Blackboard Learn Faculty Training Information

Have you heard that the Chico campus is moving from the Vista Learning Management System to the Blackboard Learn system? No? Well here is some information to let you know what is coming and help you to better understand how to prepare.

Early Adopter Faculty
Self-selecting faculty will attend workshops during the fall semester of 2011 to obtain information about the new system, how it works, and what is needed to prepare to move to it. (Training will begin in September.) TLP’s goal is to train 50% of the faculty to move during the initial wave. These faculty who are trained during the fall 2011 semester will move all, or at least some of their classes, into Blackboard Learn to teach with in the spring of 2012.

The Second Wave of Faculty
The remainder of the faculty who do not get trained during the fall will be trained during the spring and summer of 2012 and will move all of their classes into Blackboard Learn to teach with in the fall of 2012. At this time the first wave of trained faculty will also have all of their courses moved into Learn for this semester.

Department Training
Initially TLP will supply department-level training to those who request it. The objective is to train these groups as cohorts who can then assist each other in the transition process. Laura Sederberg, TLP Manager, is leading this effort. Please contact her as soon as possible to schedule a department training. She can be reached at lsederberg[@] or X 4326.

Transition to Learn: The First in the Series
The first workshop that faculty will attend is called Transition to Blackboard Learn. This 90-minute training is mandatory. During the Transition workshop TLP trainers will provide participants with basic information necessary to start building a course in Bb Learn, guide them through the process of planning, creating, and organizing the course menu and content area, and explain the migration process from Vista to Bb Learn.

The objectives of the Transition to Bb Learn are as follows:
By the end of this session, participants will be able to:
· develop the course menu, upload files to courses and work with features of the content area.
· decide whether to use the migration application and guide tool, or to build a course from scratch.
· locate support resources and select further training opportunities.
· make informed decisions about transitioning to Bb Learn.

The 60-minute informational portion of this workshop, will be followed by a 30-minute hands-on session where the migration process will be explained. Assistance with migrating courses from Vista to Learn will be available.

Additional Training
After attending the Transition to Learn workshop, faculty may opt to take any of the following workshops at TLP:
– Communication and Group Work
– Presenting Content in Bb Learn
– Assessments and Assignments
– The Gradebook

Online asynchronous tutorials will also become available as resources are created by TLP.

Please keep watching this blog for more information about the campus transition to the new LMS, Bb Learn. For questions or comments, please contact Laura Sederberg at TLP.

Chico Faculty Begin Bb Learn Pilot

This summer pilot faculty took an initial training workshop and began creating courses in the new campus learning management system, Blackboard Learn. These 14 faculty and their approximately 1,000 students, represent all colleges (except Agriculture). They will be piloting the new system and providing their feedback and insights for all of us to benefit throughout this fall semester.

The following professors are a part of the pilot group:

Rony Garrido, Foreign Languages, SPAN 301
Cris Guenter, Department of Education, EDCI 675
Benjoe Juliano, Computer Science, Departmental Community
Jon Knolle, Department of Communication, CDES 271
Scott Kodai, Management, MGMT 303
Bill Maligie, Finance and Marketing, SCMS 306
Jennifer Meadows, Communication Design, CDES 307
Ron Pike, Acct and Management Information Systems, MINS 301
Brian Oppy, Psychology, PSYC 333
Renee Renner, Computer Science, CSCI 380
Kathryn Schifferle, Finance & Marketing, MKTG 305
Kui-Hee Song, Social Work, SWRK 302
Katie Whitlock, Theatre, THEA 250
Tom Wilder, Business, BSIS 602

TLP is hoping to have about half the Chico State faculty trained over the fall semester with the goal of using Bb Learn to teach with in the spring 2012 semester. The balance of the faculty will follow in fall of 2012.

Departmental Training Opportunity
TLP is offering on a first-come, first-served basis, “custom training” for departments. This is the same method used in the past when the campus transitioned to Vista. We would like to train in customized cohorts so faculty groups can learn together and help one another. This benefits your students, too! Please contact Laura Sederberg to schedule departmental trainings – the sooner, the better. This workshop, Transition to Learn, requires a 90-minute block of time. Based on departmental needs it can be modified.

