Monday, February 28, 2011

Sandy Cook Talking Points

For Sandy's pending visit to BCTC (April 15), here are the talking points. . .

Topics Suggested
Scheduling of Online Courses
New Technologies
QA Rubrics
Profs Training
DL Peer Team Members Leadership
Student Orientation
Future DL at KCTCS
KCTCS Transformation Agenda
Innovation Center
Content Provider Seamless Content
Kentucky Learning Depot

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Online Training and New Instructors

Instructors who are new to online learning are required to complete training before and during their first semester of teaching at-a-distance. The training comes in two parts:
  1. Blackboard Overview. This training is provided by Connie Rine. For a full schedule of classes, click here. To reserve space in a session contact Connie.

  2. eMentors. The eMentor program pairs new online instructors with experienced online faculty members who provide guidance and answer questions.
Instructors who have any questions about this training or need help scheduling sessions or locating eMentors may contact Ben.

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011


    And what is KYVC? Is is a clearing house to online classes offered by state colleges and universities. The site allows students to locate online classes offered by any state college or university.

    Click here for directions for updating course information for your online classes in the KYVC Virtual Navigator. This only applies to classes offered in a BW mode, which means they are "online and open to all students." If you are unsure about your class's designation, ask your coordinator or check the Faculty Center in PeopleSoft and see if the "Instruction Mode" reads "Online and Open to All Students."

    Why do this? Many student all across the state use the KYVC Virtual Navigator to locate classes. You can give students a heads up about important components of your class such as required textbooks, use of proctored exams or the need for special software or equipment.

    KYVC's Ask a Question

    KYVC has implemented an “Ask a Question” approach where you can directly inquire at Using the “Ask a Question” email form will assure that your question is properly track and resolved quickly. Please use the “ask” link if questions arise at your college about courses not showing up, password reset questions, incorrect information, etc.

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Distance Learning Peer Team 2/16 Meeting

    Here are some highlights from today's KCTCS Distance Learning Peer Team Meeting. . .

    College Visits.  Sandy Cook will be paying BCTC a visit on April 15.  Sandy will be on hand to answer any questions/concerns you have about the state of online learning at KCTCS.

    Spring Retreat.  April 6-8 in Gateway.  Ben will be meeting with the other online learning directors from across the system.  Be sure to share with Ben any concerns you have about online learning and Blackboard.
    Spring Bb Start.  "Very, very rough start."  Indeed.  Main issues. . . (1) There are course removal issues including problems with deleting items from tests and surveys.  The bulk delete is also not working.   (2) Problems with course copies and broken links have also been identified.  Fixes are in the works.  Improvements were reported in service from the 24/7 Helpdesk (provided by Presidium) as well as fast turn around time for the bookstore (textbooks).

    Proctored Exams.  A reminder that BW classes (online and open across the entire system) should be limited to no more than two proctored exams per semester.  For most classes, I think one is sufficient.    Also, the exams should be submitted online (typically in Blackboard)--no faxing or scanning students notes, etc.  I think this is a reasonable request for BW classes.  It's another thing if we're talking about online classes offered locally.  I also learned about Tegrity's test proctoring service which allows for webcams to monitor students.  Tegrity is better know for lecture capturing.  It's $$$.  You can learn more about proctoring here:

    Pearson's MyLabs.  More plans are afoot for Pearson's MyLab to be initially avaialable to all KCTC students for a few weeks at the start of the semester.  This will give students time to pay for access while not interrupting that service.  I also heard about MyLabs Plus, a more robust version of MyLab.  There's also talk about making SoftChalk and Wimba Pronto more accessible to instructors, i.e. automatically available on workstations.

    Transformation Papers.  This will be a major topic for the Spring Retreat in April.  I will be sure to gather feedback via the Distance Learning Advisory Committee.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Bb Admin Update

    I regularly get updates from KCTC eLearning Services about Blackboard upgrades and status issues.  The link below will take you to the latest update that offers some insight into steps that have been taken to improve Blackboard funtionality and resolve some Bb problems.

    Withdrawing from Online Classes

    Directions for withdrawing from online classes appears on the college Web site
    Path: Academics/Distance Learning/AddDrop a class

    A couple key points:

    • BCTC students send withdrawal requests to a distribution list:
    • After Midterm, instructors must give permission.  This is done by sending an email to the student.  The student is responsible for forwarding the email to records.  Please use KCTCS email accounts.
    • Students use their home college to process these requests.

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    District Locker

    The District Locker is a great place to store content that can be viewed any where on the Internet.  The link below takes you to a short primer I put together on how to use the locker (as well as how to update SiteCore, which is the new BCTC Website)

    No Show Definitions

    No Show students can be dropped from online classes.  But how do we define a student as no show?  Here's how. . .

    Students in face-to-face classes are defined as “no show” if they fail to attend all class meetings. Students enrolled in online classes are defined as “no show” if they fail to access the Blackboard course shell. To verify that a student has never attended a class, instructors may check the “Last Access” column in the course gradebook (Bb/Control Panel/Grade Center/Full Grade Center).

    Students enrolled in hybrid classes are defined as “no show” if they both fail to access the Blackboard course shell and fail to attend all class meetings.