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August 5, 2011 / dlitgroup

Weekly Updates – August 5

The following updates are from the DLIT Department for the week ending August 5th.


This area includes international, national, regional, state, and local activities.

  • ETOM Board – The ETOM (Educational Technology Organization of Michigan) Board meeting was held here at GRCC and during the meeting, Eric Kunnen was elected as “President-elect” for the ETOM.
  • SecondLife Tour – Garry Brand participated in a tour of Henry Ford Community College’s SecondLife world through the MCCVLC.
  • Ask Dr. C Webinar – DLIT participated in a webinar and feedback session for an upcoming release of Bb Learn 9.1.
  • bbStats Top Download – Szymon Machajewski’s bbStats Blackboard Building block made the list of most popular building blocks (Top Downloads) on OSCELOT.  See:
  • bbStats Aggregation and Benchmarking – Szymon Machajewski updated the bbStats aggregation project to compare our Blackboard stats to other colleges:
  • Appcelerator Honors – Szymon Machajewski was accepted to the Appcelerator Titan group, which is a set of experts in mobile development.
  • SP6 Blackboard Upgrade Conference Call – DLIT participated in the Service Pack 6 upgrade conference call with several other colleges and universities to process through our recent upgrade to Blackboard.

Department Action Projects

This area includes accomplishments or milestones regarding Departmental Action Project(s).

  • Project 1 – Extend DL Program
    • MCCVLC Enrollments – Jose Mora and Misty McClure are working to update enrollments for the MCCVLC.
    • Fall Enrollment for DL – GRCC online learning grows by over 14% (4,658 enrollments) for Fall semester with an increase of unique students by 24% (3,147). Also noteworthy is that GRCC online courses made up 21.9% of all total credits for summer 2011 based on reports from the Institutional Research Department.
    • OHCC – Garry Brand and Meegan Lillis facilitated OHCC with Tim Koets – 13 faculty participated in the OHCC this week.  The course is 15 hours and we estimate that each participant spends 3.0 hours per week. 1 participant has not accessed the course yet and has since dropped.  This work involves facilitating the weekly face to face 1.5 hour campus session (Tim Koets leading) and an additional 6+ hours facilitating the online portion (Garry Brand leading).
  • Project 2 – Enhance Classroom and Instructional Technologies
    • GRCC Digital Initiative – Meegan Lillis and Eric Kunnen worked on a tracking spreadsheet and word document for the GRCC Digital Initiative.
  • Project 3 – Extend Blackboard Learn, Content, Community
    • Bb Diskspace Issue Downtime – Szymon Machajewski worked with the IT team to troubleshoot an issue with no diskspace that caused Bb to be down for about 4 hours on Sunday.
    • SP6 UPGRADED – Throughout the middle of the night the IT and DLIT teams upgraded the Bb server and the Oracle database.  This was a team effort with recognition going to: Szymon Machajewski, Mark Nordblom, Jesse Fuzi, Garry Brand, Meegan Lillis, and Eric Kunnen.
    • SP6 Troubleshooting – DLIT reviewed known issues and created a website ( to host changes in the system as well as to communicate and track issues.  DLIT reviewed, evaluated, and troubleshot more than 21 issues.
    • NEW! Blackboard Connect  Service – Bb Connect was used for communicating  Blackboard downtime.  Here is an interesting summary of the report with the message being sent on 1 Aug 2011 at 4:33 PM (ET).===================================================
      Text-to-Speech Message
      ===================================================Hello, this message is from Grand Rapids Community College.

      Please note that the Blackboard system will be down and unavailable beginning tonight at 9:00 PM on Monday, August 1st.

      This downtime is required to apply a patch to the system.

      Blackboard is expected to be back online and available by Tuesday morning at 8:00 AM.

      We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

      Message Delivery Statistics
      Total Contacts Selected = 4,953
      Total Unique Deliveries = 4,945*

      Successful Deliveries……………..4,130 (83.5%)
                Answering Machine…………………..2,443
                Live Delivery……………………….1,687

      Unsuccessful Deliveries……………..815 (16.5%)
                Bad Phone Number…………………….126
                No Answer…………………………….682

