Monday, November 27, 2006

DDLC minutes 11/16/06

Distance and Distributed Learning ASAC Workgroup
November 16, 2006, 10am – 3pm


Meeting called to order at 10:05am

Members present: Rebecca Blankenship (GCC), Susan Beasley (CVCC), Kim Blosser (BRCC), Charles Boling (VHCC), Colleen Kehoe (for John Ambrose - JSRCC), Jeff Burleson (MECC), Joan Trabandt (NVCC), John Zwick (TCC), Kristen Kelly (JTCC), Leslie Smith (RCC), Adam Bryant (for Linda Clausson – NRCC), Carrie (for Coveny – VWCC), Reo McBride (DLCC), Ron Wilt (ESCC), Ruth Smith (TNCC), Stacy Harris (SWCC), Joan Tuck (SVCC), Jamie Shetrone (WCC), Bill Day (DCC), Inez Farrell (AS&R), Matt Lawson (AS&R)

Members absent: Shelia Hobbs (PDCCC), Mark Nelson (PHCC), Lori Ledford (PVCC), George Hoffman (LFCC)

Action Items:

Action Item 1: VDEN document review

ASAC has requested that the DDLC review the documentation and make further recommendations.

  • Should the VDEN documents be abolished or revised and updated?
  • What parts of the document should be kept either in policy or revised?
  • What parts of the document are already included in policy manual?

After much discussion, it was decided that some clear, easy to find guidelines were needed in addition to the hard-to-read official policy manual.

Issues were noted such as the difficulty in meeting the VDEN standards for compressed video and the need for possible additions to the standards such as integration of VITA and accessibility standards. For now, it was agreed that the focus needs to be on revision or deletion of items from the present documentation with recommendation for additional items to follow.

The committee broke into five groups to take a preliminary look at the different sections of the document and recommend changes. The resulting edited document will be compiled and sent back out to the committee for further work and discussion.

Action recommendation: Inez will report to ASAC that work has begun and that a recommendation will be available for their March meeting.

Jamie Shetrone made the motion as stated above and Leslie Smith seconded it. It passed unanimously.

Action Item 2: Integration of PS and Bb

A workgroup was formed at the last DDLC meeting to address the integration of PS and Bb.

This workgroup met twice and the minutes from those meetings were distributed. As a result of the workgroups recommendation to the entire DDLC, the group recommended that ASAC support the integration with the attached guidelines.

Discussion followed on a number of points including how to opt out of the integration and who has access to the flags to flag courses for integration. A major issue was the Blackboard administrator’s access to control the flagging of course in a timely manner. This item was added to the guidelines listed to go forward to ASAC. Inez requested that the wording be simplified.

Matt Lawson stated that the integration would be implemented in the summer along with the version upgrade.

Action Recommended: The DDLC recommends the integration of PS and BB course creation and student enrollment with the attached guidelines.

Motion was made by Leslie Smith and seconded by Reo McBride. The motion was passed.

Discussion Items:

Discussion Item 1: Automation of VCCSOnline

The process of listing online courses in the VCCSOnline system is a manual process. It was discussed that this process is time-consuming. At least one college has developed a process to pull the courses directly from Peoplesoft. It was generally agreed that integration would be beneficial if individual colleges have the ability to remove a course if the college did not want a course listed.

Action Recommended: Action was recommended on this item due to the general agreement by all that it would be of great benefit.

A motion was made that the DDLC recommend that the resources be provide so that the system office staff can create a process to automate pulling online courses into the VCCSOnline system. The motion was passed.

Discussion Item 2: Biweekly audio conferencing

Discussion was held on the possibility of having biweekly audio conferences where college distance learning and instructional technology staff could ask questions and receive updates on the system office’s initiatives. This had occurred in the past with previous AS&R staff. It was stated that the meetings would not involve policy decisions but would just be a chance to ask questions and receive update information on initiatives of individual colleges as well as the system office.

Inez Farrell, AS&R’s Director of Instructional Technology stated that she would be willing to hold informal, monthly audio meetings. The group decided on the second Monday of each month from 2-3 pm with the first session on December 11th. Further details would follow.

Discussion Item 3: Backpack in Blackboard Version 7 (Leslie)

The need for our students to be able to access materials in Blackboard despite the issue of low bandwidth and large downloads was discussed. The pervasive nature of this issue was highlighted in that we still have many areas where dial-up is the only option or the only affordable option. Technology to assist in providing equal access to all students is a continuing need and one of the Chancellor’s 2009 goals.

The Blackboard Backpack was highlighted as one possible solution to meet these issues and a pilot to test its feasibility was discussed. It was agreed that this item would be reworked by Leslie Smith and a recommendation framed for a pilot. This will be brought back before the DDLC meeting as an action item. (Hand-out attached)

Information Items:

Information Item 1: Update on WIMBA pilot (Inez)

Inez reported a large response on the pilot currently in progress. Arrangements have been made for WIMBA to be turned on for use in the new version of the Blackboard pilot in spring.

