Thursday, April 19, 2007




You must export your sandbox content immediately and request a .devl sandbox to import your old sandbox content into.

To request a .devl sandbox email me with your sandbox id
TN293.Sandbox.??? (you can see the ID on the Control Panel) and your
Bb login do not use the request form.

As a reminder Jan Klingberg will be presenting workshops on Ending the Semester and Moving Content in Bb6

Tuesday April 24, 2007 917 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Tuesday April 24, 2007 917 02:00 pm – 03:00 pm
Wednesday April 25, 2007 917 08:30 am – 09:30 am
Thursday April 26, 2007 917 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Posted on Discuss
Author: David Carter-Tod
Wednesday, April 18, 2007 - 11:34 am:

At the end of the Fall 2006 semester we deleted courses from Fall 2005 and before. You can read the relevant thread here:

It is now time to remove all Spring 2006 courses and before. All Spring 2006 (and prior) courses will be removed from the production Blackboard environment on May 7, 2007.

The criteria for removal at this stage is:

1. Course ID ending in "SP06"
2. Or created before January 1, 2006

Per ASAC policy, colleges should also poll faculty to identify other courses on the production blackboard system that are eligible for removal from the production system.

- April 18, 2007 — Courses are identified to Blackboard Administrators (list is attached to this message as an Excel file)
April 23, 2007 — Title of courses is changed to included "Will delete 7 May 2007" and
courses are made unavailable

- All courses are archived (this is an ongoing standard procedure)
May 7, 2007 — all flagged courses will be removed from production
- Archived courses are available on ITS servers until May 2008 at

Preserving courses
Blackboard is not designed as a permanent historical archive of course activity. It is a production system for current classes. Keeping old courses, especially those with student data such as test attempts, can have a negative effect on the performance of the system for current courses and
current students. This is why all courses are constantly archived and then eventually removed, so that if they need to be restored for current production purposes they can be, but otherwise they do not adversely impact performance.

Blackboard administrators should review the current course ID standards (in the Blackboard documentation - In addition to the four semesters of current courses, faculty may have one .DEVL space for working on content and other experimentation, and they may, of course, have courses that have IDs for
future courses.

In that light, the necessary procedure for keeping a course is to copy it to a more current and appropriate ID. This would apply if for some reason the course still had active users. The recommended approach is:

1. Make the original unavailable
2. Do a Copy Course with Users (Exact Copy) to the new course ID format
3. Make the new course available

If the course should really be a DEVL space for a faculty member, i.e. it is being kept for the content, it will significantly benefit the overall performance of the system to copy the course content without users (to clean out assessment and other student data).

If colleges require an exception, for example for an uncopyable cartridge-based course
that students still require access to, please file an IssueTrak ticket including the course id and reason.


David Carter-Todd
Virginia Community College System

Monday, April 09, 2007

Instructional Technology Notice: Upgrade to Bb7 Now Scheduled for Spring 2008

Mon 4/9/2007 5:14 PM

To VCCS Vice Presidents and Provosts,

Over the last six months, the VCCS Information Technology Services (ITS)staff has negotiated with Blackboard in an attempt to meet long-term VCCS goals of high reliability and robust, high performing technology at thelowest possible cost. This extensive effort involving IBM, Blackboard, andOracle was concluded in the last week. The goal was to enable the VCCS to incorporate Blackboard services into its new computer architecture ­ aclustered environment running on IBM's AIX operating system. A clustered computing environment allows tremendous flexibility as well as an inexpensive and relatively easy method to add processing power as required. Unfortunately, due to myriad non-technical factors, Blackboard has declined to certify the IBM environment as requested.

The VCCS must acquire additional hardware that is certified by Blackboard inorder to provide essential support for the Blackboard 7.2 environment. As a result, the upgrade to version 7.2 of Blackboard will go live in Spring 2008.

