When Blackboard Goes Bigtime: Centralizing Support, Unifying the Message


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Presented at Bb World Conference 2006.

Co-Presenter: Lori Mathis (UNC)

One small private university and one large state school will discuss how they have moved faculty Blackboard support to the central university help desk. We will discuss how partnering, advanced planning, good training and solid second-tier support are crucial to making this transition smooth for faculty and support folks alike.

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
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  • When Blackboard Goes Bigtime: Centralizing Support, Unifying the Message

    1. 1. When BB Goes Bigtime Centralizing Support, Unifying the Message
    2. 2. UNC-Chapel Hill: The Basic Stats <ul><li>2500+ courses each semester </li></ul><ul><li>9,000 – 12,000 unique users each day </li></ul>Used in all schools
    3. 3. History
    4. 4. Most popular uses Post course materials & readings Send email Post grades
    5. 5. Past support model IT Response Center CIT Students Faculty/Staff Schools/ departments Faculty/Staff Bb company
    6. 6. Current support model Faculty/Staff Bb company IT Response Center CIT Students Faculty/Staff Schools/ departments
    7. 7. CIT involvement with help requests Opening Semester Weeks 1-3 458 requests Fall Fall
    8. 8. How did we do it? Key #1—Planning Dec 2004 Announced transition to IT staff in schools/depts Feb 2005 Mention transition to faculty who contact us directly Mar 2005 Post announcement to Blackboard.unc.edu News site/log in page Include announcement in personal voicemail Auto-responder for email requests Mention transition to faculty who contact us directly October 2004 Discussed transition with ITRC and established their buy-in
    9. 9. Apr 2005 Posted transition reminder on login page Transition: 4/11 Calls forwarded to ITRC Updated auto-responder for email requests Updated personal voicemail Referred faculty who contact us directly to ITRC Post-transition Disconnected phone, with msg referring to ITRC's number Auto-responder Personal voicemail Refer faculty who contact us directly to ITRC
    10. 10. Key #2—Keep it Personal without identifying a Bb go-to person <ul><ul><li>Central help request system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared email boxes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared phone number </li></ul></ul>Resources
    11. 11. Key #3—Building Trust among Support Staff <ul><ul><li>Long-term relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agreement for admin access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visit each other’s locations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instant messaging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Backing each other up in client cases </li></ul></ul>Resources
    12. 12. Key # 4—Multiple Help Options http://help.unc.edu/?id=5264
    13. 13. Key #5—Communicate Once, Receive Many Ways http://www.unc.edu/cit/bb/bbnews
    14. 14. Feedback <ul><li>Process went smoothly </li></ul><ul><li>No large red flags in faculty feedback </li></ul>However <ul><li>Some individual cases drop through the cracks </li></ul><ul><li>Concerns over self-help options </li></ul>
    15. 15. Wake Forest University <ul><li>BB Campus since 1998 </li></ul><ul><li>Undergrad, Graduate, MBA and Law all on our installation </li></ul><ul><li>Roughly 7000 users </li></ul><ul><li>Currently 300+ active classes per semester (and lots of non-course classes) </li></ul><ul><li>LS Only (Enterprise) running on Linux </li></ul><ul><li>BB 6.3 (as of December 2005) </li></ul>
    16. 16. Current BB Support at WFU <ul><li>Primary training and support rests with the Library </li></ul><ul><li>Central Help Desk manages course copy, course delete and password issues </li></ul><ul><li>Departmental Instructional Technology folks (ITGs) do some (irregular) support </li></ul><ul><li>Support primarily via email and phone (listserv gets some use) </li></ul>
    17. 17. Upcoming Integration <ul><li>Spring 06 we will be integrating Banner with Blackboard </li></ul><ul><li>Summer I will be first semester for automatically generated courses and enrollment management </li></ul><ul><li>Use will increase (100% or more??) </li></ul><ul><li>Necessitates revision in support structure </li></ul>
    18. 18. New Support Model <ul><li>Shared support responsibility between main Help Desk and ITGs (Law and MBA have their own support people). </li></ul><ul><li>Backup support offered to these groups by library staff </li></ul><ul><li>Library continues to provide training </li></ul><ul><li>To be in place by August 2006 </li></ul>
    19. 19. How Are We Getting There? <ul><li>Got approval for moving support to Help Desk and ITGs from Help Desk manager and Dean. </li></ul><ul><li>Created bbsupport listserv for ALL support people (including sys admin) </li></ul><ul><li>Schedule of monthly classes for support people January – August </li></ul><ul><li>Training on Course Administrator role planned for the summer </li></ul><ul><li>Posting support docs on the Faculty Support web page (open to all). </li></ul>
    20. 20. Our Timeline <ul><li>August 2005 got approval from the Dean (for ITG support) </li></ul><ul><li>September 2005 got approval from Help Desk </li></ul><ul><li>September-October worked with Project team to put a plan in place </li></ul><ul><li>December had first BB Support meeting </li></ul><ul><li>January 2006 – August 2006 Monthly Meetings </li></ul><ul><li>August 2006 support will switch completely </li></ul><ul><li>Then a miracle happens </li></ul>
    21. 21. How are we doing so far? <ul><li>B- </li></ul><ul><li>Great enthusiasm from the Help Desk </li></ul><ul><li>Resistance (not open) from the ITGs </li></ul><ul><li>Moderate support from the Dean </li></ul><ul><li>No good knowledge base in place currently for us to use </li></ul><ul><li>Will spend summer improving documentation </li></ul>
    22. 22. Our Advice to Others <ul><li>As much as possible do this from the top down </li></ul><ul><li>Get the approval from the necessary folks in writing EARLY on </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage open discussions of issues </li></ul><ul><li>Manage expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Make use of a knowledge base if you can </li></ul>
    23. 23. Thank You! Lori Mathis: [email_address] Roz Tedford: [email_address]