Instructor Jim Durfey discusses the Angel learning management system with CDPE Program Coordinator Rebecca Stull last week in Van Doren Hall. Photo by Richard H. Miller, CPDE
Quick courses
  • The CDPE offer workshops in Angel, Elluminate and online course design and delivery. The sessions are both online and on-campus. For a schedule, please click the following link to WSU Online
  • Self-help tutorials on Angel are available

PULLMAN — When Jim Durfey taught WSU’s first precision agriculture course in 1995, the idea of using satellites to guide farm rigs was far-fetched.

Now combines, tractors and sprayers are regularly equipped with computers and GPS equipment to help growers document their agricultural activities and make more efficient use of time.
“I love technology,” said Durfey, senior instructor at the department of crop and soil sciences. “I’ve always looked for ways to make agriculturalists more productive.”
More productivity with Angel training
Angel upgrade to launch
Aug. 3 at WSU
The Angel learning management system will be upgraded at WSU on Wednesday, Aug. 3 from version 7.3 to 7.4. Access may be limited between 3-6 a.m. during the upgrade.

You can visit to view an Angel 7.4 video that summarizes the changes.

Faculty can contact their local IT Help Desk for questions and assistance at the following Help Desk numbers: Pullman at 509-335-HELP (4357); Spokane at 509-358-7748; Tri-Cities at 509-372-7334; and Vancouver at 360-546-9770.

Durfey also looks for ways to make himself more productive. Last week, he attended a workshop offered by the Center for Distance and Professional Education on Angel, WSU’s learning management system.

“I have 60-plus advisees,” he said. “I teach seven different courses.” With Angel, he can post information online instead of printing it: “It’s a lot more efficient.”
No lugging paper stacks
Stefany Unda also attended last week’s hour-long session in Van Doren Hall on the Pullman campus. She’ll use Angel in the University College’s career class for freshman this fall.
“I’m looking forward to exploring the assignment and drop box features for student essays,” said Unda, a counselor at the Center for Advising and Career Development. “Anything that can help me avoid lugging stacks of papers home for grading on weekends will be wonderful.”
Faculty learn new technology

The CDPE has long offered training to its WSU Online instructors, said David Cillay, executive director. “Now the line between tools for on-campus and online instruction is blurring,” he said. “It’s a natural extension for us to become a one-stop shop, a central place where faculty can prepare to use new technologies for instruction.”

Students also benefit, Durfey said. “This is an opportunity to stay connected with them, give them quick feedback, and keep them engaged,” he said. “So, when the grade is assigned, they feel comfortable that’s the grade they earned.”
Staying ahead of the curve
Durfey has always been ahead of the curve, someone who could see the connection between crops and computers, satellites and soil samples. In the 1990s, he delved into Speakeasy Café, a software-based learning system that was a precursor to Angel. But the curve may be catching up: “We have a new generation of learners,” he said. “You see them around campus, always engaged in technology. They text and walk at the same time, which is amazing.”