VCCS Academic Services and Research will continue to work with ITS to prepare Blackboard System Administrators for the upgrade, with training scheduled to begin June 25, 2007. Instructional Technologists will continueto train faculty in the use of enhanced Blackboard 7.2 tools, such as the discussion board. Additional information and a schedule for testing andother key milestones will be made available in the next few weeks.

Please share this notice with deans, faculty, instructional technologists, and others as appropriate at your college. Questions should be directed to Dr. Inez Farrell, Director of Instructional Technology (

Thank you,
Inez Inez Farrell, Ph.D.
Director of Instructional Technology
Virginia's Community Colleges
101 North 14th Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Dealing with Office 2007 files

I can't open a .docx or .docm file!

Microsoft Word 2007 is using a new file extension, *.docx, as its default for new documents. This new format, along with *.docm, are incompatible with older versions of Microsoft Word.

If You are Trying to Open a *.docm or *.docx File:

There may be times when you must view a *.docx or *.docm file. If you are using Microsoft Office 2000, 2002 or 2003, you will need to install the Microsoft Office 2007 Compatibility Pack. Users of earlier versions of Microsoft Office cannot use the Compatibility Pack. If you are using an older version of Word, we recommend that you contact the author of the document and have them convert it into a different format (.doc or .pdf).
  1. Go to
  2. Download the Microsoft Office 2007 Compatibility Pack

You can read more about the Compatibility Pack at

We recommend that you convert your *.docx and *.docm files into *.doc files. Here's how:

  1. Open the file in Word 2007
  2. Select File
  3. Select Save As...
  4. From the drop-down menu called File Type, select Word Document (*.doc)
  5. Click Save

The file will be saved with an extension of doc and users of Microsoft Word 2000, 2002 and 2003 will be able to open it.

Migration Q&As from VCCS

These answers are subject to change based on input from the VCCS workgroup

1. What will faculty need to do to prepare for the fall 2007 upgrade?
Faculty need to prepare their courses to be copied as they would for any semester. Clean up any courses that are not current. It would be extremely helpful to un-enroll students from old courses if their data is not any longer necessary.

2. What should their timeline look like?
Faculty should have their courses ready to be exported by May 10, 2007.

3. What new Blackboard 7 enhancements need faculty training?
The discussion board is the most widely used change. The dashboard, Wimba, early warning system, and adaptive release are cool new tools but faculty can do business as usual without training in these areas.

4. Will current content be batch copied to production Bb7? If so, will this be tested beforehand so that any issues might be planned for?
Yes the content system will be automatically copied. This will be tested and there are some questions outstanding as to whether the links will still work. We think they will but must test.

5. What is the status of Blackboard 7 for the summer (will faculty be able to continue piloting or will it become a playground for training)?
19 colleges responded to the survey. Three colleges would prefer to continue the pilot. Sixteen colleges preferred to train and experiment. We will use Explore for training and experimenting beginning May 10, 2007. Students who are still in Explore with incompletes will continue their work in that environment. All other courses will no longer be active.

6. If you keep it for piloting, how are we supposed to do training?
See question 5.

7. What is going to happen with the instructors who developed courses in Bb 7.1 this SP07 semester? Are we requiring that they copy their course back to Bb 6 if teaching in the summer after using the tools in Bb 7.1?
Courses cannot be brought from Blackboard 7 to Blackboard 6. Instructors can have a course archive from the pilot that their Blackboard Admin can put on the new system.

8. I have faculty who are asking to create courses now for FA07 with course cartridges to develop over the summer. If we use Bb 7.2 as a training environment how will a course copy over with a cartridge from Bb 6 to Bb7?
Course cartridges often do not copy within a system, let alone across systems
. Faculty should develop content in a separate course area from the cartridge content in case it does not copy (licensing again). In this way a new cartridge key can be applied to the course in 7.2 and the work done by the faculty member can also be applied to that course (via import or restore). It is recommended you communicate the following to faculty: If you are using a course cartridge that is copy protected (most with a key are like this) you should plan to begin working with your course after July 1, 2007. If you are using a course cartridge that is a zip file (your Blackboard system administrator will know the difference if you do not) you can create your course content and modify the cartridge as you have done in the past on Blackboard 6. These courses will be exported and imported without problems. Course cartridges that are copy protected will not import.