Training this Fall
Additional trainings will be available for individual faculty members. More workshops are currently in development, and will be announced next month. Faculty must attend a Transition to Vista workshop before being allowed to teach with Bb Learn next spring. For more information about our move to Bb Learn, please watch this TLP Blog, and visit the TLP website

CSU, Chico Fall Classes in Second Life

This fall several CSU, Chico faculty will be teaching classes of students in the virtual world of Second Life. Professor Nanette Wylde has already begun taking 17 students in her ARTS 450/451 class, Art in Second Life, into the virtual Chico State campus for orientation and avatar design. Students in her course will learn how to create 3D art pieces as well as how to build displays to showcase real world art. During the semester numerous artists will speak to her students about their craft in such areas as machinima, live music, performance art, TV production, in-world 3D design and running a virtual art gallery.

Professor Cris Guenter , who has been taking her EDCI 675 students into Second Life for several semesters, will continue to expose her groups to the educational implications of virtual world pedagogy. Political Science professor, Michael Coyle, will once again involve his POLS 353 Corrections students in a project that investigates difference, diversity and deviance. Religious studies professors, Sarah Pike and Daniel Viedlinger, are currently considering using the virtual world to involve students in the study of religious ceremonies. Nursing professor, Becky Damazo, is developing an in-world simulation that will allow her students to fulfill some of their community service experiences as well as interact in medical emergency scenarios. Lastly, there is a group of staff who are exploring the possibility of using the campus as a spot for students to meet anonymously to discuss issues of diversity and alternative lifestyles.

For more information about the use of virtual worlds by CSU faculty, students, and staff or to schedule a consultation about the possible use in a CSU, Chico class, please contact Ann Steckel at asteckel[@] or X6780.

The Second Life landmark for CSU, Chico:

To download the software to access Second Life:

All students, faculty, staff and administration are welcome at the virtual campus. It is open 24 hours a day.

July Bb Learn Transition Team Progress Report

CSU Chico Bb Learn logoThe transition to Bb Learn continues apace, with July being particularly eventful regarding new developments.

Ann Steckel’s Communication Committee implemented the use of Quick Response (QR) codes to provide a direct link to the TLP’s Bb Learn web page via smartphone app. For more information on using QR codes, see the article “TLP begins using QR codes with Bb Learn Info” on the TLP Blog page.

TLP manager Laura Sederberg says, “A special shout-out to department chairs! TLP is offering customized training for your department’s instructors.” Upon request, TLP will provide a 90-minute department specific introduction workshop, Transition to Bb Learn, in the TLP lab (MLIB 002). Sederberg will coordinate with department chairs, or a designated faculty member, to customize a workshop so department faculty members can help one another by attending training as a group. TLP is encouraging and supporting faculty to launch Bb Learn courses for spring 2012, but only after some initial orientation and training. Contact Laura Sederberg directly about this offer at: or x4326.

Scott Kodai reports that, “July has been a very busy month. Several DLT staff attended the Blackboard conference, where we learned quite a bit about Learn from more experienced schools and we all came back excited about the new system and the upcoming features on Blackboard’s product development roadmap. Our PeopleSoft integration is almost complete, most of the building blocks we’ll be running during the pilot are installed and configured, and our automated migration application (to move content from Vista to Learn) is working in production! The self-service application is progressing smoothly and should be available sometime during the fall semester. We are busy now tweaking final settings, figuring out how we want things displayed, tuning the application for peak performance, and resolving issues as they come up.”

Claudine Franquet’s training development team has “started running our Pilot faculty through our Transition to Blackboard Learn Workshop, and working on developing the second round of trainings for the campus” by applying the insights gained from the initial round of training and feedback from the Pilot group of instructors. Claudine and the TLP staff are working in conjunction with Laura Sederberg to offer Bb Learn training for all faculty by reservation and for entire department staff beginning in September.

In the TLP Faculty Empowerment Lab, student employees under the supervision of Peter DiFalco spent the month concentrating on developing best practice techniques for migrating courses from Vista to Bb Learn. Their efforts culminated in a series of presentations to and discussions with the TLP’s senior staff of Instructional Technology Consultants (ITCs) regarding techniques that will make the transition to Bb Learn as seamless and efficient as possible for faculty and students alike.

