Monday, December 24, 2007

Notes on Bb Upgrade Conference Call -12/18/2007

Red - Greater interest to Faculty
Blue - My additional comments
Blue Ridge, Central, Danville, Germanna, J.Sargeant Reynolds, John Tyler, Northern, Piedmont, Rappahannock, Southside, System Office, Thomas Nelson, Virginia Highlands, Virginia Western, Wytheville
Did not attend:
Dabney, Eastern Shore, Lord Fairfax, Mountain Empire, New River, Patrick Henry, Paul D. Camp, Southwest, Tidewater

General Notes:

We are not yet precisely where we want to be in terms of Blackboard 7 performance. We are continuing to work with Blackboard consulting.

Related to this we have made a change in the way domains are populated. See note in VCCS Discuss:

We are looking at other domain changes, but right now we are keeping it as it is. We will need to test out the implications of the change made so far.

Blackboard 6 availability
Current plan is to disable Blackboard 6 on January 4. Our priority is to make sure hardware resources are available for Blackboard 7. Blackboard 6 may be temporarily revived at a later date after we are over the beginning of semester traffic peak.
  • Question: We can no longer see roles in bb7, so how do we check domain membership?
    Answer: Right now users roles are not checked when it comes to domain membership so backup administrators will have access to all users (same as with My VCCS)
  • Question: How is the move going with colleges that are going early.
    Answer: We haven’t started move yet due to other more pressing issues.
  • Question: What do you need for Organizations?
    Answer: If you tell us nothing, we’ll move all your organizations. Feel free to identify organizations that should not be moved.
  • Question: Are there training “holes” that need filling?
    Answer: Looking pretty good, but we’ll know for sure when faculty and students start paying attention. New sub-topic created on VCCS discuss for this.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Blackboard Upgrade Conference Call -12/11/07

Red - Greater interest to Faculty
Blue - My additional comments

Blue Ridge, Central, Danville, J.Sargeant Reynolds, John Tyler, Lord Fairfax, Northern, Patrick Henry, Piedmont, Thomas Nelson, Southside, System Office, Virginia Highlands, Virginia Western, Wytheville
Did not attend:

Dabney, Eastern Shore. Germanna, Mountain Empire, New River, Paul D. Camp, Rappahannock, Southwest, Tidewater


We are still working with Blackboard on fine-tuning the database and this is necessitating some short and not so short outages. We recognize the inconvenience, but this is critical work that must be done before students are on the system. Keep an eye on the outages distribution list for notices of outages:

Outage on - bb6

We have scheduled an outage on Thursday, 13th December for, from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. Notices have been placed on and

Pirate language?

There were no objections to putting pirate language on blackboard 7. We’ll do this when it’s convenient. Obviously not a high priority.
Data Migration

ITS will generate a list of organizations and make a spreadsheet available to colleges for their review. This will include a “migrate now?” column.

All organization from TNCC will be migrated beginning Dec. 20, 2007. They should migrate with the students and faculty members. Be sure to check when you see it appear in your Bb 7 Organization Module. You may have to turn the module on by clicking on Modify Contents and then selecting My Organizations.
Single sign-on

We indicated that this might not work at Go Live. However, we think we have resolved this issue. There is a link on the test instance of My VCCS to test – https://dstst/
CVCC is migrating early. Will their courses be ready by Dec 20?
We hope so. We would think so, but we can’t guarantee it.
What are Building block priorities?

Inez Farrell will coordinate. Not till first quarter of 2008.
What is the Bb6 lifetime?

Again, not 100% sure on this. Our priority as we begin the Spring semester will be Blackboard 7 performance. If it requires the resources that’s where we will put resources.

Do not count on having any access to Bb 6 after Dec. 20, 2007.

How will Bb6 archives be done?

The final archives will be made available in the usual fashion.

Although we “grab” archives periodically throughout the term and at the end of the term it is important that faculty download and safely store their own archives. If you need help with this process please contact Jan or me as soon as possible.

How will the data migration work for students and faculty?

Students: On December 20, when they log in to (bb7), their Fall courses will not initially be there. Colleges may place a module on Blackboard 7 indicating that their courses may be on When a course is migrated, it will disappear from Blackboard 6, and subsequently re-appear on Blackboard 7.

