Friday, November 30, 2007

Notes on Blackboard Upgrade Conference Call - 11/28/2007

Red - Greater interest to Faculty
Blue - My additional comments


Blue Ridge, Central, Dabney, Danville, Germanna, John Tyler, Lord Fairfax, Northern, Piedmont, Rappahannock, Southside, System Office - Kathy,Thomas Nelson, Virginia Western, Wytheville

Question: Getting intermittent ‘Page not displayed’ error. Errors occur in IE, not Firefox.
Answer: Could be caused by the random, luck of the draw, choosing of a malfunctioning App Server. Please report when error occurs and we’ll check each App Server.

Question: Will migrating selected organizations, cause problems during mass migration?
Answer: Please give us a list of organizations previously migrated, and we’ll remove them from the mass migration.

Question: Problem with faculty, courses not going to default page.
Answer: This sounds like it might be specific to a course. Please post a ticket. However, generally speaking default pages are cached and users may need to log out, close their browser and then log in again before seeing changes.

If you have this problem you must email me (Ruth) your course id (TN293.XXX.XXX.XXX.SP08) you can see this code at the top of the page in the Control Panel. Please also include your Bb login in the email.

Question: Scripts not working as they did in Bb6. i.e. Course info. Colleges are particularly interested in tracking course size.
Answer: These are not currently working in Bb7, and the course size is no longer part of the properties screen. You could get an idea of the course size by looking at the archives, once they are turned on. We will investigate generating a report for colleges.

Question: Course ID script also not working in Bb7.
Answer: Right. This could be resolved either with a report or fixing the script. We will investigate both options.

Question: When will we be copying over the content system?
Answer: At Go live. Were we to do it before, then we would risk versions becoming out of sync.

December 20, 2007

Question: Will there be a link to Bb7 on my.vccs?
Answer: This has been discussed, but no decision has been made.

Question: We have a problem with the columns not being the proper width for the college tab.
Answer: Could be caused by content in a particular module, e.g. current weather conditions.

Question: Any update on Issue Trak #90344. When I try to modify items in Bb 7 that I previously created using Wimba in Bb 6, I receive the following error message:
We are sorry, but the system is experiencing technical difficulties : 437-1176726126143 does not start with prefix=_cvvs_
I am also unable to create a new podcast. When I try to setup a podcast, I receive the following error:
Please check your URL
/pvcc/pc not found

Answer: We’ll look into this. Update: Podcasting is fixed.

Question: When will we know which building blocks we’ll have access to?
Answer: There will be no more until 2008.

Question: We are having trouble un-enrolling a faculty member. Need to change role to student and then delete.
Answer: This can be accomplished through the course properties button at the system admin panel level.

Question: Will we have access to the Plagiarism tool?
Answer: This has not been evaluated yet.

Question: Will we have access to the Scholar building block?
Answer: This has not been evaluated yet.

Question: When will we begin archiving Bb7 courses?
Answer: Can’t yet say. At least by Dec. 20 go live.

Please Archive/Export things you are working on in Bb 7 ( ) on a regular basis until Bb7 goes into production for students and the system office begins archiving again. They are still archiving Bb6 and we are grabbing them on a regular basis.

Question: How long will Bb admins have access to Bb6? This is helpful for comparing between instances.
Answer: We’ll look into this.

Question: Which modules will be placed on college tabs?
Answer: Colleges should not be adding modules to shared tabs.

Question: How will we move modules after go live?
Answer: They will need to be developed in test or another non-prod instance and then be moved.

Question: We are having trouble creating a training course.
Answer: Course creation can take a long time. Need to be patient.

Question: Will the Course tab stay or go away?
Answer: It will probably go away, based on input from DDLC.

Question: When ICA files are created, it grabs both primary and secondary instructors as primary.
Answer: Bb doesn’t recognize instructors as secondary. You need to edit the file before uploading.

Question: While training on Test Manager, notice that the save button opens up a popup window. This can be confusing to students.
Answer: Good catch. This is a training issue.

Jan will be addressing this in training - watch for her sessions on Testing or contact her if you have questions.