1. What will students need to do to prepare for the fall 2007 upgrade?
Generally, nothing. Blackboard provides good tutorial videos and documentation in 7.2. Students will not need any other preparation for the upgrade.

2. What are new Blackboard 7 enhancements for which students need training?
Students may need training on the discussion board. Faculty may want to alert students to the new early warning system.

3. What happens to students that need to access the courses that were piloted for SP07 due to incompletes?
The courses will be available on Explore. And then can be migrated over to production at the instructor's and college Blackboard admin's discretion. If the student finishes the course after May 10, 2007 then the admin will need to archive and restore the course to the new production system.


1. Will there be a training committee formed that will consolidate training materials for each Bb Admin / Instructional Technologists to use at their college?
Training material is provided by Blackboard. Training specifically created for Blackboard Administrators and for Instructional Technologists to use for their faculty will be compiled and stored either in Blackboard or on the ITDE website. You vote.


Full integration with PeopleSoft, which includes the automatic creation of courses and enrollment of students and instructors into those courses, will not occur this Fall. A workgroup on integration of Blackboard and PeopleSoft will be convened to discuss the design. Code will be written as soon as a design conclusion is reached. Integration is expected to begin summer 2008.

1. When will integration with PeopleSoft take place?
Plan is for summer 2008.

2. What are the plans for centralized automatic course creation in the fall of 07? Is it a go or not?
No go!

3. Will courses be created and integrated with PeopleSoft automatically?
Yes, when integration is implemented.

4. What will happen if a course is created and not assigned an instructor? (staff)
Determined with input from workgroup

5. What happens if a course is created and then the instructor is changed?
Determined with input from workgroup

6. If a course is automatically created, an instructor assigned who loads content, and then the instructor is changed, will the content be cleared?
Determined with input from workgroup

7. After integration sections can be automatically combined at a college’s request. Does ITS then do the combining? What is the turn around time needed? Can Bb admins do the combining?
Section combining will be handled by the user interface. Blackboard administrators can do this.

8. How will course templates work? Currently colleges that use templates have to request the system office create their courses with the template the college submits. Will this be the same or different?
The same until integration. After integration the templates will need to be tied to the course creation. This is a question for the workgroup to discuss.

9. Is it true: Integration of a course cannot prevent Blackboard Administrators or faculty from manually adding additional users in a non-student role to that course.
This is correct. Other users can be added to an integrated course in other roles. Work group will address use cases of when non-enrolled citizens need to be added to a course.

10. A standard course naming convention will be used that includes: Semester—Course ID—Section Number—Course Name—College
Correct. ASAC certified a naming convention. The current common course ID format will continue to be used, which typically includes College ID.Subject.Number.Section.Semester
Other valid course ID formats are for:
Personal faculty development spaces - College ID.facultyid.DEVL
Training courses - College ID.workshopInfo.WRKS
College-level template courses - College ID.optionalInfo.TMPL. Template courses are NOT subject nor faculty specific. Faculty get one personal development space for creating content to be reused in other courses.

11. Students will be disabled as a user in Blackboard when they are backed out of the PeopleSoft course for any reason. Can ITS show the reason the student is out of PeopleSoft to the admins?
A student's enrollment in the relevant course would be disabled within the parameters defined by the workgroup. ITS might be able to reveal this information, but appropriate PeopleSoft access is a decision for colleges

12. Can a Bb admin be able to turn students back on manually while issues are being resolved?
Not necessarily. ITS would have to build an interface, but this is also a question of policy. SIS is the system of record

Blackboard Administrators

1. Is Blackboard Admin training necessary? Mandatory?
Blackboard admin training is necessary.

2. When will it take place?
Training to take place during June 25th to 29th. We will train at John Tyler’s Chester Campus (Bird Hall, room B142) and at Greenfield. Training will last one day. The training from June 25 to 29th will be for the 23 Administrators and 37 Domain Administrators.

