Yesterday, I went to Charlottesville to attend this year's first meeting of the DDLC (the VCCS's Distance and Distributed Learning Committee). This committee plays an advisory role to ASAC (the VCCS committee made up of vice presidents and provosts) on distance learning and related issues. I have a few interesting tidbits to share with you from that meeting.
First, several of you have asked me since I've come on board at ELI about when we will have fuller integration between Blackboard and SIS. The key goal here is that students who dropped in PeopleSoft would be dropped from your Blackboard site. This makes your site management easier and avoids you having to make students who have been dropped inactive. It would mean that without any extra work from you, students (at least in courses that use Blackboard for their work) would know right away that they are no longer enrolled.
I asked about this at the DDLC meeting. There were many nods around the table--those of you asking for this at NOVA are not alone! The VCCS's head of all things Blackboard explained to me that they have been working on this at various times since we went to Blackboard 5. Apparently, each time there have been various exceptions that have caused enough problems to stop the process. (For example, at some colleges, some faculty combine multiple classes into one Blackboard site that cannot be combined in PeopleSoft because of workload implications.) He rightly noted that this is the kind of thing that can easily get pushed aside when a barrier comes up.
However, the group felt that now is a good time to revisit this issue and figure out how we can move past these problems so that most Blackboard users, who do want this function, can finally have it. The DDLC chair will convene a sub-committee to move us forward on this integration this year (exploring what the problems/issues are and identifying solutions). Stay tuned!