment payments made by students every semester. This invisible contract is fulfilled when schools satisfy the desires of students to expected levels of services regardless of tangible or indirect means. Do Won-jun, a Sophomore in the Department of Business Administration at HYU shared his definition of rights to education in correlation with Korea’s national college entrance exam. “Online services p r o v i d e d b y private education institutions of K o r e a o f f e r h i g h - q u a l i t y online lectures that are not so different from offline lectures. I think university lectures should be the same. Students pay an equal amount of money for both online and offline classes, so it is only logical that the university provides listeners with an education of equal excellence.” Though without a doubt offline classes outshine online classes in terms of quality education, Learning X has shown positive responses when compared with BlackBoard. “Rights to education also includes the monitoring and supervision of the school board.” Do mentioned that education is an interaction between the teacher and learner. Communication involves both sides, and thus simply uploading lectures would be a monologue. With BlackBoard, some students played the videos x15 speed which was problematic. “I too faced issues like disconnection although the internet connection was fine. If Learning X was introduced to solve such matters, HYU has definitely made a more favorable environment for e-learning as personally I am facing fewer problems of the kind.” He also added that the calendar service, an additional function of Learning X, has been surprisingly helpful.
Professors identify less significance within the type of learning systems but rather, what online learning has to offer for students in the long term. Lee Sungchul, a Professor of the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS) as well as the Division of International Studies ( D I S ) h a d participated in the procedure of implementing B l a c k B o a r d i n t o H Y U ’ s e - l e a r n i n g s y s t e m . “ A t t h e t i m e , BlackBoard accounted for roughly 70% of the American LMS market, and although its share is diminishing these days due to the sudden increase of online learning platforms, it has faithfully served its purpose of establishing an online learning system that satisfies HYU’s requirements.” “BlackBoard and Learning X are not so different in terms of their technological assets, regarding that the two platforms use a similar User Interface (UI). The biggest difference probably lies in the preference of Korean students which is more of a subjective cultural characteristic. For instance, BlackBoard was used mainly by students in the U.S., who are comparatively less obsessed about the absolute records of attendance than Korean students. Korean students also greatly prioritize efficiency and thus, BlackBoard’s lack of diversity within its platform would have been frustrating.” Considering such characteristics of HYU students, Learning X has regionalized to suit unique preferences. Access to graphical figures of grades, and direct linkages to zoom meetings which automatically register student participation are all services that have been codified to the platform to suit cultural preferences. Being heavily dependent on cell phone usage has also resulted in applications that are adaptable to the speedy mobile using environment, which is also a distinct priority than that of BlackBoard.” Variety is adherent to complexity though. BlackBoard, which offered a small pool of options in all categories o f m e s s a g i n g a n d l e c t u r e l i n k s , had a straightforward mechanism of submission of papers or leaving comments. Professor Lee admitted that this is much more difficult on Learning X as it provides excessive sub-features.
I n t e n s i o n w i t h t h e e x i s t i n g controversies, the school board displayed a rather positive opinion concerning the shift to Learning X. BlackBoard had embraced endless capacities shaped by how the user would utilize it to his or her preference. BlackBoard was still in development and still had room for improvement which encouraged HYU’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) to implement the services as the school’s online learning system for a one-year contract. Despite high hopes, BlackBoard had to be switched before the end of the contract period. Its failure was largely due to the poor network of checking attendance and systematic malfunctions concerning BlackBoard’s signature live lecture session, ‘BlackBoard Collaborate’. “Learning X is like a used phone that already has applications installed within its system. The user doesn’t have many options of customization and simply has to adapt to the existing services.” Though there is less likelihood of development and customization, HYU CTL explained that the default settings of Learning X thoroughly reflect the characteristics of HYU students, particularly on assessing attendance. “The numerical value of reported attendance problems I dealt with when BlackBoard was in use assembled to about 2500. Though it has been about half a year since the introduction of Learning X, complaints have decreased in significant digits compared to that of BlackBoard.” Regarding the fairness of attendance checking, HYU CTL highlighted the fact that Learning X forbids the usage of streaming multiple lecture videos at once with corresponding accounts, providing the validity of assessments made by the Learning X attendance report system. Learning X is an updated version of the pre-existing “Canvas LMS”, a network for online learning management. Though it is equipped with several unofficially approved features and unfamiliar technology, its stability excels that of BlackBoard. “Though I am not a technician, the system seems much more secure than BlackBoard in terms that its server is not located exclusively oversees,” added HYU CTL, complimenting the installation of Learning X. “Above all, Learning X’s competence resides in the fact that test scores and attendance checks are all affiliated within the system, increasing the accessibility of students to check their performance in class.”
We can infer from Professor Lee’s remarks that Learning X is simply BlackBoard with several Korean traits attached to it. Codification of users’ needs via BlackBoard makes Learning X unfamiliar but less intimidating along with coherent values that learners embrace. Obsession over attendance check and personal likings however is a minor issue when it comes to long-term education efficiency. Online learning has created a valuable asset of data, developing technologies of learning analysis. This process of data mining will contribute to improving the precision of analyzing education levels and upgrading the qualities of education regardless of the environment in which it is conveyed.