Bellarmine gets a new learning management system

“Moodle… so vintage, so hip,” said English teacher Jacob Singer after showing his AP Language and Composition class the library database available to them through the site.

With a new school year comes the arrival of new classes, friends, teachers, and activities, and for the freshmen, a new iPad. This September also brought a new learning management system (LMS) to Bellarmine: Blackbaud.

Last year, Blackbaud replaced SchoolMaster (commonly known by students as FamilyLink) as its school information system (SIS). Bellarmine lost technological support from SchoolMaster in 2019, a company they used for 25 years, and had to look elsewhere for a new SIS.

“Our infrastructure was taken away,” said Vice Principal of Curriculum and Instruction, Bill Baerg. “It would have taken a lot of support to maintain it.”

Bellarmine ultimately chose Blackbaud, the computer software company founded in 1981, as its new SIS. Blackbaud appealed to the administration because it combined an SIS with an LMS, meaning it can be used for grades, attendance, enrollment, communications, and (unfortunately for Moodle) learning. While the complete transition onto Blackbaud will be a slow process, as teachers transfer lesson plans and students learn to use the new website, some speak out about their discontent with the new SIS/LMS.

“Blackbaud is way more confusing than Moodle because there are more steps you must go through to find one thing,” said junior Stella Gomez.

Moodle, the LMS, was brought on 15 years ago because of the 2005 bird flu, 2009 swine flu, and other viable threats in in-person learning. Although some faculty members are open to the move onto Blackbaud more than others, the primary purpose for its phasing out of Moodle, and potentially Showbie, is for ease.

“With so many different websites and apps, it is easier for everything to be in one place,” said Baerg. “It is difficult for new students and underclassmen to adjust to the new technology, as is.” Some freshmen enjoy Blackbaud’s convenient interface.

“I like Blackbaud because I can see my schedule online, and it also ensures and informs me whether or not I turned in my assignments,” said freshmen Marigold Morrow.

Many students and faculty members reminisce on learning resources of the past, but Bellarmine’s use of different apps and platforms will change as the technological realm continues to improve and impress. Although there are mixed preferences and opinions, it can be agreed that the names of the software services are equally as chuckle-worthy.

The difference between the Moodle and Blackbaud pages for AP Psychology, respectively. (Allison Berg)