NERCOMP: Bb Conf Sessions

NERCOMP Blackboard Sig Conference at Holy Cross College
Session 1:
Vincent Ialenti, Ed.D., Assistant Dean, Distance Learning and Instructional Technology, Mount Wachusett Community College
Don Westover, Director of Instructional Design, Mount Wachusett Community College
23,000 user accounts (bb course for every CRN) 6,000 course shells for their Bb resources
They have had a long history, sometimes disastrous, of implementing CMSs, but after some major meltdowns they have almost convinced their faculty to be prepared for anything, anytime. A good model!
Moving to 9 this summer.
Best advice: convince faculty to use base 100 for grades. for their Bb resources
Session 2:
Eric LePage, Director of the Teaching and Technology Center, Bridgewater State College
After using Moodle as well as Bb he decided to change the look and feel of his courses: top page is the “Course Content” page, 4 items in left menu: Course # Central, Group Projects, E-mail, MyGrades. The top page has a first item which is a banner, then the rest is divided by weeks (folders). Each week has items: readings, link to discussion forum for week, info on quizzes, quiz link. He moves the banner from week to week so that the current week is above the banner – cute, if your course is a week-by-week kind of course. So, this is a simplified menu, like ours, but he takes it one step further and links the content area as the top page instead of announcements (announcements are tied into each weekly module. (Hey, this was what I did for the blogs&wikis course so of course I like the idea.)
The course name banner is a bit odd being out of place, so how about a banner that says : (an arrow) Current week, (down arrow) Past Weeks. He showed: TED (, high quality sharable video and it provides the code, both object and embed to make browsers happy, that you can easily paste
into an item in Bb), teachertube, odeo (audio content). Paste the code into HTML view of Bb text editor.
RSS News feeds (into Bb, not out of it): (“finding RSS feeds is like playing Where’s Waldo!”) find and copy the feed link. See, also
Paste in a feed URL, generates the code which can be pasted into Bb text window (in HTML view).
Session 3:
An Innovative Professional Development Program for Teaching Online
Nancy Curll, M.Ed., Instructional Designer, Middlesex Interactive
Matthew Olson, Ed.D., Director of Middlesex Interactive, Middlesex Community College
The college offers 8 degree programs online. 100 instructors/courses per semester. OCD trains 10-12 per semester.
Their Online Course Development program (OCD, like our TEO) is “rooted in social constructivist theory, revised each year to include new pedagogies, strategies, and technologies.”
OCD course: 20 hours, hybrid, 2.5 hrs each Friday for 8 weeks, cohorts of 4-10, co-taught with other online faculty, librarians, and tech support. Contractual obligations to pay faculty for course development.
The final product at the end of the course is quite comprehensive: a syllabus, a completion schedule, unit structure with outcomes, 5 weeks of course work, a major summative assessment. (They’ve had some deans
go through the program as well.)
They also offer workshops on additional topics to build out courses from the basic content: podcasting, etc.
Process and ideas for OCD (TEO!) course:
* Ask: how do you conceptualize your course, then find and point out the tools that work for that.
* Have them build online learning activities that have assessment tied to them.
* Try to weave in a little how to with every unit.
* Ask other faculty to provide examples for new faculty to see (they have links to 6 others). (Example, one course has a “What we’re doing this week” and a “Tips to manage this week” which offers a day-to-day
to do list.)
* They also have a large collection of activities that other faculty have shared. They work on making a thoughtful and explicit connection from instructional objectives to assessment with these activities as well as considering kinesthetic and other non-standard ideas. (Bloom, learning taxonomy)
* Include sample rubrics
* Consider asking the library research staff to build some resource collections of instructional technology links, etc., for us (like they do for other courses)
* Their faculty have access to the OCD course for one year after completion
* They offer a “Blackboard dinner” for instructors to share best ideas and demonstrate new ideas
* Interested parties can “audit” OCD as a refresher account
* Consider doing Master Classes for experienced instructors
* Consider offering an IT Faculty Fellow (stipended to help us do what we do)
Their OCD course offers much food for thought for not only TEO but for materials we might develop for support our faculty!
Afternoon sessions:
Session 4:
Donna Jones, Pedagogical Solutions Engineer, Blackboard Inc.
Bb tools mapped to Chickering 7:
1) encourage contact: announcements (“Monday morning memo”), notifications (new in 9), calendar, discussion, journals, e-mail, grade center (9: can give feedback by clicking on a grade, can display up to fifty students at a time), syllabus, chat
2) develop reciprocity: peer assessment, peer review discussion, email, blogs, groups (includes self-enroll option), ( learn how to group your students to mix it up), scholar, chat
3) active learning: adaptive release (9 defines it more like what we had expected with 8), assignments, discussion, chat, learning units (she recommends we use this more)
4) Feedback: grade center, assignment, early warning system (a positive way also: ex: send congrats to students who got a 90 or better), graded discussion, peer review
5) emphasize time on task:
6) communicate high expectations: reports, safeassign, syllabus
7) diverse learning:
Session 5:
Donna Jones, Pedagogical Solutions Engineer, Blackboard Inc.
How do we know what students are learning? how do we prove it (cf. No Child Left Behind)?
We have to be accountable to more outside agencies, as well as to potential students. Also, students need new skills and we have to show they are learning them: teamwork, critical thinking etc.
Continuous improvement: 8% of institutions surveyed report they have achieved full implementation of outcome assessment. She thinks this number is higher than reality.
Can Blackboard help measure this? well…buy now…
Outcomes System: a massive admin system for pulling together assessment information from courses and assessing them at the institutional level (must have community system and content system in addition to learning system)
* Course Objectives: reports, modify, remove. Make alignments from any objective to external standards – other institutions or state, accrediting, etc.
* Rubrics
* Artifact Templates: ex: collecting final lab report from a particular course
* and more
At the Department level:
even more: improvement projects, improvement initiatives, unit standards. For example, you can manage taking artifacts collected in the  Artifact Templates from above and align with rubric: how well are
students doing? Then have evaluators rate them against the rubric.
Evaluations go back into the system from which reports can be generated.
At the institutional level:
Continue the process, building all the way to the institution.
At the national or global level:
Keep thousands of people employed and improve Blackboard’s bottom line.

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