The College of Education is terminating its contract with WATERMARK and will discontinue its usage of the education software LiveText after students experienced continual problems with it.
LiveText provides assessment management technology which the College of Education used to store observation hours and documents such as background checks and insurance.
In a letter sent to everyone in the education department, the College of Education said it was “committed to locating a replacement product that is cost-free to the students.”
Students were also asked not to buy an upgraded version of the program.
The college had initially entered into contract with LiveText which merged with three other assessment management technology companies to form WATERMARK in 2017.
The newly formed company offered VIA as an upgrade to LiveText. Students had to purchase this upgrade, but the program’s transition to a new interface caused some students to have technical difficulties.
The College of Education and WATERMARK are working together to issue refunds to those who bought the VIA product or those who had to pay an upgrade fee.
Anyone who purchased VIA online directly from the company can request a refund within 30 days of purchase.
Those who purchased VIA at a bookstore must contact that bookstore for refund information.
While new purchases may be protected, students who purchased the program subscription earlier in the past may be out of luck for a refund.
Elizabeth Miller, a senior English language arts education major from Ashford, purchased the program last year after she was told she would need it for all of her courses.
“One of the requirements for our courses is if you don’t have LiveText, you fail the class,” Miller said. “But what about all these other students who paid all this money?”
Miller paid “over $100” to purchase the subscription for the program.
“People who bought LiveText thinking they’d use it the whole time they’re in the education department, I don’t think they’re going to do anything about that,” said Katie Curington, a senior English language arts education major from Enterprise.
Curington bought a five-year subscription for LiveText “two or three” years ago, also for “over 100 dollars.”
Isabella Warren, director of assessment for the College of Education, said that administration is “trying to do better for students,” hoping to find a more cost-effective assessment program to retain all the needed documents of an education major.
“We do realize the debt load on our students, and what they have to pay for their books and what they have to pay for their school keeps growing,” Warren said. “Can we reduce the cost of any outside required software, or eliminate it? Their (students’) plight hasn’t fallen on deaf ears.
“I wish it was a clean thing, and I could just magically say, ‘yes, it works perfectly.’ We appreciate the students’ understanding and thoughtfulness.”