Guest post by Harold Powers, Project Manager, University System of Georgia, and a member of the Ask Dr. C program, a free question and answer service for Blackboard users. Harold flies gyroplanes and is building a Zenith 750 in his spare time, too. As an LMS administrator, have you ever been asked about what you do at work? It’s pretty difficult to explain, right? Although responsibilities vary from campus-to-campus, I think many of us have similar workflows and, with that in mind, I’ve divided them into three major categories. This might, once and for all, help explain what we do for a living!
By the end of 2009, Brunel University had come to a crossroads with their flagship learning management system. Their options were clear; either, recommit to Blackboard, the owners of their WebCT virtual learning environment or, alternatively, migrate to an open source platform used by some institutions in the UK. I spoke with Alex Osmond, Project Manager of VLE Transition at Brunel University, to sift through their internal and external documentation and, most importantly, pick the brain of someone who was involved in one of the toughest decisions an e-Learning Department can face.
Guest post by Eric Kunnen, Director of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies, Grand Rapids Community College, and a member of the Ask Dr. C program, a free question and answer service for Blackboard users. Most faculty simply do not have time to learn costly, complex solutions for recording and distributing their lectures, but many tools can provide instructors with effective ways of redistributing classroom sessions and, ultimately, improve the learning experience for students. Typically, lecture capture utilities include a video of the computer screen and audio overlayed by the instructor. Occasionally, there is also video of the instructor or whiteboard/document camera which allows student to see what the faculty member is writing on the whiteboard or showing to the class through a video camera. Lecture capture tools on the market today include Tegrity, echo360, MediaSite, Accordent Capture Station, Camtasia Relay, and even some open source options like Panopto*.
This fall, Northern Arizona University will join a group of over 1500 institutions that have adopted Blackboard Learn 9.1 as their learning management system. In an effort to understand their decision a little better, we met up with Dan Stoffel, Assistant Director of the e-Learning Center at the Northern Arizona University, to talk about his institution’s migration, planning and participation in various upgrade programs. “We are ahead of schedule by a couple weeks [on our migration]. The University chose Blackboard in late fall of 2010 and since then, we’ve been moving quite quickly to get our courses migrated over to Learn, 9.1.” –Dan Stoffel, Northern Arizona University