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September 16, 2010 / dlitgroup

Weekly Updates – September 17

The following updates are from the week ending September 18th:

  • Blackboard Faculty Support Requests – DLIT responded to more than 100 requests for support with Bb.  These requests ranged from how to and basic questions to troubleshooting errors and occasionally ended with a support ticket being filed to Bb support.  [Linked to Extending Bb Learn Platform DAP and DL CAP]
  • Bb Support Tickets – 4 tickets have been filed with Blackboard for issues reported by faculty since September 10th. The issues reported include: group discussion boards, images in test banks, exporting courses, and discussion board tool link issues. [Linked to Extending Bb Learn Platform DAP]
  • Bb Content System Use – The Bb Content System was used for the EN097 classes to deliver the first 7 chapters (in PDF) of their textbook as the hard copy is not yet available in the Bookstore.  The Bb Content System provided an effective solution to this problem. [Linked to Extending Bb Learn Platform DAP]
  • OHCC Dates Selected – The Online and Hybrid Certification dates have been selected and updated through 2011.  They are as follows: [Linked to Extending Bb Learn Platform DAP and DL CAP] Winter 2011 Orientation: Friday, January 14, 1-2:30pm
    Online Week One: January 17 – 23
    Online Week Two: January 24 – 30
    Online Week Three:  January 31 – February 6
    Online Week Four: February 7 – 13
    Online Week Five: February 14 – 20Spring 2011

    Orientation: Friday, May 6, 1-2:30pm
    Online Week One: May 9 – 15
    Online Week Two: May 16 – 22
    Online Week Three: May 23 – 29
    Online Week Four: May 30 – June 5
    Online Week Five: June 6 – 12

    Summer 2011

    Orientation: Friday, July 15, 1-2:30pm
    Online Week One: July 18 – 24
    Online Week Two: July 25 – 31
    Online Week Three: August 1 – 7
    Online Week Four: August 8 – 14
    Online Week Five:  August 15 – 21

    Fall 2011

    Orientation: Friday, October 14, 1-2:30pm
    Online Week One: October 17 – 23
    Online Week Two: October 24 – 30
    Online Week Three: October 31 – November 6
    Online Week Four: November 7 – 13
    Online Week Five:  November 14 – 20

