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November 18, 2010 / dlitgroup

Weekly Updates – November 17

Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies Weekly Report

The following updates are for the MID-week ending November 17th, 2010:

Departmental – This category includes general tasks, ongoing maintenance, issue tracking, faculty support, and other duties related to the department’s operations.

  • Faculty Support Tickets – This week, DLIT responded to over 92 faculty requests for assistance with Blackboard and instructional technologies.  This work continues to occupy the top spot in both priority and time spent for the department.  A full time Blackboard faculty support position is needed to help satisfy an increasing support demand while also providing the quality and responsiveness that faculty expect and need.
  • Prospective Faculty Event – Eric Kunnen provided a Blackboard, Distance Learning, and instruction technology overview session at the “prospective faculty” event held on November 13th.
  • Updated Web Pages – Eric Kunnen updated a few web pages that were part of the DLIT set of pages that still referenced the Learning Academy and Blackboard 8.  There is more work to be done on the DL and DLIT department websites.  This work is very important and would benefit from additional resources to support regular updates while also including promotion and awareness of events and teaching resources through social networking.
  • SafeAssign Outage – On Tuesday a notice was sent to faculty about an outage to SafeAssign which caused a delay in papers being properly and timely processed for plagiarism.
  • Closed out Parature Tickets – Eric Kunnen closed out as many Parature tickets assigned to DLIT as possible.  This work was needed to assist in the transition to GroupLink.  It is unknown if GroupLink will be an effective tool for DLIT’s support of faculty help requests.
  • Dropping Grades Video Tutorial Created – Bill Faber and Garry Brand worked to develop a how to vide on how to drop grades in Blackboard 9.1.
  • IT Meeting on Bb Priorities – Eric Kunnen and Szymon Machajewski met with the CIO and Donovan Wallace to review upcoming Blackboard projects and set priorities for new projects.
  • Android App Developed – Szymon Machajewski developed a mobile app for the Andriod platform. The functionality is consistent with the iPhone app.  The strength of this deployment is that we can manage both apps based on the same server side technology.  Screen shots are available here: and
  • Bb Grade Center Training – Bill Faber delivered a CTE training session on how to use the Blackboard 9.1 gradebook.
  • Relay Upgrade to 3.0 Testing – Szymon Machajewski upgraded the Relay server from 1.2 to 3.0 on a test server to evaluate and plan to upgrade the production environment.  The new version includes auto-closed captioning capabilities as well as auto-audio levels and a new player that scales to the browser size which is a very nice improvement.

Access – GRCC minimizes the barriers of time, place, cost, and educational preparation levels so that all members of the community have an opportunity to participate in college programs.

  • Blackboard and McGraw Hill Select School Field Trial Investigation – DLIT participated in a Webinar on the upcoming Blackboard Building Block that will enable enhanced integration between the McGraw Hill Connect product and the Bb grade center as well as the ability to integrate content directly into Bb’s content areas.
  • DL Faculty Email Group Created – A new Distance Learning email group was created that provides an easy way to email all certified online faculty.  A message was provided to faculty regarding several updates, including the Bb Exemplary Course Award program, an upcoming research project, and a good example of the English Department meeting together to share best practice.
  • End Statement Document Drafted – Eric Kunnen drafted a “Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies and the Access End Statement at GRCC” document and shared that with the Provost.
  • DL CAP update and AGC Preview of DL CAP – Eric Kunnen provided updates to Deans and also shared a preview presentation with AGC Exec.

Academic Alignment – GRCC collaborates closely with other educational providers to provide a seamless transition across all educational sectors.

Student Success – GRCC students achieve their educational goals.

  • Online Student Research Project – Frank Conner is leading a project that looks a what makes students successful in online courses.  This research project is set to start next semester and will include a survey of all online students.  Here’s the inventory we are looking at  This has the six scales and the results are given in T scores so we could do the statistical analysis needed for our research.

Workforce Development – GRCC students are prepared to secure employment in all sectors of the economy.

The GRCC Experience – GRCC provides students with co-curricular experiences that help them develop their citizenship skills.

Community Outreach – GRCC enriches the community through educational and civic programming and partnerships.

  • Western Washington University – A call was held between GRCC and WWU to compare notes on our Camtasia Relay deployments.  We also were able to share how GRCC has developed a custom Relay/Raidercast mashup tool to make it effective for faculty to integrate content into their courses in Bb.
  • Walsh College, Bb, Synchronous Discussions – A call was held with Walsh College to share best practice, ideas, and brainstorming on how to best support faculty, build online courses, and to determine how synchronous tools are valuable in DL courses.
  • Russian College Visit to GRCC – Eric Kunnen coordinated and assisted in the planning of a visit by Russian college Kazan State University.  They will be visiting our MTEC automotive department.
  • Survey – DLIT Participated in WCET and The Campus Computing Project.  The goal is to “bring data” to the campus planning and policy discussions about distance and online education in colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. The survey is part of the continuing work of WCET and Campus Computing that focuses on campus policies, plans, and practices affecting online education in two- and four-year colleges and universities. The survey covers a critical set of instructional, organizational, and operational issues affecting online education programs. It will also provide valuable benchmarking data for our institution.
  • myGRCC & Portal Meeting – A call and meeting with Seneca and Baldwin Wallace University was held to learn more about their Blackboard Portals. Both colleges shared their best practices.  Seneca has developed a robust Building Block to better draw in RSS feeds.
  • BIE Steering Committee Meeting – Eric Kunnen will be attending the steering committee meeting with the following highlights on the agenda:

o   Product Roadmap

o   Responsiveness and Maintenance Strategy

o   Improving User Experience

o   Partnerships and Adoption

o   Blackboard Openness

o   Supporting Clients for Success & Excellence

o   Update on Blackboard Collaborate

o   Expanding the Blackboard Community

  • Global Education Conference – DLIT participated in a few online sessions offered at this first ever event. The free, all-online 2010 Global Education Conference had 397 sessions from 62 countries scheduled, as well as 63 keynote speakers. Also visit Classroom 2.0 at:

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