Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Bb 6 Training Server

This is just to let everybody know that sometime over the holiday
break, what we have traditionally called the "Bb 6 Test Server" will
be rebuilt and when it emerges from the ashes, it will known as the
"Bb 6 Training Server". This is your last chance to save off anything
on there that you may want to keep.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

RE: web conferencing software usage at VCCS colleges

Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 2:26 pm:

For those of you who are not members of the DDLC, I wanted to make sure you were aware of the content of an e-mail I sent yesterday to members of the DDLC. The e-mail dealt primarily with a the needs analysis we conducted (led by Inez!) regarding web conferencing software usage at VCCS colleges. The text of the e-mail is below. If you would like to receive the two supporting documents that were attached to the e-mail simply e-mail me at and I'll be happy to send them out.

DDLC Members
As you are aware, the DDLC voted at our last meeting at Featherstone to research the possibility of implementing a series of pilot programs to investigate the utility of web conferencing systems in the VCCS. In that regard, we agreed to begin that process with a needs analysis to determine the current usage of web conferencing across the VCCS, as well as gauge the desire for increased usage or an enterprise system. With the help of Inez Farrell, we employed VCCS Discuss to survey both current usage and perceived need for web conferencing software at VCCS Colleges.

I’ve attached two documents to this e-mail. The first is a summary of the average results of a survey assessing the perceived need for an Enterprise version of web conferencing software. The second document is a first draft of a chart that shows which VCCS colleges currently using web conferencing, along with contact names of those who can describe how the products have been used at the various colleges.

Based on these two documents we will discuss at our meeting on February 4th the following points:

  1. There does not appear to be a widespread desire for an enterprise version of web conferencing software at most colleges in the VCCS.
  2. There are several colleges who are using different web conferencing software products currently. Those products are being deployed to meet a diversity of local needs at the various colleges.
  3. Several colleges are asking for an enterprise audio plug-in for blackboard that would allow faculty and students to increase interactivity in distance and distributed courses.
    Once again, at the next DDLC meeting scheduled for February 4th 2005 in Charlottesville, we can discuss further the results of these surveys. In the meantime, if you would like to add any information to the chart of current web conferencing software users, please let me know by e-mail right away. I hope to use that chart as the basis for a discussion as to whether to formalize a web conferencing pilot study OR to simply have individual colleges use the contact information to explore web conferencing options at the local level.

In early January, I’ll send you more details about the location of the February 4th meeting in Charlottesville. Both Dr. White and Dr. Matkin have agreed to attend that meeting so I am looking forward to hearing from each of them how the DDLC can best work to keep them informed regarding the needs of colleges in regard to the implementation of distance and distributed learning initiatives. In preparation for that meeting I think it would be helpful for each of us to review three important documents that guide us as we review

Distance and Distributed Learning Initiatives:

  1. The Chancellor’s goals for Dateline 2009 found at:
  2. The Chancellor’s specific goals for the current year found at:
  3. the executive summary of the VCCS Distance Learning Plan found at:

John Downey
VCCS Distance and Distributed Learning Committee



Friday, December 10, 2004

Blackboard Web Seminars

You are already advancing teaching and learning through technology on your campus using parts of the Blackboard Academic Suite. You may be looking for additional ways to maximize your e-Learning potential on campus by using the Blackboard Learning System and/or the Blackboard Content System. If so, Blackboard is offering free Web Seminars over the next few weeks (a schedule and sign-up is available at

The Blackboard Learning System: From Pilot Program to Powerful Enterprise
This 1 hour Web Seminars illustrates some of the advantages available by moving from the pilot stage of an e-Learning initiative to a more powerful, enterprise-wide program. The Web Seminar includes an Overview, Demo and Q&A. (Recommended for Learning System Basic Clients)
  • Tuesday, December 7, 2004 2PM EST
  • Thursday, December 16, 2004 10AM EST

The Blackboard Content System
This 1 hour Web Seminar explores how to centrally manage, store, update and share content. In addition, learn how to reduce content storage costs and use e-Portfolios. The Web Seminar includes an Overview, Demo and Q&A.

