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September 1, 2011 / dlitgroup

Weekly Updates – September 2nd

The following updates are from the DLIT Department for the week ending September 2nd.


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

Department Action Projects

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

  • Project 1 – Extend DL Program
    • HLC Application for Distance Delivery Application – Eric Kunnen provided assistance and narrative for the final draft of the HLC application.
    • DL on GRCC Home Page – Eric Kunnen requested that Distance Learning be added as a link on the GRCC Home Page under Current Students.  This student facing website ( – designed to promote and assist students) was not visible and was not able to be accessed from the GRCC Home Page.  Through the support of the Communications Office this link is now visible and students can access the resources.
    • OHCC Additional Session Created – Garry Brand offered the suggestion and the team supported running a second OHCC in October.  Luann will lead one session and Garry the other.  Meegan and Tim will also support this work.  Thanks to the team for pulling this together.
    • Lunch and Learn for Blackboard Exemplary Course Award Program – Meegan Lillis contacted Denise, Lisa and Mursalata who participated in the Exemplary Course Award Program last year.  This lunch and learn will be offered through the Center for Teaching Excellence.  In short, this will be a three-part series on the Blackboard Exemplary Course Award Program and the development of quality online courses at GRCC.
    • Distance Learning Data Highlight – 19.4% of GRCC students (3,390) are enrolled in at least one online course for the Fall 2011 semester.
    • Online Bb Orientation for Online Students – Meegan Lillis worked through enhancements to the orientation site based on feedback from Isaac.  Goeffery, another student worker has also reviewed the site and submitted recommendations.  Jose will work with Isaac and Geoffrey to record a Camtasia Relay overview of the Bb Orientation site.
    • DL Student Website – Isaac, Geoff reviewed the site for corrections, additions, and clarifications from the student perspective.
    • Student & Instructor FAQs – Jose  Mora is working the student workers to build a student and instructor Frequently Asked Questions list for online/distance learning and Blackboard.
  • Project 2 – Enhance Classroom and Instructional Technologies
    • Lecture Capture Session Planning – Meegan Lillis met with Melanie Forbes who is planning to conduct a lunch and learn session through the Center for Teaching Excellence on Camtasia Relay.
  • Project 3 – Extend Blackboard Learn, Content, Community
    • Blackboard Team Meeting – Every Wednesday the Blackboard Team meets.  Members include: Meegan Lillis, Fred Bauman, Mark Nordblom, Garry Brand, and Eric Kunnen.  The running agenda includes:
      1. Current Issues
      2. Perfective Maintenance
      3. Project Updates
      4. Pilots
      5. Promotion / Awareness
      6. Infrastructure and Automation Connection
      7. Help Desk and Support
    • Blackboard Support Call – A conference call with Bb Inc. was held to discuss support options as Szymon transitions to faculty.  In attendance from GRCC was David Anderson, Donovan Wallace, Peggy Gorno, Mark Nordblom, and Eric Kunnen.
    • Starfish Early Alert Conference Call – Mark Nordblom and Eric Kunnen held a conference call with Starfish Early Alert to be sure things are set and ready for the Fall semester.
    • 2010-11 Starfish Early Alert Summary – The following stats were provided by Starfish in a report:
      • 240 instructors completed flag surveys in the Winter 2011 term, raising 1,632 flags on 1,152 students. These flags automatically notified the retention specialist, director of academic support or other assigned staff by email, who contacted the students.
      • 90% of flags raised for behavior or conduct concerns were cleared, and students contacted, within six days on average. These flags were handled by the associate director of student conduct.
      • 60% of students automatically flagged and emailed for not logging in to Blackboard for an online course reengaged within 4 days, on average.
    • Interactive Rubrics – Meegan Lillis created two tip sheets for the new interactive rubrics in Blackboard. They are both in the list of tip sheets, and also on the rubrics page: The first one covers how to create a rubric and add it to an assessment. The second one covers how to use a rubric to grade a discussion board forum.
