Blackboard, SunGard and rSmart : A Client’s Take on Support, Oh My.

“Support” in the context of this posting is that service for which a client contracts that includes a way to report issues to a vendor such that the vendor is expected to respond with a resolution. That’s just basic, right? Unfortunately with technology vendors the evaluation of which vendor to choose for ones initial purchase is so complex that it can not and does not include an evaluation of the structures and process the vendor has in place to provide that support. This leads to wide disparity among technology vendors as to how they resource support and what they think … Continue reading Blackboard, SunGard and rSmart : A Client’s Take on Support, Oh My.

Pithy Truisms on Blackboard Vista and Chat and Wimba under SSL

Those who’ve followed, referenced or read this blog for any length of time know that my posts follow my thoughts – one day pondering the ineffable, another day contemplating market changes in the LMS space, and the very next mired in the nuts and bolts of maintaining one of those systems. Today is one of those days. Maybe these observations will help someone else, at least they’ll be breadcrumbs for me. So far, in the last week on Bb Vista 8.0.5 I have confirmed these things: Blackboard Collaborate/former Wimba changed out the cert at our site, https://notredamevoice.wimba.com/ on April 14th … Continue reading Pithy Truisms on Blackboard Vista and Chat and Wimba under SSL

Emails to Faculty: Are they read?

Here’s an example of an email I sent last week: From: Laura Gekeler Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2011 12:51 PMTo: ‘concourse@listserv.nd.edu’Subject: Service maintenance on Concourse Good Afternoon All, I wouldn’t expect this information to be of great importance to many of you, nor to your students -given that it’s the Sunday before spring break, but it’s my duty to tell you. So I will. 😉 This Sunday, March 13th, from 5am to 11am,  yours truly will be awake, alert and patching the Concourse application. Those of you wishing to rise early, forego family, spiritual or meditative activities, and login to … Continue reading Emails to Faculty: Are they read?

Is it a project or a relationship or a language?

My ‘seat’ at the table of higher ed is smack dab in the middle of the IT service organization. We build stuff and keep the lights on, and oh, also support the Academy. Every month we start new projects. Every month we end projects. Most of our thought is project-based. On the walls around here are posters of our most recent project process revision, representing how to do projects better than the way we did them before. Although it’s great to have more definition of what it takes to get a new project out the door, I don’t like the … Continue reading Is it a project or a relationship or a language?

Transitioning platforms in support of teaching and learning… new LMS anyone?

I was reading up on Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania this morning, starting with an article about loaning out iPads in a business class, but also mentioning their legacy “LMS” platform called webCafe (cool name, don’t you think?). Unlike the rest of the University of Pennslyvania, since 1998, the Wharton School has used the eRoom business-based document sharing software package customized with some 3rd party tools like Cogix ViewsFlash survey software and the Questionmark Perception assessment platform. Undoubtedly these were chosen individually as best of breed at the time. But, like many of the rest of us, Wharton … Continue reading Transitioning platforms in support of teaching and learning… new LMS anyone?

How my work might change: support again

(How my work might change if Notre Dame chose Sakai as its next LMS) I posted our current and future hypothetical support structures back on October 12th. I’m still ruminating on it. I’m still ruminating mainly because the current support structure is not sustainable. More users, same amount of support? Greater diversity of needs met, same amount of support? Continually increasing interfaces to other systems, same amount of support? The upticks in the past 6 years have been gradual and mostly, but not completely, absorbable. For example, we’ve quietly added iTunes U, but don’t really market it. And there exists … Continue reading How my work might change: support again

Random Error in Assessments containing Paragraph style questions

This is a screen capture (Thanks to Andy Freed of Portland Community College) of a quiz. In the left frame are the quiz questions and the ‘Save Answer” button after each. We always recommend to students that they save each answer as they progress through the test. In the right hand frame a student normally sees green checks appear for every question they’ve answered and saved. In this screen capture taken after a student has answered a paragraph style question (not a short answer style, but a paragraph style), an error condition is noted.   This bug doesn’t happen all … Continue reading Random Error in Assessments containing Paragraph style questions