Friday, November 18, 2005

Blackboard Content System

Posted on Friday, November 18, 2005 - 3:38 pm:

The Blackboard Content System gives faculty members a central location to manage their online course content and the ability to share content with other instructors. The Content System also creates a virtual space for librarians to manage eReserves for courses.

Over 80 faculty members, librarians, and administrators participated in a six week pilot of the Blackboard Content System. The pilot began in early September and ended the week of November 7th with a wrap-up online meeting on November 9. We would like to thank the participants for their contributions and insights during the pilot.

Content Sharing

Participants were pleased with the ability to share content between their courses and with other faculty members. Usage has been initially tentative, but with the newly enabled WYSIWYG editor integration, we expect more adoption, and in general expect usage to grow gradually. Several colleges reported using the workflow and sharing capabilities of the system to co-operatively develop college documents.


Initial quotas for new users will be set at 100 MB, with Learning System Administrators having the capability to increase that to 200 MB. Colleges are encouraged to use Blackboard Organizations to share content among programs and groups both at colleges and across the VCCS.


The pilot provided staff and faculty members with an opportunity to explore the potential uses of ePortfolios. While there was some interest in the ePortfolio feature, most faculty and colleges saw it as a tool having more application for students. The VCCS has not systematically investigated the e-Portfolio software marketplace however and this feature will not be available to students when the Content System is released.


One issue that did arise during the pilot was the ease of use of WebDav (using Microsoft’s Web Folders to manage Content System content). A number of participants encountered difficulties with WebDav and Microsoft's client has known bugs. As a result, ITS is investigating a system-wide license for a software product with better performance managing web folders.


We are still developing our understanding of the e-Reserves functionality and how it will most effectively integrate with our existing library systems' capabilities. We will work with VCCS and college librarians to effectively implement this functionality.

The Blackboard Content System will be released to all faculty and staff members on November 21, 2005.



David Carter-Tod
ITS - Client Services Virginia Community College System

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Macromedia Captivate

New program ready for checkout from library.

I have 50 copies of Macromedia Captivate. If you want one you must email me so I can put you on the checkout list. (We still have 10 Acrobat 6, 23 Macromedia MX and 2 Camtasia Studio/Snag-It licenses left. Please send separate request.)

More Info:

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Moving Content

There is some confusion between the different ways to move course materials from an “old course” to a new blank shell.
There are several ways to do this.
1. Export/Import
2. Archive
3. Copy

Which is best? That’s up to you. Attached are single page Word documents (.doc) that describe the function of each method and the process. If you need help moving content from an old semester to a current semester please contact either me or Jan Klingberg ( 825-3880) for help.

Below is a tip about the process I received from an instructor. Please feel free to send your comments and I will pass them along to the group.

Professor’s Tips:

“I have done this twice and have noticed that "Copy" will rearrange the order of items with in Content Areas. I have better luck with "Export" or "Archive" and then an "Import". Because we are not given the "Restore", the archived file that is imported does not contain the student's activity.”

Export Course.doc
Import Package.doc
Copy Course.doc
Archive Course.doc

Spring 2006 Blackboard Requests

It’s time to request your Spring 2006 Blackboard Shells. Fill out the request form located at: . Requests are processed every Friday. (You must know your section number before you can request a course shell.)

Bb shells created as of November 1, 2005:
82 Distance
53 Distributive
17 Hybrid

Distance-a course taught using Blackboard via the Internet.
Distributive- a course taught using technology (Blackboard) in concert with face-to-face classes.
Hybrid- a course conducted in a combination of traditional classroom lecture and online (Distance Learning) delivery.