Blackboard Learn Transition Team March Progress Report

The most recent developments and accomplishments of CSU Chico’s Blackboard Learn Transition Teams and Committees. Watch this blog for monthly updates.

As evidenced by this blog, Ann Steckel’s Bb Learn Communication Team has been compiling and distributing information and working with staff and faculty to raise awareness of (and lower anxiety about) the upcoming transition from the Blackboard Vista learning management system (LMS) to the updated and improved Blackboard Learn LMS (hereinafter referred to as Bb Learn). Along with blogging and otherwise distributing up-to-date information about the transition, Ann and her team have begun designing graphic materials, such as a standardized logo, to use in posters and other print and online materials that will raise awareness of Bb Learn among Chico State faculty and staff.

On the hands-on, nuts-and-bolts side, Claudine Franquet’s Bb Learn Training, Support and Documentation Committee has received Bb training materials that provide both face-to-face and online workshops for faculty and students who are exploring the capabilities of the Bb Learn LMS. Claudine says that, “Having access to training materials that faculty and students can interact with allows us to see how we can personalize Bb Learn to create optimized applications for use at Chico State.” The team is developing templates for use in Bb Learn that will allow instructors to transition into proven-effective online formats for their class materials rather than the “blank shells” that are currently used for newly opened Vista-based courses.

Meanwhile in the TLP Empowerment Lab and Faculty Training Lab, manager Peter DiFalco says, “TLP staff and student specialists are busy testing the ways that content and course designs are translated from Vista to Bb Learn. Distributed Learning Technologies wizards are working hard to enhance our self-service tools for faculty with a course migration function. The goal of this effort is for faculty members to be able to create a personalized plan for transferring courses into Bb Learn, preserving and enhancing their course design. Faculty will be able to begin the migration process starting in Fall 2011.”

Administrative and operational functions are also being leveraged to make the transition to Bb Learn as efficient and trouble-free as possible. Scott Kodai, Manager, Distributed Learning Technologies and Classroom Technology Services, says, “In Distributed Learning, we’ve been busy exploring options for automating the migration of Vista content to Bb Learn, getting our current third-party tools (Wimba, Turnitin, and TurningPoint) working in our Bb Learn sandbox system, and starting work on adapting our existing PeopleSoft integration. As part of the initial integration work, we’ve also been exploring the relatively complex system of roles and permissions that are possible in Bb Learn and determining the best practices for managing these features moving forward. We’ve also been very involved in working with Blackboard on their upcoming development efforts to ensure that what they end up building is as useful to us as possible. We’ve engaged with Blackboard on two Product Development Partnerships, been accepted into one Blackboard beta test, and have applied for a second Blackboard beta test. Even though the development partnerships and beta testing are very time consuming, we really feel that the benefits of getting an early look at what Blackboard has planned, as well as some influence on their priorities, is very valuable to our future success with the system.”

Please keep an eye on this blog as each month we will be reporting on the core Bb Learn teams’ progress as we move toward product roll out in Spring of 2012.

-Article by TLP student staff, Carey Wilson

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