April 2011 Bb Learn Transition Team Progress Report

Bb Learn Logo

Welcome back to the round-up of developments and accomplishments from CSU Chico’s Blackboard Learn Transition Teams and Committees.

As you can see from the logo, Ann Steckel’s Bb Learn Communication Team, with the assistance of graphic designer Ron Linzy of Chico State’s Graphic Design Studio, has created an online and print media applications logo to use for graphically identifying CSU Chico’s roll-out of Blackboard Learn. The logo is designed to provide instant recognition of any communication regarding developing and implementing the new Bb Learn Learning Management System (LMS) at Chico State.

From the hands-on realm of functionally testing Bb Learn, Peter DiFalco, supervisor of the TLP Empowerment Lab and Faculty Training Lab reports that, “The Migration Research project has been proceeding at breakneck speed to test all kinds of course elements and features. In April the research team of TLP students began to test a new update to Bb Learn which includes the ability to import grading rubrics, and are finding that this feature works extremely well when transferring rubrics from Vista. Their research will be put to use next month as the team begins to develop a comprehensive and interactive Migration Guide to be used by faculty.”

DiFalco also tells us that, “The Migration Application team including students and staff in Distributed Learning Technologies has also been busy, continuing their work to bring faculty an unprecedented ability to migrate selected Vista courses through an easy-to-use online form.”

Manager Scott Kodai’s, Distributed Learning Technologies Team, started off April by applying service pack 5 and the newly released beta version of service pack 6 to the Blackboard Learn sandbox. “We’re anxious to get an early look at service pack 6 because it includes gradable rubrics and timed exams… two features of Vista that were not previously available in Learn. The upgrades went well and we’re currently working with TLP to test and evaluate the new tools, as well as exploring what bugs may have been fixed.”

Recently Kodai’s team completed three solid days of administrative training with Chris Bray, who came all the way from the University of Arkansas to share his insights and experiences with them. The team learned quite a bit and will now be able to avoid some missteps that they might otherwise have run into. Armed with our new knowledge, they are now working on designing the overall architecture of our migration/integration strategy and beginning the process of specifying and setting up our new production environment.

According to Laura Sederberg, TLP Manager and Bb Learn Pilot lead, Chico’s Bb Learn implementation is being tested by a select group of fourteen faculty members from across five colleges. They will receive some training this summer before launching one course into Bb Learn for the fall semester. Each member of the pilot group is currently deciding to migrate their course from Bb Vista or start from scratch with a blank course. This group will help the Technology and Learning Program (TLP) evaluate and improve its workshop offerings for Chico State faculty to be trained in the fall and spring semesters. They will provide feedback to TLP and share their discoveries about the new system at the CELT Conference in October.

Claudine Franquet’s Bb Learn Training, Support and Documentation Committee continues working on developing tools to assist instructors to optimize and standardize their online course content for use on Bb Learn. “Basically,” she says, “we are finalizing class templates, and moving on to other face-to-face workshops.” These templates will serve as the foundation for courses developed in the new system and assist faculty who prefer not to start from scratch.

Watch this blog for more monthly updates.

-Article compiled by TLP student staff, Carey Wilson

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