In August 2009, the Provost and the Vice Provost for Information Technology charged the eLearning Strategic Committee with shaping the future of Penn State’s learning environment to meet the needs of the Penn State community and find a replacement for ANGEL, Penn State’s course management system. The four major criteria for this search were:
- Pedagogical: providing the tools needed for faculty and students.
- Technology Management: system architecture, scalability, security, development, quality assurance, etc.
- Organizational Administration: policy issues (academic, operational), data retention, user support, training, etc.
- Cost: hardware, software, lifecycle, operations and maintenance, staff, etc.
In 2009, Penn State did not have the option of continuing vendor support of ANGEL beyond 2014 as a result of ANGEL’s parent company, Blackboard, planning to discontinue support of the product. However, in March 2012, Blackboard reversed their decision to provide indefinite support of ANGEL. In light of this new development, the eLearning Strategic Committee recommended to renew the ANGEL agreement through 2017, which included a co-production agreement to use both ANGEL and the Blackboard Learn LMS. Both the Provost and Vice Provost for Information Technology accepted this recommendation, thus allowing the committee to successfully fulfill their charge and disband.
In October 2014, ANGEL’s parent company, Blackboard, Inc., informed Penn State of an end-of-life date for ANGEL. As a result of Blackboard’s decision, most instances of ANGEL will no longer be supported beginning on October 15, 2016. Penn State has a contract for the course management system through December 2017 and will continue to receive operational support until that time.