Faculty: As with students, except that they will see their courses on Blackboard 6 as unavailable. They should not make them available again. Courses will also have “moving to Blackboard 7” and “moved to Blackboard 7” tagged onto them as appropriate.
URLs will continue to work, so as not to break anything.

What’s new and report card modules

What’s new and report card modules have been made available to college roles. If a college wishes to disable them for their college, they should contact ITS to do so.
TNCC sees no reason to “disable” these new features. Jan will be doing training on them or you learn more about them by going to Atomic Learning. Let us know what you think about the features after you’ve used them.

Has anyone had any reports of Vista or IE7 issues?

No reports.

File size limits

There appears to be a limit on course imports of 250 MB. We have a ticket filed with Blackboard on this.

Please contact me (Ruth) if you get any error messages concerning size limits.

Bb7 quick enroll – bookmarklet

As previously noted, there is now no Quick Enroll feature. I’ve created a bookmarklet to go some of the way towards meeting this need.

NOTE: This bookmarklet is for administrators.

Wimba issue

Wimba migration continues to prove problematic. Migrated content will play but may not be editable.
Subscribe to forum

Email subscribe in discussion forums doesn’t appear to be working for some. It is working for most. This is quite probably a spam issue.
Is there an easy way to clear posts without deleting the actual forum?

Within a forum, you can display all items per page, then Select All, then Remove. Aside from that, it’s not clear.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bb Conference Call - 12/4/2007

Red - Greater interest to Faculty
Blue - My additional comments


Blue Ridge, Central, Dabney, Danville, Germanna, J.Sargeant Reynolds, John Tyler, Lord Fairfax, Northern, Piedmont, Rappahannock, Southside, System Office, Thomas Nelson, Virginia Highlands, Virginia Western, Wytheville

Did not attend:

Eastern Shore. Mountain Empire, New River, Patrick Henry, Paul D. Camp, Southwest, Tidewater
General notes and observations:

Colleges will need to identify the primary administrator for their college. This user will have access to system-wide data. Other administrators will only have access to data within their (college) domain.

There are already two support roles created that can be assigned to users within a (college) domain. Permissions associated with each are attached.

Course Migrations

From December 20, we will begin the migration of Fall 2007, .DEVL, .WRKS, .TMPL courses and organizations. Prior to this, college administrators are strongly encouraged to look at the archive logs on the archive server ( to see if there are any errors that need addressing.

If there are courses or sets of courses that can be migrated prior to December 20, please let us know. Students are already in the system, so it is not a problem from that perspective.


Question: What is the status of Wimba Podcasting and Classtop? What about Blackboard Scholar?
Answer: Wimba Podcasting is working. Classtop is a priority for first quarter of Spring 2008. In general building block evaluations are coordinated through Inez Farrell in AS & R. Joan Osborne is working on evaluating Scholar for the DDLC.

Question: Changing a course name doesn’t work through the System Admin panel
Answer: It can be done through the course control panel

Question: When bringing a course into bb7, not everything was visible
Answer: College Admins need to self-enroll as instructors (this is a high priority to fix – see earlier call notes)
Question: How can colleges do evaluations anonymously if dummy accounts aren’t feasible?
Answer: Surveys in Blackboard are anonymous
Question: Some assignments are broken.
Answer: When copying assignments, you must also copy gradebook settings.
Question: In adaptive release, the group invert button doesn’t seem to work
Answer: Will need to check. I think it does. Invert simply reverses the selections in the current box, it doesn’t move anything from one side to the other.
Jan will be doing training on Adaptive Release in January. Watch for her workshop schedules.
Question: What is the status of dummy accounts?
Answer: Will try to get some more clarification, but the rule of thumb is that accounts should not be shared, especially if they are privileged in any way. Any VCCS user should use only their account and no other.
Question: How can a college make a Blackboard course available to non-vccs students?
Answer: Use generic xxstudent account or make the course available to guests.
Login: TNStudent; Call Jan or me for the Password.
Question: Observed that courses imported had tools defaulting to off
Answer: Not sure why this is happening. Doesn’t appear to be systematic.
Question: It appears that discussion board posting is slow if there are thread subscriptions and users are subscribed to receive the body of posts rather than links.
Answer: Will investigate and report to Blackboard.

Question: Are email notifications working?
Answer: Some, at least, seem to be. We need more data. Please identify emails that you expected to receive but did not, and if possible provide the server you were on (