Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wimba Voice Tools for Blackboard - Pilot

Wimaba Voice Tools
Give your online Class a Voice!

To join the pilot and try the Horizon Wimba Building Block for Blackboard:

  1. You will need to register the class that is going to use Wimba with me (that means just give me the course ID). I must send that information to Inez Ferrell,the Director of Instructional Technology, in Richmond.
  2. The instructor will have to give me (to send to Inez) a detailed description of its use within the class instruction (what objectives it will support) the number of students who are in the class and may make use of it
  3. Then an evaluation at the end of the course that illustrates its effectiveness from both the instructor and student point of view.

This may seem like a lot of documentation but it really is not if the students are asked to evaluate Wimba in a discussion board and the instructor can pull the information from both what the purpose of its use was with the objective and the result.

Of course all of this is to help us make a business case for purchasing Wimba on an Enterprise level.

Please call me if you want to join the pilot or have questions.

What is Wimba?


  • Offer live discussions between students and teachers, anytime, anywhere
  • Teach foreign languages by emphasizing speaking and listening
  • Encourage on-going discussions and debates about different subjects and ideas
  • Easily teach pronunciation, rhythm, stress, and emphasis
  • Students learn all aspects of a language through listening, speaking, and writing exercises
  • 24/7 access
  • Seamlessly integrate within Blackboard and WebCT - no new interfaces to configure or commands to learn
  • Instant anytime, anywhere access to language resources as students are no longer constrained by the availability of a physical language lab and/or instructors


  • Live Conversation and/or Voice Coaching
    Practice a language by actually speaking it with someone. This real-time voice conferencing feature allows for live oral language instruction, small group role-plays, and other live, conversation-based tasks. Additionally, instructors can conduct lectures, conferences, discussions and debates, keep virtual office hours for conversations with students, and even record discussions for future playback.
  • Threaded Voice Boards
    Speak and read a language at the same time, or simply create threaded voice discussions about any subject. Great for brainstorming and collaborating on almost any topic in any language, instructors and students can post vocal messages with accompanying text into our voice-based message boards. Discuss multiple subjects at once by dividing new topics into their own threads. This is one of the best ways to practice all aspects of a new language.
  • Embedded Voice within Course Pages
    Easily add listening exercises and voice messages into any CMS course page. Our Voice Tools incorporate a small recorder and playback feature that can be placed within any CMS page allowing instructors to verbally explain complex ideas, post assignments, or simply highlight important ideas that will be discussed in upcoming lessons.
  • Voice-Enabled E-Mail
    Students and instructors can send vocal email messages to anyone, and recipients simply reply by sending their own voice email. Voice emails are particularly useful for role-playing activities and question and answer sessions. And to ensure security, instructors have full control of the distribution of every email.
  • Integrate into your Course Management System
    Our voice tools integrate with course management systems so they have the same look and feel as other tools, significantly reducing barriers of adoption and minimizing learning curves. Our vocal tools appear within your CMS like any other resource; if you know how to use your CMS, you already know how to use Voice Tools.
  • Oral Assessments
    Assess your students 24/7. Enable language instructors to build a wide range of test questions types, such as multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, pairing, voice dialogue, vocal multiple-choice, or vocal pairing multiple-choice. These questions can be associated with a variety of oral, visual, and text-based prompts, requiring oral and text-based responses. Learners simply log into the system and proceed through the test questions, recording their responses as they use Voice Tools.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Minutes- DDLC September 14, 2006

Distance and Distributive Learning Committee Meeting
September 14, 2006

Meeting called to order at 10:00 A.M.

Members Present: Inez Farrell (AS&R), Jeff Burleson (MEC), Charles Boling (VH), Jaime Sheltrone (WCC), Kristen Kelly(JT), George Hoffman (LF), Joan Trabandt (NOVA), Lori Ledford (PVCC), Linda Claussen (NRCC), Reo McBride (DSL), Ruth Smith (TNCC), Kim Blosser (BRCC), Leslie Smith (RCC), Rebecca Blankenship (GCC), Ralph Lucia (ITS) , Matt Lawson (AS&R), John Zwick (TCC), Bill Hightower (AS&R), Joan Tuck (SSVCC), Susan Wood (AS&R), Colleen Kehoe (JSR), Monty Sullivan (AS&R), Susan Beasley (CVCC).

Members Absent: William Dey (DCC), Dick Wilt (ESCC), Shelia Hobbs (PDCCC), Mark Nelson (PHCC), Stacy Harris (SWCC), Ramona Coveny (VWCC).