~ story by student staff Carey Wilson

TLP begins using QR codes with Bb Learn Info

QR codes seem to be popping up everywhere. They can be found on concert posters taped to boards at sandwich shops. They can be found on billboards advertising pizza. Currently, they can be also be found on posters advertising Blackboard Learn.

The Quick Response (QR) code image embedded to the left is an example of how TLP is connecting users to web resources loaded with information about Bb Learn. The example here contains a link to the web page where users can access information and connect to links about the Bb Learn learning management system (LMS), software that is currently being implemented by a pilot group of faculty here at CSU Chico. (If you have a QR code reader on your phone, scan the image and it will take you to the Bb Learn website.)

So what are these codes? Simply put, a QR code is a more sophisticated version of product barcodes that get scanned at the checkout of any retail outlet. Because QR codes can contain up to 4000 characters of information, quite a lot of information can be embedded in just one. For example, it can be something as simple as a web address, or it can contain contact information such as email addresses and telephone numbers, or even instructions for doing an assignment.

QR codes are designed to be accessed by a smartphone decoding app by scanning the code with the phone’s camera. The app then uses the information embedded in the QR code to take users directly to the website, video link, text message, phone number, or other information. Using QR codes to deliver information encoded in a graphic form saves users the time of having to write down or type out urls in order to access the information embedded in the code. It also allows text information to be stored and then read at a user’s convenience. (To obtain a QR decoder app that is compatible with your phone’s operating system, search your phone’s app store or use Google to search for the app. Most are free.)

Links to articles and blogs about the use of QR codes in higher education

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools – QR Codes In Education

QR Codes: Applications in Education video

7 Ways Higher Education can use QR Codes to Connect with Current and Prospective Students

QR Codes and The Academy

Links for QR decoder apps

Links for download of QR reader for iPhone:
Shop Savvy Barcode Scanner & QR Reader for iPhone

Link for download QR reader for iPhone, Blackberry, and Android:
Download i-nigma Reader

~ article by student staff Carey Wilson

Turnitin has a NEW Feature: the ETS® e-rater®

iParadigms, the company that makes Turnitin, has announced that ETS® e-rater® grammar tool is now available within GradeMark. According to company literature, “the e-rater grammar tool delivers automated feedback on grammar, style, mechanics, usage and spelling, saving instructors time while providing them with more effective feedback on the student writing process.”

Integrated with GradeMark, e-rater marks can be layered with other writing tools: Originality Check for plagiarism prevention and PeerMark for online peer reviewing.

The e-rater technology automatically flags grammar, style, usage, mechanics and spelling errors so instructors can spend less time correcting and more time teaching.

Students can view their e-rater marks that link to grammar handbooks that are grade-appropriate. For English language learners, handbooks are available in ten languages.

How to turn on the ETS® e-rater® feature

DATE: Monday, August 22, 2011
Sign Up Here
Attend a one-hour webinar and learn how the new automated feedback from GradeMark with the ETS e-rater tool improves students’ written work.
Topics to be covered:
– instructors save time by streamlining the evaluation process
– students receive richer feedback and access to self-help tools
– educators meet requirements for communication and critical thinking skills

Engaging Learning in Virtual Environments

2012 Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge Announced – This year there are TWO grand prizes of $25,000! Check it out! Engaging Learning focus area is a call for demonstrations of learning activities in virtual environments

The Federal Virtual World Challenge is an open, global Challenge to the world for the best of the best implementations within virtual environments. The Challenge is an annual event led by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory – Simulation & Training Technology Center. The event is conducted to explore innovative and interactive solutions in virtual environments. The criteria are intentionally unbounded to encourage creative results.

The Engaging Learning focus area is a call for demonstrations of learning activities in virtual environments.  You’ve played learning games you had a hard time putting down or walking away from. Maybe you even played one that you can’t wait to play again.  While you play, you learn about important material or build skills.  The Army wants to learn more about what strategies best encourage learners to play with learning material.  Entries should be examples of any learning tasks accessible in a virtual environment.  They are very interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning tasks among others.

All submitted content remains the intellectual property of the creators.

-article by TLP Student Staff Jim Aird