If I thought the summer went by quickly, it was nothing compare to the speed with which the fall semester is going by. The 11 projects I mentioned in my last post all have ongoing impact on my day to day work schedule – some good, and some not so good. To help keep the tone of this post light I am going to award each of the projects either a feather, or a tack. A feather if the immediate impact has been good, and a tack if not so good.
1. Upgrading to Blackboard LMS 73 – BIG Tack!
The upgrade itself was pretty smooth. However, we have had nightmarish problems with discussion board performance. Each day we have been experiencing terrible slow downs and/or crashes. It seems Blackboard has been pegging the CPU because of some SQL anomalies related to the discussion boards. At the moment was are evaluating the impact of an unsupported hack to fix SQL glitches in Blackboard. So far so good. But we still need a supported fix from Blackboard.
2. Implementing the Blackboard Community System – Feather
Implementation has been a non-issue, and is meeting some special needs in some departments.
3. Blackboard iTunes U building block from Vanderbuilt – BIG Feather!
It took some time and tweaking to meet our system specific needs, but it now works wonderfully. Initially envisioned for SAUonline courses, its ease of use is attracting a lot of campus faculty as well.
4. Blackboard LMS & Content System training materials – Feather
Customising the materials was not difficult. Being able to provide printed, bound manuals along with supplemental readings has been very popular with faculty.
5. Implementing & Training faculty on Elluminate Live – BIG Feather!
I don’t think I have ever implemented anything as complex as Elluminate Live with such ease! Faculty and student response to the tool has been enthusiastic to say the least. Our online students rave about the experience in a live session. Faculty are impressed with the untapped potential in the product. It is going to be interesting to see how usage scales over this academic year.
6. Rolling out a new Web site for the SAU Office of Academic Technology – BIG Feather
The web work was done by my colleague Jason Archer, web site chef extraordinaire. When coming up with the main URL we came up with OAT – Office of Academic Technology. To everyone’s surprise, Jason photoshopped a popular oatmeal label which was used to unveil the site. Needless to say, it was received with much good humor.
7. Scheduled faculty training – Big Feather
While this is nothing new for many universities, this is the first time SAU has a standing schedule of training sessions. Faculty can register for any of the training sessions on the OAT web site. This has prompted significant change in my daily routine, but is exciting nevertheless.