Tidbits, Resources, and Discussion for ELI Faculty

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Technology Wishes

As you all know, Sue Picard joined the ELI Staff Monday as our new Coordinator of ELI Technology Development. Part of her job at ELI is to help us explore new technologies that meet our instructional needs, wishes, and crazy dreams.

What are the things you wish you could do, technology-wise, that Sue could help us research?


Don Gregory said...

The single most important technological need, I believe, is for Blackboard to sync with the SIS in removing as well as enrolling students. At the beginning of each enrollment period, many of us spend hours doing this manually. The VCCS knows about this issue, says it can be done, but also says that it is too complex to work on at this time-- at least that's the way I understand it. This is obviously not a local issue, but perhaps Sue can help us persuade the VCCS on this urgent matter.

Jennifer Lerner said...

I have to admit that even though this is crucial to the work we all do as teachers (I count myself in here since I still teach and do the same thing you have to do each time--albeit with a lot fewer students!), I do not have high hopes for the VCCS getting to this soon. Given the move to Google Apps for students this fall, the move to BB8 this fall/spring, and I'm sure other projects in the works, I doubt this will be high priority.

Nonetheless, it will be good for Sue to know it's an issue so she can raise it when she has the opportunity. Also, this year I am NOVA's representative on the DDLC (the Distance and Distributed Learning Committee of the VCCS), and I will try to push it forward through that venue.

Laura said...

Oh NO, Don! having students automatically REMOVED could become a disaster if those students had submitted any work and then re-enroll in the course. Often students are dropped without their intention for late tuition payment and then remedy that and are re-enrolled. If they were removed from the course sites any work they'd already done would vanish. BUT, how about making it so the Bb would automatically make the site UNAVAILABLE to dropped, withdrawn or students who are otherwise graded out of the course? Now THAT would be helpful.

Jennifer Lerner said...

Laura, that's an interesting point. In general, it should not be a problem, because a student should be dropped for non-payment the day after they register and it is unlikely that they would have done any work in that time. However, we do sometimes have problems and delays with the enrollment cancellation process, and it is possible that a student could therefore be in the class for several days and start work before being dropped. (This would only be a factor after the semester began and the course is actually available for students.) I suppose this could also become a problem if a student does an assignment or two and then drops herself; if she was then dropped from BB, we would lose her work.

I am going to ask Michelle Gee to respond to this issue. Michelle, if we had this automatic removal of students set up in the future, is there any Blackboard backup that would allow us to restore a student's work if there was some error and the student needed to be reinstated?

Michelle Gee said...

The VCCS runs an archive of all of the active courses on Bb once a week. That is the only thing available to restore a course unless the faculty member has a more-recent archive. If the VCCS archive was from the day before, then that could be a way to get someone's work back if they were removed from the course. If the archive was any older than that, say four days, then that wouldn't be a good option because other students' work could be lost.

To respond to Laura's suggestion, I would think that the VCCS could setup the integration (assuming that we eventually do get integration between Bb and PS) so that a student that drops or withdraws is set as unavailable in a course instead of removing him. This is what alot of faculty members manually do now when students have not completed enough work to stay in the course.