Why professors should switch from bSpace to bCourses

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It’s no secret how fond our school is of displaying its Berkeley pride in virtually everything remotely related to the university. We have BearWalk, Bear Market, BearFacts — you get the idea. A crucial part of this esteemed ‘b’ club was bSpace, but it is slowly being phrased out by the new and improved CalCentral (bCourses) website.

This semester ushers in the transition from the old and ever-frustrating bSpace online portal to bCourses. However, this transition has not been a sudden one. Many instructors still use the old website, while some already switched over. Some are even using both at the same time! We at the Clog experienced great confusion over this inconsistency, foolishly emailing our professors with frantic questions about bSpace malfunctioning, only to receive replies telling us to check bCourses.

By Summer 2015, Berkeley’s Educational Technology Services hopes to stop using bSpace completely. But we wonder, must professors really wait that long to make the switch? If bSpace is the boring but dependable ex you’re too lazy to break up with, bCourses is the fun and exciting new relationship you should explore.

1. bCourses is more consistentThis noncommittal relationship professors have between the two sites is not at all convenient. Choose one or the other! We don’t want to have to keep checking both sites, since it clearly defeats the purpose of creating a comprehensive online educational portal. 

2. bCourses makes an effort with its appearance. Have you checked out bCourses? It’s so glossy and new-looking, especially in comparison to its elderly predecessor bSpace. With more professional fonts, an edgier design and a more modern-looking layout, who wouldn’t prefer the sleek redesign to the old blocks and boring squares of days past? Sorry, bSpace. As well as you served us, it’s time to move on to someone younger and more attractive.

3. bCourses is low-maintenance. Professors have admitted that the new website is much easier to navigate, even if there is a learning curve. This means they’ll be more likely to use the website to upload things like readings, grades, discussion forums, etc. If their lives are made easier, their moods will vastly improve during class (and hopefully at home when grading times come around). The same goes for the unlucky GSIs who are forced to evaluate undergraduate work. If they’re happy, we’re happy.

4. bCourses makes an effort with friends. The new site has chat and email features (eerily similar to Facebook’s, in our opinion) that make it easier to contact your professors and fellow classmates. Instead of searching through each course’s settings for a list of contacts, bCourses lets you send messages through each course page to individual class members, the instructor or a group.

5. bCourses is the whole package. Part of CalCentral’s switch to the new Canvas online platform was not only improving sites like bSpace, but putting everything Berkeley-related in one place. You can access your calendar, mail and course resources all through one system. You can even change your settings so that you can upload assignments directly from your bMail Google Docs.

We know ending a longterm relationship can be hard. You’ve grown comfortable with all the little flaws bSpace has to offer, but ultimately you’re just dragging this out and delaying the inevitable. Rip off the bandaid, professors! Stop making students check two websites at once and give bCourses a chance.

Contact Erum Khan at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @erumjkhan.