Question: Could there be a problem while creating a test and uploading a file from the content system, but the student doesn’t have access to the content system?
Answer: This is an interface problem. We will investigate to see if there is a solution.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bb 7 Upgrade Conference Call - 11/13/2007

Red - Greater interest to Faculty
Blue - My additional comments
Jan, David and I were out of town for this call.
Attended, or spoke with:
Central, John Tyler, Lord Fairfax, Northern, Southside, System Office – carol, Tidewater, Wytheville
Question: Still having trouble signing on while off campus.
Answer: Deleting cookies and cache helps. Not always. Could be App Server issue. Please report when the issue occurs to see if an App Server needs to be restarted.
Question: Will Bb7 have unlimited course size as does Bb6. Explore is limited.
Answer: Bb7 is currently set to unlimited. Will find out if this setting will remain.
Not to worry, the proposed size limit should not impact TNCC users. If they do impose size limits you would get a warning first. We (Jan, David, and I) cannot see this warning. If you were to get one, you would let me know (Ruth) ASAP so I can work to "expand" your quota.
Question: Would like to be introduced to staff supporting Blackboard.
Answer: While David is away, Applications and Client Services staff will step in and use resources to resolve issues. Will also be interviewing to fill vacant Applications staff position.
Question: We have trouble when using a template with the course creation wizard. End up with two course templates.
Answer: This may be a known issue. Will find out. Also suggested to use course copy instead of the wizard.
Question: Have there been any resolution to the tickets submitted with Blackboard?
Answer: Will find out.
Question: Categorizing courses doesn’t work when 5800 courses are set up. Could only process 200 at a time.
Answer: Will look into this.
Question: Being able to create dummy accounts, as raised in Issue #90006, is important to us.
Answer: I let it be known that this is an issue.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Notes on Blackboard Upgrade Conference Call - 11/6/2007

Red - Greater interest to Faculty
Blue - My additional comments


Blue Ridge, Central, Danville, Germanna, J.Sargeant Reynolds, John Tyler, Lord Fairfax, Northern, Patrick Henry, Piedmont, Rappahannock, Southwest, System Office - carol
Thomas Nelson, Tidewater, Virginia Highlands, Virginia Western, Wytheville

Did not attend:

Eastern Shore. Dabney, Mountain Empire, New River, Paul D. Camp, Southside
The call began by reviewing known issues from the VCCS Discuss thread, then moved to college questions:

Question: It is taking several attempts to log in.
Answer: Noticed this too. Should now be fixed.

Question: Will the generic faculty and student accounts remain?
Answer: Yes.

TNstudent is available for you to enroll in your classes to "practice" with. If you need the password please contace me or Jan.

Question: We liked Pirate and Pig Latin. Can we have them back?
Answer: We’ll see how much of a sense of humo(u)r AS & R has.

Question: Is it safe to add a module assigned to the GCC role to the Research tab?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Color scheme on shared tabs has been changed again
Answer: Don’t do this.

Question: Can the course level Change Password link be a redirect instead of being disabled?
Answer: If it’s technically possible, yes, that is desirable.

Question: Where are the Modify Content and Modify Layout options on tabs?
Answer: Tab personalization was defaulted to Off, but colleges are welcome to turn it on on their college tab.
Question: We have some courses from Summer 2007 that will need archiving/restoring.
Answer: Please send us a list.

Question: When can we put in spring 08 courses?
Answer: Now.

Question: What about the current pilots – classtop, studymate, respondus – these are mentioned in the Faculty Instructional Software module.
Answer: Good point. We will review and adjust the module as appropriate. The latter two should continue to work with Blackboard 7, but Classtop is still in pilot on Explore. We don’t have the Respondus Lockdown Browser, but that is not mentioned on Bb7.

Question: How do we link to Spring 2008 courses for guest access?
Answer: Please get with us. However, assuming you know the internal ID for each course, the format of a course link is:

Our custom linker on My VCCS:

Will not link to Blackboard 7 until Go Live.
Question: Please get Quick Enroll ASAP
Answer: It’s a high priority.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Welcome to Blackboard 7

Go Live Plans

· November 1 – available to college networks

· November 5 – available universally to Faculty and Staff

· December 20 – switchover for

It’s here!

Blackboard 7.3 is the latest version of the Blackboard Academic Suite. Faculty and Staff should now be able to access our new Blackboard from their campus networks. It is available at , the temporary URL until the December 20 switchover when it will become

What to do first…

Check the Courses that were migrated

Spring 2007 and Summer 2007 courses were brought over from Blackboard 6. They should all be unavailable. There are no student enrollments in these courses. There are no grades or work. Please review imported courses for any issues. There are some known problems with migrated Wimba content. Links you had to the Content System will not work.

What’s Left to Do?

  • The TNCC tab has a bare set of minimal modules placed on them. David and I are working to configure the modules, as blackboard administrators did not have advanced access to you will see changes in the tabs as we move forward.