Information Item 2: Update on E-Portfolio pilot (Inez)

C.J. Bracken from Germanna Community is working with the college’s Nursing department and the system office on a pilot of the e-Portfolio system for SP06.

Information Item 3: Update on Blackboard upgrade and training (Matt)

Inez Farrell reported on training she is working on providing for Instructional Technologists the week of December 14th. She stated that the training will be to prepare the Technologists for training the faculty. It is not Administrator training. She is also working to access funds for faculty training at New Horizons. Concern over lack of training for administrators was expressed and it was suggested that any funds be used for her December ‘train the trainer’ sessions with the idea that these persons could provide sessions at New Horizons. Matt Lawson advised that Version 7.1 is available now for exploration on the site and that faculty will be asked to pilot Version 7.1 for the spring semester for full implementation for the summer semester. Questions were raised about how faculty could begin preparing for the pilot as soon as possible.

Information Item 4: Blackboard Digital Dropbox (Matt)

It was reported by Matt Lawson that the Digital Dropbox has become a support nightmare for the system office as well as the colleges. Its poor design has caused numerous issues from the beginning. It was brought to the attention of Blackboard and their response is that the Assignment feature should be used as a replacement and the Digital Dropbox disabled. This is what the system office will do in version 7.

There was discussion that at least one college strongly objects to loosing this feature and want it left available. Matt responded that the Digital Dropbox would no longer be supported.

Information Item 5: Atomic Learning (Leslie)

Leslie Smith brought up the continuing question of supporting tutorials for some of the applications that all of us use and must support. Previous efforts to work together to create tutorials have had mixed results and then there is the problem of the need for continuous updates. It is suggested that we discuss the need for system wide purchase of appropriate tutorials such as what is provided by Atomic Learning. These tutorials could be used to support such systems as Blackboard, MS Office, and others. (Hand-out attached)

DDLC Integration Guidelines

  • Colleges will have the option to opt in or out for integration.
  • The courses will be created “unavailable” to students and the availability of the courses will be left up to the discretion of the college.
  • Integrated courses will be assigned a template (optional) through an additional flag in PeopleSoft and by specifying the template ID
  • Integration of a course will not prevent Blackboard Administrators from manually adding additional users to that course.
  • A standard course naming convention will be used that includes: Semester—College—Course ID—Section Number—Course Name.
  • Students will be disabled as a user in a course when they are backed out of PeopleSoft.
  • Staff designation for instructor will be used if there is no instructor assigned to a course.
  • Blackboard administrators will have access to control the flags that set courses for integration.

Proposal for systemwide implementaton of a online tutorial system for software applications

What’s the Need?

Students need assistance with various software packages at all hours of the day or night. One of the Chancellor’s goals for this year in technology is to continue to develop a world-class teaching, learning environment that is sufficiently sustainable and scalable to meet the growing demands of access and operations. To help achieve this goal, an online tutorial program is need system wide.

specific opportunities to be achieved:

  • Economies of scale.
  • Access across all colleges for students that take courses at multiple colleges.
  • Streamlined assistance for students by pointing students to a central repository of helpdesk type tutorials.
  • Systems office and all colleges can point students to one location instead of 23 different instances of support.
  • Tier 1 helpdesk support through 24 x 7 online support when and where needed.


RCC and GCC are owners of site licenses for Atomic Learning. They choose this product for a number of reasons. Those that might be appropriate for this proposal are listed below:

  • Provide both audio and video tutorials
  • Software tutorials are kept up to date
  • Variety of software that is supported
  • Flexible in terms of providing special tutorials, if needed, such tutorials for Mirapoint, PeopleSoft, Blackboard content system, etc.
  • Can connect an objective in Blackboard to a specific tutorial.%
  • Ease of use and timeframe of each tutorial is from less than a minute to a maximum of 3 minutes.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Spring 2007 Blackboard Course Shell Requests

We have batched created SP07 Distance and Hybrid courses. Please check Bb to be sure your course was created. I will begin to process Distributive Spring 2007 course shell requests: November 20, 2006

We no longer combining classes. You must request one shell per class. If you have questions about this please call.

Requests will be processed every Friday


  • Distributive (Web Enhanced) Courses use technology in concert with face-to-face classes.

    A course that is based exclusively in a brick-and-mortar classroom (face-to-face), and the instructor supplements face-to-face classroom instruction with valuable online resources supported by Blackboard, the supported course management system or the Web, such as grade book, syllabus, assignment submission, etc.
  • Hybrid (Blended) Courses have a percentage of the content delivered/taught in Blackboard, the supported course management system and a percentage of the content delivered/taught face-to-face.

    A course whose web delivered components meets the same Standards of Good Practice used for online courses and significantly impact learning while reducing the amount of classroom time.

  • Distance (Online) Courses have the content delivered/taught in Blackboard, the supported course management system. Any face-to-face meetings (such as an orientation, exams, or labs) are only held if they appeared in the registration class schedule and notes field of the Student Information System.

    A courses that is based in the Blackboard, the course management system, where students access instructions, instructor’s office, all course materials (lectures, assignments, resources, etc.) and communicate via email, discussions, and/or chats with the instructor and other students.