    • Bb Connect Marketing Meeting – Meegan Lillis and Eric Kunnen met with Bb on a conference call to review options for promotion for the new Bb Connect tool which resulted in a new DLIT web page being created. See:
    • Bb Connect Video Tutorials – Meegan Lillis created a video tutorial and tipsheet for the Connect system:
    • Financial Aid Bb Organization Site – An organization site was used for Financial Aid notices which enabled the college to effectively target message groups of students.
    • F11 Courses Created – Courses for Fall for faculty were created on August 2nd.
    • New DB Disk Space Report – Szymon Machajewski authored a new report to monitory Bb disk space as this was the cause for the downtime last Sunday afternoon:
    • Photo Updates – Szymon Machajewski updated the photos for students in the Blackboard Photo Roster.
    • NBC Learn Video Report – Over 120 videos were watched over the past month for a total of over 170 minutes.
    • Blog Posts – Garry Brand authored 3 blog posts on the new features of Service Pack 6:  New Features for Adding Modules to Blackboard, New Grading Features for Discussion Board, and New Rubrics in Blackboard 9.1 (SP6).
    • Bb Building Block Updates – Mark Nordblom installed updates to several building blocks that were needing upgrading after the Service Pack 6 installation.  The updates included: 1)  Link Checker Building Block,
      2) Wimba Voice, and 3) McGraw-Hill.
    • Winter 2010 Courses – The W10 courses have been deleted from the system based on Bb policy.
    • Bb Connect Meeting – DLIT Team met with Derek Devries and Dan Cook about the configuration of Bb Connect.  The Bb Connect Phone Message will be set to extension 3616 with the following call back message for text-to-voice messages:Hello, this phone number, 616-234-3616 is used for the Blackboard Connect communications system.  This callback number is used for outgoing text to voice messages sent from the Blackboard environment at Grand Rapids Community College.  Please contact the sender of the message is you have further questions about the content or subject matter of the phone call or voicemail.If you would like more information about this system please visit:   If you would like to modify your phone number or your notification settings, please login to Blackboard at: and click the Mobile Preferences link from the tools panel.

      Thank you for using Blackboard Connect at GRCC!

    • Blackboard Team Meeting – Garry Brand, Szymon Machajewski, Mark Nordblom, and Eric Kunnen met and discussed:
      • After Party celebration for SP6!  The team took a moment to celebrate at Starbucks! 🙂

        After Party for Blackboard Service Pack 6 Upgrade at Starbucks!

      • Remaining work include tracking issues reported for SP6.
        • Building Block updates need to be evaluated and put in place.
        • Training needs to be a target to leverage new features.
        • Infrastructure Needs:
          1) Need more memory on the database.
          2) Need to split Bbstats database from the main database.
          3) NFS speed limitations and spread data files across multiple mounts.
          4) OEM Notifications need to be sent to our team.
        • The team needs to look at usage graphs every week.
        • Disk space is a concern and it’s an issue because the system has gone down on Sunday because of this and the IT group needs to be tracking this to prevent such outages.
        • Plan for turning on SMS for Connect, we need to pick a day and let people know.

Other Work within Your Department

This area includes accomplishments, milestones, or comments from within the department.

  • DLIT Web Updates – The following pages were updated by the DLIT team:
  • STI/CTE Postcard – Final updates were made to the Summer Technology Institute and Center for Teaching Excellence postcard planned to be sent first thing next week.
  • Staff Development for Faculty – Eric Kunnen met with MB Beighley on what opportunities may be available for faculty through the staff development area.
  • Faculty Professional Development – A meeting was held with the core team including faculty facilitators and DLIT staff (Ann, Garry, Meegan, Jose, Eric, and Tim).  This meeting was to plan and layout Fall training sessions.  A comprehensive list is being generated by Ann Alexander.  Ann is also reaching out to other functional areas to request training support and sessions.  For example: Starfish Early Alert –  John (Sara) /  ADA and Accessibility – Anne / Copyright – Kathy Keating (Danelle Sedore and Danielle Corteville ).  Garry Brand’s notes make up a series of highlights planned for Fall:Tech Institute– August 22-24
    – Monday, Blackboard Bootcamp/Basics, Diane and Luann (Leaders) and others help
    – Tuesday, Blackboard Advanced, Tim and Ann (Leaders) and others help
    – Wednesday, Project Day, Garry (Leader) and others help
    – Planning meeting scheduled for August 15, 1-2pm (Meegan sent appointment)
    – Postcard needs to be out by 5th!


    – Thursday, August 18, 12-4pm (351 Main)
    – Friday, August 19, 9-12pm (351 Main)
    – Monday, August 22nd, 3-5pm (351 Main)
    – Wednesday, August 24th, 3-5pm (351 Main)
    – Friday, August 26th, 10-4pm (316 Main)
    – Monday and Tuesday, 29th and 30th, 1-6pm (351)
    – Ann will send out e-mail regarding facilitator availability

    Potential Sessions

    – Early Alert (Sara Doer)
    – Accessibility and Disability Support (Anne Sherman)
    – Copyright (General Counsel)
    – Assessment (Sarah, Ric, Ann)
    – Rubrics (Two sessions, one on good rubrics and the other on Blackboard)
    – Sneden Learn Labs ( Lisa Gloege?)
    – Open House for Adjunct (Ann?)
    – Advanced OHCC (Garry)
    – Quality Matters and Exemplary Courses ( Lisa Gloege, Mursalata, Meegan)
    – Respondus, Lockdown Browser, Studymate (Meegan)
    – Instructional Design (Meegan)
    – GRCC Digital Initiative (Meegan)
    – Softchalk (Meegan)

    Additional Opportunities for Fall

    – Garry will fill in dates on DLIT training (Editgrid)
    – September 17 is first Adjunct Learning Day, 9-2pm Basic and Advanced Track (Diane, Tim, Luann, Carmela? Meegan?)
    – ETOM Fall Conference (encourage faculty to propose and attend)
    – Davenport Online Conference – WImba?
    – SOTL (May 20-22, FSU, GRCC, GVSU)
    – Davenport (Nov 11)
    – Trends (Oct 20-21)


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