Opening Remarks: Dr. Monty Sullivan

Distance and Distributive Learning Committee (DDLC) has been reconstituted as an advisory workgroup to the Academic and Student Affairs Council (ASAC) subcommittee on Educational Technology (ET)
The committee will make recommendations on policy level decisions to ASAC’s ET. Inez Farrell will be the voice of DDLC to ASAC’s ET.
The committee is now comprised of nuts and bolts personnel including faculty, and structured to improve communication and electronic services to students,
The Educational Technology group has been reconstituted to bring in Vice Presidents who have experience in technology realm; ASAC is to act on issues of concern.
Impact of this committee affects how we function on a campus level and communicate on a system level


Action Item 1: Election of New Chair: Rebecca Blankenship was nominated by Reo McBride and elected by unanimous vote.

Action Item 2: Recommendation of Archiving Courses In Blackboard


ITS initially proposed current semester and two subsequent semesters.
It was proposed to ITS that faculty would not want archiving to take place until early in 4th semester. ITS explained this would be a hardship on the system as the number of courses makes backups take longer, increases the size of the databases and slows performance. Ralph would like a calendar of semester start and end times so scheduling of events such as this could be facilitated. It was asked that a schedule of dates when courses would be removed from production be published. The calendar would be well in advance and notification sent to Blackboard Administrators.

Various suggested processes were discussed to assist individual instructors who want courses to stay on the system for more than three semesters.

*Recommendation for archiving of courses in Blackboard: It is propose to the Educational Technology Committee of ASAC that courses created in Blackboard for specific semester will be retained for three semesters beyond the semester offered and then be removed from the Blackboard server. Additionally, Blackboard administrators will be responsible for polling faculty each semester and deleting unused courses according to local college guidelines.

Action Item 3: Outdated VDEN procedures that exist outside of VCCS policy

*Action Recommended: Recommendation to Educational Technology Committee of ASAC for review of existing VDEN document and eliminate outdated VDEN procedures. Additionally, incorporate revised procedures into VCCS policy manual and eliminate the VDEN document entirely.

(The goal is to pull out what is relevant, reword it appropriately and put the results into the VCCS policy manual, and in the process eliminating the VDEN document.)

Discussion Item 1: Deletion of course records in Bb archived courses

Course syllabi retained until superseded or obsolete and then destroyed
Academic Records – including roster, grades, postings, student information
When are archives deleted – 2 years total at system level (1 year production, 1 year archive)
What policy for colleges to delete Bb archives?
Will individual college policy supersede Library of Virginia recommendations of three years?
Need to find out what home college does in People Soft – gather information

Homework: DDLC members will find out what their home college does for records retention in People Soft and the effect if any on the records kept in Blackboard. Many committee members did not know of this requirement and do not think it is followed on their campuses.

*Discussion Recommendation: Recommend ASAC discuss policy for retention or deletion of Blackboard archives in compliance with Library of Virginia policy GS111.

Discussion Item 2: Integration with People Soft

*Recommendation: Recommend pursuing the integration of People Soft with Blackboard. DDLC workgroup was formed to further discuss the issues and to write a proposal for ASAC ET that will include a rationale, benefits to the colleges, and strategies that may need to be addressed to successfully implement integration.

Work group: Reo, Jaime, Colleen, Ruth, Kim, Kristen, Leslie, Jeff, and Rebecca. This group will be further divided when the issues are determined.

Information Items:
Merger of EMPLIDs to end: Difficult to tie back to individual SIS records at multiple institutions, email problems. ITS can identify who has multiple IDs. Colleges can accept other colleges EMPLID in order to simplify student process. A and R needs to be aware of situation, can merge accounts by agreement. Help Desk also.
Migration to Blackboard 7.1: 6.3 is available, but will not go to it, but to 7.1. Possible migration summer 2007. 7.1 will be put into BBTrain demo environment so people can experience. Timeframe is not yet concrete. Pilot in spring 2007.
Wimba: NOVA and Piedmont currently use. Willing to allow any colleges to test/pilot for free with two stipulations: feedback is provided and online training is required. May be shared cost (template pricing for system/FTE based). Matt will look at Pronto.
Student Email Licenses: Retention of email accounts (current semester minus two plus next semester, change in registration caused current semester minus two plus two) Oversubscribed by over 30,000. Much discussion ensued about the summer semester and add/drop dates. Recommend current semester minus one and up to the second eight week add/drop date. Propose semester plus one with incompletes adding another semester so that any students who did not enroll in a summer course would not lose their college email address at the beginning of the Fall semester.
Definition of hybrid and blended courses: Definition part of Course Coding Document submitted to ASAC.
Meeting Dates:
a) November 16, Thursday, 10 – 3 pm, Central Virginia, Lynchburg
b) February 15, Thursday, via Breeze or compressed video
c) May 24, Thursday, Featherstone
7. Secure Socket Layers – still some technical problems. Work around is putting certificate on feeding site.

Meeting adjourned at 3:00 P.M.