3. What will it cover?
Training will cover managing your college domain and creating course templates. User roles, modules

4. Are we going to start out using the domains feature and if so, will the colleges have input on the policies and procedures for managing domains?
Yes, we are, and yes, they will. The procedures for managing domains will be determined by a committee of seven instructional technologists representing the 23 colleges. No policy will be determined except by ASAC. Role permissions will require some input from this committee. We will use Google docs to survey the other colleges for their ideas.

The current design goal is for 23 primary admins with super user access (one per college). Backup admins will not have this level of access, but only domain-level access. Colleges will be able to have as many admins as they want within their domains.

5. What will Blackboard Admins need to do to prepare for upgrade?
ITS will automatically migrate all courses that conform to the ID standards and fall within the ASAC definition of courses to be retained in production. For portal migration, Blackboard Admins will need to update their tracking spreadsheet with portal modules and layout identifying the ones they want to migrate by May 1, 2007

It may be useful to refer to your log of manually created users to make sure that is up to date as you will have to recreate the ones that you intend to keep using

It will be useful to facilitate clean-up of courses that will be migrated (Fall 06 and forward).

Summer 07 courses will remain on the current learn server until the course end date. Those courses will be identified by the Blackboard Admin. If there is a common end date for a sufficient number of courses they will be automatically migrated to Bb7. If there are stragglers than those courses may need to be exported and imported separately into Bb7. The name for the new Bb7 will be a temporary one until all live courses are migrated from Bb6. Then Bb7 will become Learn. Bb6 will be available for a short amount of time (16 weeks) if our licensing permits.

6. Courses created in Blackboard will be unavailable to students and the availability will be left up to the discretion of the college. Does the instructor have the responsibility to make it available or the Bb admin? Is this to be determined on a college by college basis?
Courses will be brought over from Bb6 with their availability the same as in Bb6 after May 10th. As in the past, courses can be batch created when requested by the colleges and their availability will be at the request of the colleges. Courses on Explore should be exported and imported (or archived and restored) into 7.2 production by the college Domain administrator.

7. When will we (Bb Admins) be able to create fall sites for faculty?
On the new system, July 1, 2007.

8. What courses are being copied over from Bb 6 (Organizations, SU07) and how long will we have to clean up and archive courses in Bb 6?
All properly ID'ed Fall '06 and later courses will be automatically moved to Blackboard 7. ITS will provide a list of courses that will be migrated for verification. May 10th is the date the migration process will begin. Changes to courses after that date are not guaranteed to be in the new system and Blackboard administrators should be prepared to export and import (or archive and restore) those courses manually into the production server.

9. What courses are being copied over from Bb 6 (Organizations, SU07) and how long will we have to clean up and archive courses in Bb 6?
All organizations will be imported. Licensing for Bb 6 will determine it be turned off the middle of the fall 2007 semester in October. All courses will have been archived at that time if they meet the correct naming convention. Course IDs must start with the college designator.

10. What is going to happen with the content system? Will faculty still have the same 100 mb of space or more? How will content be transferred over? Will faculty have to reestablish links from the content system in courses that are copied over?
In theory faculty should not have to re-link but this has not been tested. Faculty will still have the same allocated space as they currently have. It will be transferred automatically.

11. Will we have guest access in Bb 7.2?
Guest access will be the same as Bb 6.2. Catalog will be performance tested.

12. When will we have access to Bb 7.2? Will that be upgraded now or after the SP07 term? Will we continue to use explore?
The production server will be available to you on July 1, 2007. You will continue to use Explore for training-we can upgrade to Bb7.2 if there are no spring students with incompletes.

13. Will all SU07 & FA07 courses already in Bb 6 be migrated to Bb7? If so, if there is a change in course ID format, how will they be handled?
The course ID format stays the same. All courses will be migrated on May 10th. After that time fall and spring courses will have to be migrated by the Bb admin manually. Summer 2007 courses will be migrated at the end of the summer semester.

