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.
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.
ITS - Client Services Virginia Community College System