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Thinking Outside the Box: Using Blackboard Across the Institution


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Presented at Blackboard User Conference 2004.

Co-Presenters: JoAnna Hunt (Seneca College) and Eric Kunnen (Grand Rapids Community College)

What do the largest college in Canada, a small liberal arts university and a community college have in common with their Blackboard implementations? All three have discovered that there are many ways to use Blackboard across the campus enterprise that can not only streamline procedures for departments on campus but that can also increase Blackboard visibility and buy-in from non-academic departments. Seneca University in Toronto, Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan all have worked to implement Blackboard for projects outside of the classroom. This presentation will focus on what is happening at our institutions, what we have been doing to facilitate such Blackboard usage and the lessons we have learned in the process.

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Thinking Outside the Box: Using Blackboard Across the Institution

  1. 1. Thinking Outside the Box Using Blackboard Across the Institution JoAnna Hunt – Seneca College Eric Kunnen – Grand Rapids Community College Rosalind Tedford – Wake Forest University 2004 Blackboard User Conference Phoenix, AZ March 10 th , 2004
  2. 2. Issues <ul><li>Campus activity is more than just what happens in the classroom (physical or virtual) </li></ul><ul><li>Increasingly, campus communication extends beyond the physical boundaries of the institution </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing digitization of communication requires easy online collaboration tools </li></ul><ul><li>Budget cuts mean we have to look in-house for existing solutions to file sharing, communication and collaboration problems </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why Blackboard? <ul><li>Bb 6 has many built in features that make it an easy platform for more than just classroom activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Bb offers a common platform for engaging the entire campus community in online collaboration. </li></ul><ul><li>Bb helps centralize resources across the campus regardless of physical location of participants </li></ul>
  4. 4. Seneca College <ul><li>Seneca College is the largest college of applied arts and technology in Canada. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Located in Toronto Ontario & consists of 9 campuses in the GTA. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Services approximately 90 000 students per year in full and part time studies. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>With multiple campuses and a highly decentralized structure, there needed to be a unifying communication, services and learning management system. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blackboard Enterprise Edition provided the solution. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Blackboard @ Seneca <ul><li>Details of Blackboard Installation @ Seneca </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Production System (My.Seneca) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Load balanced installation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>4 application servers + 1 database (Solaris, Oracle) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development System (BbDEV) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Single server installation (Solaris, Oracle) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Test Environment (BbTEST) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Single server installation (Solaris, Oracle) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. My.Seneca (Seneca’s Portal) <ul><li>There are three major tabs on the Guest view of My.Seneca </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Welcome </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Login; View College News; Register for courses; Etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prospective Students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Access our [email_address] site; View Prospective Student Information; Etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is My.Seneca </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>View a demo of a Student Portal; Access and Review Demo course content; Etc. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Statistics <ul><li>Snapshot generation of data creates approx. 7000 courses, 35000 users, 5500 teaching assignments, 185000 enrolments each semester </li></ul><ul><li>Complete Integration with Admin Systems. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Faculty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support Staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Administrators </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Access to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Announcements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Department information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Email </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online newsletters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employee services </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Seneca - Non Academic Uses <ul><li>Organizations (Communities) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Faculty groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Continuing Education Department uses organizations to communicate with PT faculty who are not on campus. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>FT Faculty share exams; course content; work on projects such as Applied Degree Programs; etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Department discussion areas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>College departments use organizations to store documents. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student Clubs and Organizations </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Seneca - Non Academic Uses <ul><ul><li>College councils and committees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The College Board of Governors, Academic Council, IT Council and other committees use organizations to access minutes, agendas, documents and other information. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student Federations Councils </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>At Seneca we have 4 major campuses all with a Student Federation Council. Seneca’s SFC groups use organizations to post events and share information. There is a central organization for common events and information. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Seneca - Portal Development <ul><li>Developed Portals for Faculty, Students, Staff and Guests. </li></ul><ul><li>Currently working on Alumni </li></ul><ul><li>Planning division of Part time and Full time Students in near future. </li></ul><ul><li>Sample modules </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>WebMail, timetables, attendance, password changers, professional development, course, announcements, bookmarks, picture class lists, events, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Seneca - Alumni Systems <ul><li>Email forwarding </li></ul><ul><li>Alumni Portal </li></ul><ul><li>Organizations for Chapters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Announcements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion Boards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Virtual Chats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>eFlyers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter/Program Information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Controlling Organization for all Chapters </li></ul>
  12. 12. Seneca - Content System Integration <ul><li>Content System </li></ul><ul><ul><li>document sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>multi-section support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>version controls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>workflows </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>portfolios </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>library integration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>virtual hard-drives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>quotas & bandwidth </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Increase Usage </li></ul><ul><li>Pilot program </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Summer 2004 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Full implementation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>fall of 2004. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Grand Rapids Community College <ul><li>GRCC is one of 28 community colleges in Michigan. (Established in 1914.) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan & consists of a main campus and 2 technical education sites. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Approximately 14,000 students per semester in full and part time studies. (Average FTE is 8,000.) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>With multiple campus sites and a high population of part time students, there was a need for an easy-to-use, unifying, scalable learning system… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blackboard Enterprise Edition provided the solution. