CATS2008 session: Blackboard Communities

Just as we’re supporting a vibrant and expanding set of campus communities in Vista (for faculty dept’s, staff, and interdisciplinary groups), so is Cal State Fullerton – and they’re twice as large a campus as Chico in terms of FTEs.

One difference is that Fullerton is using the Blackboard Community System, which will soon be available to our campus through the Blackboard Learning Connector layer in Vista 8.

I’m hearing common themes – content sharing among instructors of large multi-section courses, department collaboration. A very interesting comment from presenter Shariq Ahmed: “Not having a wiki available on our campus, we have added every person into this community as a designer so they all can add, delete, and modify content.” – For me, that solution is at best inadequate, because there’s no opportunity for true collaborative writing or for edit histories (versioning). Is the killer app not a Vista LMS (or community system) shell with an integrated wiki space? Such a solution could be managed by its leaders through a web-based application which simultaneously manages the associated wiki group/space permissions and membership.

One comment though- Blackboard’s community feature is pretty ugly. Not having spent any time with their original (non-webCT-acquired) products, I’m rather shocked at the Spartan interface. However, the self-enrollment feature is about 300x more simplified and obvious than in the Vista LMS.

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