    • Blackboard Portal Cleanup – Eric Kunnen work to customize and manage the display elements in the Blackboard portal.  The My Bb tab and associated modules were streamlined to remove clutter and to create a more clear, clean, and efficient interface.
    • Center for Teaching Excellence Drop-Ins – The DLIT staff (Garry Brand, Meegan Lillis, and Eric Kunnen) helped support the faculty drop-ins last week and this week.
    • DLIT LIVE on Blackboard IM – Meegan Lillis created a Blackboard IM blog post to advertise the live chat service that DLIT is providing for faculty assistance with Blackboard.  See:
    • SP6 Patch Testing – Meegan Lillis tested 3 patches on the Blackboard test environment.  These provide solutions for multiple footnotes in email, PDF files not displaying correctly, and an issue with timed assessments.  These patches will be put into production at the next maintenance window.
    • SafeAssign – A concern was raised by a student with the SafeAssign tool.  Release statements are being gathered from the Bb listservs for community scanning purposes and for potential inclusion into our tipsheets and training.
    • Drop-In – The Math Department, through Melanie Forbes organized their own drop-in session last Friday.  This provided assistance for Math faculty on preparing their Blackboard courses for the semester start.
    • Blackboard Stats from the Semester Startup:
      • Before the semester even started, 26% of Blackboard courses N=883 (3402) were set available to students.  This provided students with early access to syllabi and other course resources.
      • Through Google Analytics the following data was collected:
        • On August 30th there were 18,279 visits to the Blackboard system.
        • The top browsers used by visitors included:
          43% Firefox
          31% IE
          13% Chrome
          9% Safari
          2% Android
        • The top operating systems used by visitors included:
          83% Windows
          11% Machintosh
          2% Android
          1% iPhone
          .5% iPad
          .3% iPod touch
        • The top ISP (network service providers) used by visitors included (numbers rounded):
          10,330 visits on the GRCC Network
          7,600 visit on the Comcast Network
          3,800 visits on the ATT Network
          3,200 visits on the Charter Network
        • The top mobile access devices included:
          642 visits on Android
          402 visits on iPhone
          208 visits on iPad
          181 visits on iPod touch
      • The following data is from BbStats (Szymon Machajewski’s Blackboard Building Block)
        • Unique Users Logging In:
          Logged in: 748 faculty
          Logged in: 14701 students
          89% of faculty have logged in in the past 25 days.
          83% of students have logged in in the past 25 days.
          Did not login: 105 faculty
          Did not login: 2983 students
        • There were 333 Blackboard assessment attempts (tests in progress) around 10AM on Wednesday, August 31.
        • There were a max of 1,814 authenticated users registered per hour on August 30th.
        • On August 31st, there were 4,922 courses active on the system. (Active is accessed within the past 30 days.)
        • 2134 emails were sent out within 1 hour on August 29th at 3PM.
      • Blackboard IM:
        Total user accounts on Blackboard Instant Messenger: 6,187
        •    2 created in the last 24 hours
        •    17 created in the last 7 days
        •    44 created in the last 30 days
      • Bb Connect:
        There are 6,075 users with mobile numbers in the Bb system.
        The top providers include:
        2683 Verizon
        1393 Sprint
        853 AT&T
        334 T-Mobile
        145 Virgin Mobile
        134 Metro PCS

Other Work within Your Department

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

  • Blackboard Admin Training – Thanks to the support of Ric Underhile and Kevin O’Halla, Mark Nordblom is planning to receive administrator training.  This Server Administrator Certification opportunity will cover Linux/Unix and is an online course over 2 weeks that culminates with a 2-day onsite at Bb for final certification.   The schedule here:

One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. machajewski (@machajewski) / Sep 1 2011 3:18 am

    I love the updated My Bb and News tabs. Great job. Congrats on the recognition of your contributions on Twitter.

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