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Blackboard @ GRCC <ul><li>System Stats </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Production + Test Environments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bb 6.1 Enterprise with Portal (Linux/Oracle) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Transaction System (Unix Edition) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User Accounts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All students, faculty, staff have access </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Authentication via LDAP </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Courses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All courses are created each semester </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Approximately 2000 courses are created each semester. Of these roughly 400 are active which have a potential student impact of about 8000. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enrollments are automated </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. GRCC - Portal <ul><li>Portal Direct Entry </li></ul><ul><li>The MODULES </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Campus Announcements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Faculty Absences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Search </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dictionary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weather </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Faculty/Staff Directory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Campus Web Cam </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quick Polls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Calendar </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The TABS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Student E-mail Tab </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Services Tab </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library Tab </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>eGRCC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community Tab (GRCC eBay, Student Organizations, Ride Board, Virtual Bostwick Commons, etc.) </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. GRCC – Departments, Teams, & Committees <ul><li>Content/Document & Idea sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Easy-to-use Web Publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Tracking </li></ul><ul><li>Off campus access to information & documents </li></ul><ul><li>A Few Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic Senate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategy Team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developmental Communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FIPSE Grant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Registrar – Training Materials and Reference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business Department – sharing materials, ideas, activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>English – communication, material/idea sharing </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. GRCC – New Student and Employee Orientations
  18. 18. GRCC - Training & Support <ul><li>Training and Support </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online Course Development Training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Faculty Support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tutoring/Department Communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student Technology Help Desk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Raider Learning Center (Professional Development via Portal/Course) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Training, Employee Orientation, FERPA, Blood Borne Pathogen etc. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. GRCC - Summary <ul><li>Key Applications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students use it to access e-mail, courses, student services, student organizations, community forums, college announcements, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Faculty use it to deliver course materials, communicate with students and colleagues, announcements, training, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff use it to access information such as committee sites, training materials, announcements, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Key Goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Expand Access, Build Online Community, Convenience, Easy of Use, and Effective Teaching and Learning </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Wake Forest University <ul><li>5000 Students (Undergrad, Grad and Professional) </li></ul><ul><li>500 Faculty </li></ul><ul><li>ThinkPad campus – all faculty and students have laptops </li></ul><ul><li>No distance education classes (yet) – only web-enhanced face to face </li></ul>
  21. 21. Blackboard @ Wake Forest <ul><ul><li>Bb Campus since 1998 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Production + Test Environments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bb 6.1 Enterprise (Linux/Oracle) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User Accounts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All students, faculty, staff have access </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Authentication via LDAP </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Courses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Currently users create their own courses and manage enrollment as needed. With pending Banner/SCT integration, processes will be automated. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 22. WFU Projects – Board of Trustees <ul><li>Used to limit face to face meeting time and printing costs </li></ul><ul><li>Each committee has a Bb course </li></ul><ul><li>Overall Trustee cabinet contains all documents for each meeting </li></ul><ul><li>Easy email list </li></ul>
  23. 23. WFU Projects - Departmental Communications <ul><li>ZSR Library </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared committee information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Information Systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Departmental information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Legal Department </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cross-campus communication </li></ul></ul><ul><li>English Department </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Departmental Intranet </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Law School </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Faculty meeting minutes </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. WFU Projects – University Committees <ul><li>Lower Division Advising </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Surveys </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Academic Affairs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recommendations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Banner/SCT Implementation Steering Committee – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Campus Copyright </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Document collaboration </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. WFU Projects <ul><li>Project Management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ThinkPad Orientation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ThinkPad Load Building Team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Banner/SCT Project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grants Management </li></ul></ul><ul><li>MBA Student Study Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Student Training </li></ul><ul><li>Advising </li></ul>
  26. 26. Benefits <ul><li>Allows those who make decisions about money and implementation to see Bb at work. </li></ul><ul><li>Provides common platform across campus organizations – no new systems to learn </li></ul><ul><li>Can encourage low-end users to go electronic with communication </li></ul><ul><li>Provides access to information from work, home & Phoenix </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes the increased visibility and use of Bb </li></ul>
  27. 27. Drawbacks <ul><li>More users can place more (and different) demands on the system </li></ul><ul><li>When administrators use Bb, the stakes are raised in terms of security and privacy </li></ul><ul><li>Downtime is more difficult to schedule </li></ul><ul><li>Training and support becomes more complex </li></ul>
  28. 28. Lessons Learned <ul><li>Jo’s Lessons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Buy in from user community is very important. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Regular communication with users is key </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Focus Groups work </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide adequate support, training and documentation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timing of Upgrades can make a big difference. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Functionality & Features vs. Stability & Performance </li></ul></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Lessons Learned <ul><li>Eric’s Lessons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be Flexible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take the Time to Support and Train and Remind Users of Possibilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be Active in Recruitment/Reminders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leverage = Increased Impact Across Institution </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Lessons Learned <ul><li>Roz’s Lessons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Manage users expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow users to be creative with Blackboard implementations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep lines of communications open – include non-academic users in the Bb information loop </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Questions? <ul><li>JoAnna Hunt -- </li></ul><ul><li>Eric Kunnen – [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Roz Tedford – [email_address] </li></ul>