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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Prometheus Gaining Ground at UMB

Prometheus is described in Computer Services Office literature as an innovative “learning management software supported by UMB in collaboration with UMass online (http:\\boston.umassonline.net).”

“We would like,” emphasized Assistant Director of UMB Computer Services Nancy Ramsdell, “to get 100% of faculty using this technology for all their courses.”

If a professor has signed on to this system make their courses “web-enhanced,” a student may locate 24/7, from home or anywhere else they have internet access, their class grades. They may receive general notices (e.g. weather notices) as well as special notices such as a class cancellation. A professor may choose to post lecture notes and may also send a personal note to a specific student.

Specifically, a professor, at his or her option, may include a course syllabus, outline, project descriptions, lectures for students to print out, on-line quizzes, a grade book that enable students to view grades received, and files for the professor’s personal work, and more.

In addition to accessing the above materials, a student may use the system for professor-initiated and/or student-led discussions or chats. Further, the system allows the professor to post documents, which could save dollars and is environmentally friendly in that it lowers the need for copies. Prometheus, with its ease of access to course information, may constitute a valuable tool for students with disabilities.

There are also multiple ancillary programs for faculty available at www.lms.umb.edu to enhance their use and understanding of Prometheus. This includes “training dates, manuals, and student instructions for you to customize.” Literature available from the Computer Services Office notes that, “A faculty account and answers for all related student/faculty may be obtained at: [email protected].”

The system has been in place since 2002. Currently, 8806 students and 526 faculty members have accounts. A total of 1145 courses are found in the Prometheus system. It’s a comprehensive, efficient and reliable tool for both faculty and students. The Computer Center offers training and technical support as well as written materials for professors wishing to make their courses web-enhanced and for students involved in such courses.

Ms. Ramsdell also noted that the Prometheus computer system is especially valuable because UMB is a commuter campus. “It provides a way for students and faculty to communicate and interact that helps compensate for the fact that the students are highly dispersed instead of living in dorms on campus.”

Sierra Reynolds, a marketing department undergraduate who works as a receptionist/student assistant in the computer center characterized the new system as “convenient.” Logging on to the web page of a marketing class she is taking, she commented, “See, I just got a notice that there’s a change in the date our research papers are due, mercifully, an extension of the date.”

The system, according to information provided by the Computer Center targets “both faculty who teach traditional face-to-face courses AND faculty who teach online only courses.”

The Computer Services Office is located in the Science Building. Additional information may be obtained there in person, by phone, or online.

The name Prometheus means “foresight” in Greek, and is taken from the name of a mythological Titan who stole fire from heaven and gave it to humankind, so that they might live better. The title is fitting, as this may well be the wave of the future, making life easier for students and professors alike.