Grademark & Peermark Webinars

PeerMark Best Practices
Want to conduct student peer reviews effectively and efficiently? Learn how to use PeerMark to distribute papers to review, collect useful reviewer feedback, encourage student participation, and achieve cognitive benefits of peer review.

Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Time: 1 PM PDT (US)
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GradeMark Best Practices
Tired of lugging stacks of papers all over town and scribbling illegible feedback in the margins for hours on end? We’ll discuss best practices for using GradeMark to provide more meaningful feedback in less time and track class progress and problem areas.

Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Time: 1 PM PDT (US)
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CSU, Chico: An Evaluation of Blackboard Learn “video”

During the spring semester of 2011, the Blackboard Corporation visited Chico State to learn more about the rationale for the university’s choice to move to the new learning management system, Blackboard Learn. While in Chico a film crew captured the essence of the campus culture and interviewed President Zingg, Provost Flake, Vice-Provost Post, ATEC Director Kathy Fernandes, DLT & Classroom Technology Services Manager, Scott Kodai, and TLP Manager Laura Sederberg as well as a number of faculty. Please take a moment to watch the interview with Chico State’s campus leaders as they explain why and how students and faculty will be using the new system.

Bb Learn August Updates

The Chico State’s transition to the Blackboard Learn learning management system (LMS) picked up momentum in August as the pilot group of faculty began creating courses in Bb Learn and presenting course materials to students. To kick off the pilot, these faculty attended the newly crafted, Transition to Bb Learn workshop and worked with TLP consultants to decide if migrating a course to Learn was worthwhile or if the course should begin from scratch. Most of them decided to start fresh, while three faculty decided to try out the new migration process to bring Vista content into the new system.

To further advance the transition, the TLP Empowerment Lab (Meriam LibraryRm 003, in the basement), is offering training sessions for all faculty throughout September and into October. In the 90-minute sessions, titled Transition to Bb Learn, 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.

Bb Learn Training Materials lead, Claudine Franquet said, “The 90-minute Transition workshops are mandatory for those wishing to begin using Bb Learn in their Spring 2011 courses. After training, participants are given their own Bb Learn prep areas where they can migrate or create content and adapt course materials for future release to students.” Claudine added that, “The list of upcoming training dates is available on the TLP homepage at, where instructors can enroll in workshops.”

Scott Kodai, Manager, Distributed Learning Technologies and Classroom Technology Services, said, “Now that the pilot is officially underway, we’re looking for feedback from faculty and students. We’ve already discovered several (relatively minor) bugs. We’ve investigated and replicated some of those issues and opened support cases with Blackboard. Recently we’ve received five patches for those various cases (and a few we hadn’t discovered yet!). We’ve installed those patches on our staging server and, once testing has been completed, we’ll be installing them on the production system during our September 15th maintenance window (from 6:00am to 8:00am). ”

Kodai added that, “Overall, the new system has been performing very well. Some early faculty feedback is that it’s much quicker than Vista and the new interface makes it easier to accomplish some tasks.” “We’ve also been busy designing and building the self-service application for Learn and tweaking the migration process to make it easier for faculty. Our next big project is to build a test environment in preparation for the next Learn service pack, which is due out sometime in October. This test environment will also help our networking staff configure our new high performance load balancers to work properly with Learn, and let us test some processes for managing future Learn upgrades with minimal downtime.”

Ann Steckel’s Communication Team has begun reconvening to discuss the Official Bb Learn Kick Off event to be held sometime in October. During the event information about Bb Learn and what it means to faculty will be discussed. Opportunities for participants to speak with pilot faculty, TLP consultants and system administrators will be highlighted.