  • OHCC Instructor Certification Clean Up – The certification list for faculty was reviewed and significant time was spent to reconcile the list of certified faculty.  This list now needs to be compared against Peoplesoft records to ensure we are not missing faculty.  Based on this data, an email invitation was sent to faculty who have dropped (20) and have incomplete (12) certifications.  The email included upcoming CTE training sessions that will be offered this semester and into the Winter. [Linked to Extending Bb Learn Platform DAP and DL CAP]
  • Bb LoginAs Community Response – Szymon Machajewski shared a LoginAs tool that he developed with the Bb community.   This Building Block provides an easy way for administrators of the Bb system to see the screen of individual users which makes troubleshooting issues much easier.  Maricopa Community Colleges sent a nice note to reflect the value of community and collaboration.  One of the comments was: “This tool is sure to not only save us money but will absolutely increase the quality of support we can provide to students and instructors.” – Programming Analyst Instructional Systems, Maricopa Community Colleges [Linked to Extending Bb Learn Platform DAP]
  • bbStats Building Block Released  – Szymon Machajewski release a bbStats Building Block that provides detailed usage data. hank you everyone for the supportive and generous response to my call.  Many eyes do make the bugs shallow. The bbStats system is available at: and a few additional screenshots are here:  Szymon offers special thanks for feedback and suggestions to Scott Gast from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Glen Parker from University of South Florida. [Linked to Extending Bb Learn Platform DAP]
  • Bb Pilot Server Shutdown – The Bb 9 Pilot server was shutdown after Summer courses were archived and backed up.  This server will become the Bb 9 TEST server so that we can begin testing the latest Service Pack from Blackboard.  The pilot server was of tremendous value as we were able to prepare, conduct a live pilot during the first session of summer.  Without this server, the Bb upgrade wouldn’t have been possible.  Thanks to IT and the infrastructure team for their work in helping to manage this. [Linked to Extending Bb Learn Platform DAP]
  • Starfish Early Alert – An issue was found with the auto-flag for average grade columns.  This flag has been temporarily turned off while further investigation ensues.  A meeting was held with Starfish to review the issues and also to setup a Flag Survey.  This survey will be sent out to all AFP and online faculty requesting them to raise flags of concerns for students.  Last week there were 34 manual flags raised on students for (behavorial, academic performance, or attendance concerns) while there were also 368 automatic flags (214 flags were also cleared which means that these students logged in after receiving the email – see graph below) raised for online courses with students that haven’t logged into their course within 7 days. [Linked to Extending Bb Learn Platform DAP and DL CAP]
  • Bb Known Issues and FAQs – The Bb Known Issues and FAQs were updated to include new reported issues by faculty and also common questions received by DLIT. [Linked to Extending Bb Learn Platform DAP]
  • Bb All Faculty Start of Semester Email – An email was sent to all faculty highlighting key usage data as well as known issues and FAQs. [Linked to Extending Bb Learn Platform DAP]
  • Campus Wide Licensed Instructional Technology Software – A request to better integrate and institutionalize the following applications across campus was sent to IT: Wimba Pronto, Camtasia Relay, Lockdown Browser, and general browser (Java, JRE, Flash, etc.) needs for Blackboard. These applications really need to be deployed campus wide and we need to ensure these are available across campus for improved ROI.
  • Microphones & Audio in the Classroom with Camtasia Relay – We have talked about this issue in the past and there are a wide array of approaches .  The recent issues that some instructors have experienced with audio capture seems to indicate a need to track a solution to audio/microphone needs in the classroom.  It seems a few of the technical issues have been that the drivers or other computer image issue was preventing the use of microphones when plugged in to a desktop in a classroom.  We need to take a look at an intermediate solution, perhaps, whereby we permanently install a microphone in certain classrooms for faculty.  This would be similar to how we are deploying the wireless mice and keyboards.  Camtasia Relay is campus wide software and we need to ensure it works seamless for faculty.  In addition, a test server for Relay is needed so that we can test the latest release that is supposed to have better visual indicators for detecting problems with audio.
  • Bb Load Balancer – Having a load balancer is good for our campus, however, having both enterprise systems (Peoplesoft and Blackboard) using the same load balancer has been challenging in troubleshooting issues.  It also can become a single point of failure.  In addition, having PS and Bb tied together prevents or delays taking action promptly as if we do something to the load balancer because of Bb, then Peoplesoft gets effected, and vice versa.  DLIT proposes a separate solution for Blackboard so that Peoplesoft and Bb are not tied to the same load balanced system.  The specific recommendation for Bb is DNS round robin. [Linked to Extending Bb Learn Platform DAP]
  • Bb Usage Stats – Courses for Fall were made available to faculty starting in July and since the beginning of the semester, more than 780 faculty have logged into the system.  In addition, over 830 courses were made available to students BEFORE the semester start date.  This provides students with early access to the course syllabus and provides a good way of engaging students.  Finally, since the semester start date over 2,400 courses have been accessed by faculty.  The top tools used by faculty include Course Documents, Grade Center, Discussion Board, External Links, Assessments, Announcements, and Assignments.  In addition, new tools that are available this Fall are also showing an increase in use.  Among them are: NBC Video, YouTube Mashups, Journals, Blogs, Wimba Voice/Audio, and Wikis.
  • Bb Training Session – A session focused on how to use the Grade Center was delivered.

1) Opportunities to Serve

At this point in the semester, there are no special DLIT events other than the ongoing training sessions for Blackboard offered through the CTE.
2) Did You Know?

Blackboard and Starfish usage stats (see above) may be of interest here.


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