Potential Nestor replacements get thumbs up from testers
Nestor – the UG version of Blackboard in place since 2000 – will gradually be replaced by another system over the course of the next academic year. The change will be complete in September 2022.
After the UG launched a European tender in January, three candidates responded: Blackboard with its new Blackboard Ultra, Brightspace, and Canvas. All three systems were subjected to a usability test, in which around a hundred people participated – roughly sixty staff members and forty students.
Based on the initial response, Van Geloven sees an improvement no matter which system is chosen, especially in user-friendliness. ‘But there will always be different aspects that some people like and others don’t’, he emphasises. A definitive decision on which system will replace Nestor won’t be made until mid-June, he says.
International law student Beatrix Szatmari tested the systems on her phone. She tried to upload assignments, took quizzes, enrolled in groups, and replied in discussions. ‘I think that all three are an upgrade from the current system’, she says. ‘I definitely liked them. They can all be used intuitively.’
Faculty of Science and Engineering lecturer Jan-Willem Brijan was positive, too. He looked at the features that apply to teachers, like grading, uploading course material or setting up a structure for a course or test. ‘All three were nice, generally speaking’, he says. ‘There were differences in style and appearance; sometimes a button was easier to find in one system than in the other.’
Brijan says the current Nestor has many options that are redundant or not very user-friendly. ‘Using the new systems feels like using a new phone: clean, no long-forgotten apps that float around, and even though sometimes a feature is hiding in a new place, it is all in all a nice experience.’