  • Organizations will not be brought over until Go Live (December 20, 2007).

  • Create SU08 course shells

  • Re-create sandboxes

  • Load students into course shells

  • Import data from the Bb 6 content system

The Future

  • Building blocks – The system office (AS & R ) is working on piloting and testing building blocks for Blackboard 7 including: Learning Objects, Classtop and SafeAssign. These will not be available at Go Live, but we intend to deploy after testing in the first quarter of 2008.

  • TNCC tab has a bare set of minimal modules placed on them. David and I are working to configure the modules, as blackboard administrators did not have advanced access to

  • Organizations will not be brought over until Go Live (December 20, 2007).


  • When can I request Spring 2008 course shells?
    I am currently working on uploading Distance and Hybrid course shells first. If you are teaching DL or Hybrid you will not need to use the request form. For Distributed shells (supplement to F2F) please wait until I email you that I am ready to create these shells. I need to clear out the request database. If you request too soon you will have to do it again.

  • Where is my Sandbox?
    Everyone will need a new sandbox. If you had a sandbox in (the training Bb 7 instance) you will see a new blank sandbox in shortly. I will be re-creating them after I do DL and Hybrid shells. If you did not have a sandbox in you will need to request one when I open up the request form for Distributed shells.

  • Do you move the data in my sandbox in (Bb 6) and (Bb 7 training)?
    No, if you want any of the data in either of those sandboxes you will need to export and import the data you wish to retain.

  • What’s up with the Content System?
    The data in the content system will be the last thing the system office will move. If you are a content system user, all of your links will appear to be broken in This should correct itself when the URL changes from to on December 20, 2007. There may be issues with permission but if so we will address this issue in a separate mailing. If you are not currently using the content system, I recommend you WAIT and not start using it until Jan does the content system training or after Dec. 20, 2007. If you can not wait until Dec. 20, 2007 to use the content system be sure to make folders with names you did not use in Bb 6 or when the system office migrates the content system to Bb 7 your data may be over-written.

  • When can I install a course cartridge
    If it is a .zip package you can use it now. If it a code – wait until December 20, 2007 when the URL changes from back to

  • How do I report problems?
    Email me. The subject line should begin with Bb7: followed by the problem. I have an outlook rule, flagging Bb7: so I can respond as quickly as possible.

  • How do I get help with Bb 7?

  • I have students still making up work from Spring and/or Summer 2007; what do I need to do?
    They will continue to work in Bb 6 ( until the end of the FA07 term, but you will have to archive your own course for record keeping. If for some reason they are not finished by Dec. 20, 2007 follow the procedures for make-ups for the FA07 term.

  • What happens if I have make-ups for the FA07 term after December 20, 2007?
    I will be sending special instructions closer to the end of the term for makes-up that pass the Dec. 20, 2007 date. I am still unclear about that procedure and need to get more clarification from the system office. But, try very hard to encourage your students to complete by Dec. 20, 2007 if at all possible!

  • When will my students be loaded into my Spring 2008 courses?
    At the go live date: December 20 – when we the switchover from to occurs. From the student’s perspective they will never know the juggling you had to do to prepare for the Spring term.

  • When will students have access to my Spring 2008 courses?
    December 20, 2007 – provided you switch your course to “available”.

  • What happened to my students grades and submitted work from SP07 and SU07?
    If you “forgot” to create your own archive – David Morales grabbed the files prior to the export/import to Bb7 ( These are the normal “emergency” back-ups. I STRONGLY recommend you archive each of your current courses in Bb6 ( and keep the archived zip file in a safe place in case we need to restore. Only an administrator can do a restore but David’s “grab” is a blind backup and is 99.9% reliable. I also recommend you export any modules you may want to reuse. Jan will be doing workshops in November on archive, export and import.

  • What happens to "stuff" I created in
    Since Bb7 ( was a training environment. You will have to export/import anything you want to bring over to Again, Jan will be doing workshops in November on archive, export and import.

  • Should I continue to use
    Only to test things (play around). See the above bullet.

  • I am getting confused; which URL should I be working in? is the current Bb 6 production environment is the current Bb 7 training environment is the temporary Bb 7 environment where you will be preparing your Spring 2008 courses

On December 20, 2008 will disappear and “magically” become !

  • What happens to Bb6 (the current after December 20, 2007?
    You will no longer have any access to that environment. Be sure you’ve backup (Archive and Exported) what you think you may need, as “insurance”.