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Full release of Stellar’s replacement expected next year

Most students searching for class materials or grades have encountered a new interface this semester. MIT IS&T is progressively phasing out Stellar in favor of a new modular learning management system, which will be fully released next year.

There have been mixed opinions regarding the release of the new learning management system. Some students think it is slow, while others prefer Stellar.

“The UI is definitely better and more modern,” Donald M. Little ’16 said. However, Little also said that the system was released too early, and that it still has “plenty of bugs.”

Muneeza S. Patel G said that some aspects of the system could be made more intuitive, especially for graders. Students also commented that the mobile site was difficult to use.

According to a report authored by Daniel Hastings, director of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, and Dean for Graduate Education Christine Ortiz, Stellar has been MIT’s course management system since 2001 and supported 972 classes, 1,244 faculty users and 8,864 students in Spring 2013.

But over the last few years, Stellar’s rigid architecture has made it difficult to extend and adapt to changing requirements such as the need for more collaborative features, the report said. The new system’s framework addresses these issues by offering modularity and API integration.

In an email sent to Stellar administrators, instructors, and TAs in June 2015, IS&T explained that each module is a fully supported standalone web service that can be used independently or in conjunction with other modules. This means that instructors can choose which of the modules — which include ‘materials,’ ‘gradebook,’ ‘calendar,’ and others — to activate on their course pages. In addition to a revamped course guide and student portal, the Learning Modules platform provides a unified web interface for managing all modules.

Course instructors and administrators are offered the option to use the new modular learning management system instead of Stellar for the current academic year.

—Henry Nassif