14. Will the Portfolio feature be available in Bb. 7.1?
Portfolio feature will not be available in Bb 7.

Friday, April 06, 2007


From: Inez Farrell []

Hello All,

I am pleased to announce that WIMBA is now activated for all faculty use in Bb6. This version does not have the podcasting tools but that portion will be available in Blackboard 7.2, July 1, 2007.

I flipped the switch on in Bb6 so it is now available in every course, but I do think it is critical that faculty are trained in its usage. WIMBA offers a one hour web training several times each week. Their schedule of training events can be located here:
Thank you all for participating in a successful pilot and subsequent enterprise purchase of a software our faculty enjoy. I would love to find more just like it!

Towards that end I want to show you a new tool (free this time) that GOOGLE has just introduced. David Carter-Tod pointed it out to me and it is slick. Go to and click on NEW. You will see some very creative ways faculty can use this tool for instruction and even better, students can do group projects and presentations!! Can you see the creative possibilities?

I just love it!

Inez Farrell, Ph.D.
Director of Instructional Technology
Virginia’s Community Colleges
101 North 14th StreetRichmond, VA 23219

It Begins...

Blackboard Administrators
Key activities for Blackboard 7.2 upgrade

May 10, 2007:
Last date to update courses scheduled for migration from Bb6

  • Reviewed courses for migration (FA06 and beyond)
  • Standardized course IDs for courses to be migrated if necessary
  • Facilitated clean-up of courses scheduled for migration. The less data we migrate, the faster it will be.

Week beginning June 25:

  • Attend one-day training for Primary Administrators or Attend one-day training for Backup Administrators

Explore-related tasks (no specific date)

  • Verify archives of Explore courses
  • Schedule time to restore archived Explore courses to new system
  • Monitor incomplete students on Explore – after full Go Live (August 15) on new system, these should be finished on new system

June 1: Portal-related tasks

  • Identify portal modules for migration
  • Review college tab layout
  • Review current branding

Before Faculty and Staff Go Live

  • Review manually created users in Bb6 and identify any needing recreation
  • Review current VCCS Blackboard documentation
  • Review Course ID standards
  • Review privileges associated with different system roles in Explore
  • Continue familiarizing yourself with new features of 7.1 and 7.2

July 1: Go Live for Faculty and Staff
Post Faculty/Staff Go Live tasks

  • Verify course integrity
  • Verify content system items
  • Verify portal configuration
  • Add manually-managed users
  • Request batch creation of Fall courses or manually create Fall courses
    Strongly recommended
  • Continue training faculty on new discussion board

August 15: Go Live for Students
Strongly recommended

  • Train students on new discussion board

Monday, April 02, 2007

New Software available for all TNCC users: Atomic Learning

TNCC now has a site license for Atomic Learning. Atomic Learning is available in two locations: and . The tutorials and login are the same, but the has additional resources geared toward the K-12 market.

What is Atomic Learning?
Atomic Learning provides web-based software training for more than 100 applications faculty, staff and students use everyday. Our short, easy-to-view-and-understand tutorials are an integral part of a professional development program, a valuable curriculum supplement, and an anytime/anywhere training resource.

Tutoriales, versión en español
¡Bienvenido a nuestra selección de tutoriales en español! Aquí encontrará tutoriales en español para los programas populares con versiones en español.

Alright, I want it… what do I do?

Go to

(Contact me for the user name and password. )

How do my students use it?
You distribute the URL, login and password. You can distribute the information in your class, email your students, or post it in your Bb course but you cannot publish the information on a public webpage.

Recently Added tutorials:

New Windows series

  • Blackboard 7 - Student
  • Encore DVD 2
  • Office Suite 2007 - What's New?
  • Photoshop Elements 5

New Macintosh series

  • Acrobat Pro 8 - Intro
  • Blackboard 7 - Student