ALYSSA SPERRAZZA, Editor-In-Chief
A crowd gathered at the state capital Sunday afternoon as people stood for a prayer vigil in support of those a part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The White House recently announced that the program, initiated under the Obama Administration, would end, opening young undocumented immigrants or commonly known as “dreamers,” to deportation. President Trump has urged Congress to pass a replacement before the program begins phasing out in six months.
OBU students were among those at the vigil, hearing testaments from dreamers and religious leaders urging acceptance and joining in filing out cards, calling for district and state leaders to pass DACA’s replacement.
“I feel called to stand up for them, to defend them and to put my life on the line if I need to, to make sure their voices are heard and their rights are protected,” junior physics major, Ben Speaks said.
Walking around the Capital, stations were placed at each corner, with participants encouraged to pray for those affected by DACA and also for members of Congress, now deliberating if a replacement is necessary.
“I came out here so that I could prayer along with my fellow Americans and anyone else that is coming to unite under this banner of Jesus Christ,”Speaks said.
Approximately 790,000 people were considered protected under the DACA program which gave many a chance to stay in the United States and go to school as long as they were enrolled a school, had a degree or GED equivalent and had not committed any serious crimes.
“In my hometown, it’s mainly a Hispanic population at my school,” junior news and information major, Mya Hudgins said. “I know a lot of people who immigrated over when they were one year old and their parents brought them over here. They got an education here; they’ve lived here their entire life. They deserve a chance.”
Deporting many of those under the DACA program would mean sending them back to a country they have no recollection of, are ill-equipped to deal with a different culture and or language.
“I, as a Caucasian American, have work to do for these men and women from other nations that just want to make a living and just want to contribute to this great nation that they’ve become a part of,” Speaks said.
For sophomore news and information major, Jacob Factor, the vigil was an opportunity to spread the word.
“I hope this makes people aware of what’s going on,” he said, “because there are some people that aren’t paying attention.”
Hearing testaments of dreamers and recognizing the need for action, Speaks said OBU students could help, even in Shawnee.
“I think that the Student Government Association and the Black Student Association can have more events to spread awareness and to get students involved with ministering to any immigrants, or any sons and daughters of immigrants in our city, so that we can make sure that they know that we love them.”
Assistant News Editor
Similar to how the GC is the one-stop shop for all things social, Canvas is now the one-stop shop faculty and students will go to for all their course information.
With the start of the fall semester, OBU has adopted a new learning management system called Canvas which will replace the previous systems of Moodlerooms and Jupiter Grades. The OBU Education Technology Committee wanted to try a learning management system that has robust features and is easy to use for students and faculty.
“We had students on multiple platforms, we had some students who had classes in Moodlerooms, some students had course information in Jupiter Grades, some had course information on both, some had course information on neither, and we had graduate programs on a different Canvas implementation,” Paul Roberts, vice president for information integration and CIU dean of library, said. “So, for the sake of the student experience we wanted to consolidate those in a way that also allowed for faculty to innovate, if they want to innovate, or for more traditional faculty to also teach their courses in more traditional ways, but providing both of those outlets in a way that didn’t even make the student experience even more complicated.”
The Education Technology Committee was searching for a LMS that is easy to use, but provides many new
opportunities for students and faculty.
“My goal for academic technology in general is too give tools and recourses to faculty that will enable them to provide a learning experience to students that may not have been possible without those tools,” Roberts said. “To provide tools and recourses for new options only broadens the horizon for innovation. I think Canvas allows that for us while not being yet just another thing to clutter up the technology life of students.”
There is a plan to help the transition from previous systems to Canvas be as smooth and painless as possible.
“We had a multiyear plan,” Roberts said. “The first year is a year of research to see what the options were and then to recommend a path forward for the university and the Education Technology Committee was the one that spearheaded that. The next year of the plan was a year of implementation, and that’s the year that we are in now. You can’t just unplug Moodle and the others and have everything automatically available, so this is the year of transition where courses that use those platforms have this entire year to make that migration.”
Hannah Rodriguez, a junior nursing major, used Canvas before at her previous college and commented as to why she liked the Learning Management System.
“I’m really excited and optimistic that OBU is switching to Canvas because it condenses all the things that we have been using that have been previously separate in Moodlerooms or Jupiter Grades,” Rodriguez said. “It condenses it down all in one spot so there’s no confusion of which app you have to go to, to find what information for what professor.”
Dr. Peter Purin, assistant professor of music, explains why he has enjoyed starting the new semester with Canvas. “I’m an early adopter of new technology and I chose to start right away with Canvas with semester with all my courses and my students seem to really enjoy it,” he said. “We’ve found certain tools that integrates very well with tablets and phones where you can submit assignments from other apps directly into Canvas and it has its own app. It’s easy to build in, it looks elegant, it has a good gradebook so we have to use Jupiter don’t have to use Jupiter grades anymore. From what I’ve seen so far of using it, just the ease of use in both in building it and using it, I think it’s going to make everybody happier.”
Over the summer faculty were provided the chance to play in the “sand box” with Canvas and try different things the system offers. Even if professors are not ready to try it out, students can log on and test the sight with the OBU Canvas Orientation class that is currently available.
“I would encourage faculty, if they haven’t yet, to try it out and see its’ benefits and for the student to get on and try it for any courses that they may have,” Purin said. “Just to have everybody give it a try before it becomes the official one and only next year. I want to encourage everybody to use this period of transition.”