UC Berkeley today announced they’re in the process of designing and building a new online platform called CalCentral. The goal of the platform is to improve cross-campus communication among administration, students, and faculty. UC Berkeley students, like myself last year, previously relied on a platform called bSpace that allowed faculty to post syllabi, distribute grades, and oversee message forums. Students used bSpace to upload assignments or view group project work. CalCentral hopes to enhance bSpace’s capabilities by adding new features that integrate the platform with Gmail and Google Calendar. The new tech does not exist so much to help students take notes in class, but to be alerted of academic deadlines and school activities.
As you can imagine, a lot of effort and money will be put into UC Berkeley’s Education Technology Services department hiring developers and getting the platform implemented among the entire campus. Is it better to outsource this kind of effort? Companies like Blackboard are creating Learning Management Systems that universities can integrate into its own system for a substantial sum. What’s the more cost-effective option here? And will the platform automatically serve the students better if its built from the university itself?
The project started over 2 years ago and and will still take another year to complete. What do you think, should schools each create their own platforms or is this a new business opportunity to create affordable white-label online platforms for college campuses? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Read more about the CalCentral platform in UC Berkeley’s student-run newspaper, Daily Cal.