  • Wednesday, December 15, 2004 at 2PM EST
  • Tuesday, December 21, 2004 10AM EST

To participate in one of these Web Seminars, please sign up by going to and enrolling.
You will receive an e-mail confirmation with all the information you need.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Minutes from Blackboard Administrator WebConference, November 18, 2004

Blackboard Administrator WebConference, November 18, 2004

The following people attended: Blair Potts, Adam Bryant, Amy Abbott, Inez Farrell, Ginny Scott, Jaime Shetrone, Jennifer Smith, Jim Blackburn, Kristen Kelly, Kristy Walker, Leslie Smith, Malcolm White, Mark Nelson, Mary Clare DiGiacomo, Matt Lawson, Michelle Gee, Ruth Smith, Sadie Hastings, Shelia Hobbs, Stacey Harris, Sue Ann Curran

DDLC Update : Mary Clare DiGiacomo reported.
WebConferencing: The DDLC looked at 4 systems. It was decided that no recommendation could be made at this time. Inez Farrell reported on the sub-committee she is chairing to pilot use of this technology. She asked that all colleges submit a survey she has posted (http: -I've already completed the survey for TNCC) by November 30 as a first step.

Content Management System: It was recommended by the DDLC that the Blackboard Content Management System be included in the Academic Suite to be purchased by the VCCS. The Learning Object Repository project is separate and may use a different system or may use Bb.

Bb6 Migration: The DDLC recommended that any steering/coordinating/executive committee formed for the migration have a majority of Bb Admins to be appointed by the Bb agent group. The DDLC also recommended that this group be formed as quickly as possible. It has been stated that money is available for training. There was discussion with Toni Cleveland about funding for Admins to attend the Bb conference in the spring. The Admin agents will follow up with necessary information.

LSA Agent Replacement:
Daniel Curnutte has left the VCCS. Mary Clare DiGiacomo was accepted by acclamation to succeed him on the agent group.

E-mail Update:
Matt Lawson has been very cooperative in posting e-mail related warnings and information on the Bb login page. Our request for some way to get these on the e-mail log-in page has not yet been answered, so we will keep trying.
Mark Nelson will act as point-man for the Bb Admins on e-mail issues. He will make sure we are able to be helpful as the System chooses and implements a new e-mail system.

Building Block Update:
Jennifer Smith is coordinating the identification and description of Building Blocks we may want for Bb6. She will also find out what colleges are using. We hope to avoid conflict and duplication between colleges and between colleges and the SO.

Viewlet Collection:
Ruth Smith will coordinate the collection and assessment of viewlets (short multimedia tutorial pieces) for Bb6 to share with the other Admins as a resource for the migration and training.

Future Meeting Schedule:
The Bb Admins will meet on Monday, December 13 in Lynchburg. The morning will consist of presentations/training and the afternoon will feature a Bb Admin meeting. The proceedings will be broadcast via webconference.

Sample Training Piece:
Inez Farrell presented a short piece created with Captivate to demonstrate the potential for us to create many of our training assets.

Migration Plan: Matt Lawson presented.
Matt discussed the draft plan that has been posted.

The executive or oversight committee is in discussion by ITS management. Final disposition is expected in the near future.

ITS recognizes the need to get the migration process planned.

When the hardware schedule is finalized, the training process can be scheduled. In the meantime, the Bb Admins will continue the process of coordinating the identification of training needs and initial production of needed assets.

The issue of what functionality will be turned on in Bb6 was addressed. The agents will select a group of admins to work with Matt on identifying what is available and making recommendations as to what is to be used. The agents will ask AS&R to make a liason available so that academic input is given in this vital area. Constant reports are to be made in VCCS Discuss. The Admins should expect to make final recommendations on this December 13.

The draft migration schedule calls for a two phase migration. Admins were asked to get word as quickly as possible on what group their college will go in, first or second. Matt has posted a survey to aid in this at (http:/-I've already completed the survey for TNCC)

Sue Ann Curran will analyze data from PSoft in order to identify support issues that might arise for students enrolled in more than one college during the migration. SVCC has studied this some, and will make its data available to her. It was pointed out that some colleges have arrangements that make it necessary for them to be in the same group as other colleges. Matt has made provision on his survey for gathering that information.

The idea of the entire system migrating at once came up. The group will wait for Matt’s professional opinion on the technical issues surrounding that before even discussing it further.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Web Services

All Web Services have been restored to faculty.