Quality Matters and Instructional Design

Interested in learning more about online/blended instructional design?  Want to get more involved in Quality Matters at Tri-C?  Check out our two new pages:

Instructional design is a critical part of a quality learning experience in an online or blended learning environment.  On the instructional design page, find links to the Faculty Instructional Design Toolkit, sample rubrics, and more!  On the Quality Matters page, learn about QM at Tri-C.  We’ll be having an “Applying the Quality Matters Rubric” workshop later this spring, so stay tuned!

Are you a QM certified faculty member who would like to have their course reviewed this Spring?  Contact Sasha Thackaberry at Sasha.Thackaberry@tri-c.edu, and we’ll get that started!


What’s New In Blackboard SP14!

We are now running Service Pack 14 on Blackboard Learn.  Here are some of the new features that are available to faculty and students.

  • Faculty and Students can view Course Messages notifications on the Update page of the Global navigation menu, or via email. Use this link to view and modify your Notifications settings.course messages recieved
  • Faculty can adjust the uppermost value on Grading Schema. schema_mapping                             and,
  • Students can re-order items in My Grades and sort the display by due date and last activity.                             my_grades_sp14

Have questions?  Drop us an email at eLifacultysupport@tri-c.edu and we will be happy to answer your question.

We are working on improved Blackboard mobile functionality so watch the blog for more updates!


The Spring 2015 Blackboard and Adobe Connect Updates are ready!

The Office of eLearning & Innovation and ITS will be applying updates to Adobe Connect on Wednesday, December 17 and to Blackboard on Thursday, December 18th.

Adobe Connect will be unavailable between 5:00-6:30am on Wednesday, December 17.

Blackboard will be unavailable between 4:00-7:00am on Thursday, December 18.

After the updates, both systems will offer users some new and enhanced features. These include new ways to interact with publisher content in Blackboard, improved video and screen sharing in Adobe Connect, enhanced mobile functionality in Blackboard, and streamlined performance in both systems for the Spring 2015 semester.

Watch this blog for further information about these new and improved features!

Downselect Results – Which LMSs are still in the running?

LMS Review LogoNow (drumroll) – the results of the LMS Review downselect (we started with 5 systems and are down to 3 systems)!  We have officially come to consensus. We are moving ahead with Blackboard, Canvas and Desire2Learn/Brightspace.

I am thrilled to report that all full-time faculty Taskforce members weighed in.  Keeping the process focused on learning and teaching is the name of the game!  

Interested in the “official” consensus tally?  Find the results here:  https://breeze.tri-c.edu/downselect/.  Interested in knowing who is on the Taskforce?  Find that list here:  https://breeze.tri-c.edu/lmsreview_taskforce_membership/.  Want a video overview of the process?  Check that out here.

Want to look at the consensus tool we’ve used?  Find that here:  https://breeze.tri-c.edu/consensustool/.

What’s next?

Now, we’ll be entering the “Sandbox Phase”.  This means that the Taskforce and an additional 20 volunteer faculty will actually go into Blackboard, Canvas and Desire2Learn/Brightspace and “play” – testing out functionality.  In March, we will make our formal recommendation, based both on discussions of learning and teaching advantages, Tri-C culture, and the rubric results.  (The rubric is a tool in our process, not the decision).

How can you help?  How can you get involved?

  1. “Follow” the eLearning and Innovation blog for all LMS-related updates.
  2. Help us get the word out and avoid miscommunication!  Send other faculty, staff and students to the blog for accurate information.
  3. Check out the systems yourself!  We have vendor demos on the blog.
  4. Respond to our feedback form, which is always up:  http://elearningandinnovation.com/lms-review/focus-group-dates-times/.

We have been working on the LMS Review since January of 2013.  The full Taskforce was convened in May 2013.  Find all our meeting notes and working information here:  http://elearningandinnovation.com/lms-review/lms-process-and-documents/. What assumptions did we start with?  I’m glad you asked!  Find them here, or below.

There are several assumptions that are guiding the investigation into a possible new LMS implementation at Tri-C.  They are:

  1. The current LMS (Blackboard) may or may not be the best institutional fit for an LMS.  This can only be determined by a review of all feasible LMSs.
  2. There will not be an LMS that matches perfectly with the college’s needs.
  3. Only with a thorough review of enterprise-level LMSs can we determine what the best institutional fit for the needs of students, faculty, and staff will be.
  4. The process must be inclusive.  All are encouraged to participate and provide feedback as we conduct a needs analysis, prioritize our needs, and implement a rubric-based selection process.

This process is working well because it is participatory and transparent.  If you ever have questions, I am happy to answer them personally:) – Sasha.Thackaberry at Tri-C.edu.

Help Celebrate National Distance Learning Week

Did you know that it is National Distance Learning Week?  There are free professional development sessions galore – find links to webinars below from some great organizations like the Online Learning Consortium (OLC – formerly SLOAN-C), Quality Matters, Pearson and other publishers and colleges.

Check out this GREAT timeline that one of my students – Victoria Reed – created this past summer in my course at Kent State University.  (Also, this is a prime example of how student-generated content can be reused.  With permission of course!)history of distance learning timeline graphic - Valerie Reed

But let’s take a trip back in time.  Contemporary online learning was really born in the early to mid-1990’s, though it’s been going on with available technology far before that.  eLearning is no longer an add on to traditional education, or even a separate entity – it is embedded in education at all levels.  With 25 – 30% of public universities and community college enrollments from online and hybrid/blended courses nationally (Tri-C’s figure is 30% of FTE is from online and blended courses), new available technology and pedagogical focus areas are gaining traction including competency-based education, Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and integrated MOOC models (LOOCs, SPOCs, etc.), the use of game mechanics or gamification in college environments, adaptive learning and new social pedagogies  (i.e. connectivism, etc.).

The below Softchalk illustrates some developments in distance learning throughout history.  


Check out these great (and mainly free) PD opportunities:

Updated LMS Review Timeline & eLearning by the Numbers

We have extended our timeline for the LMS review selection.  Find that new timeline here:  http://elearningandinnovation.com/lms-review/.  Scroll down just a little (you can expand the timeline to full screen).

Also, did you know that students who take one or more online or blended class graduate in greater percentages than those that do not?  And that the trend is increasing over time?  Find that data and more here:  https://breeze.tri-c.edu/elearningbythenumbers/

Thanks for following us!  Encourage other faculty to do the same to keep everyone up to date on our new LMS selection (or Blackboard hosted).


Learn how to use ShareStream to get the most out of video and audio in Blackboard!


Come to the Open Lab and give ShareStream a try! ShareStream is a streaming media management solution.  It gives faculty the ability to place video into Blackboard without assistance, and without taking up tons of space.There were two ShareStream Quick Start Open labs this summer. The fall Open Lab is scheduled for November 12th at 2:00 pm in room 153 of the Metro Campus TLC.  Bring your video, (flv, swf, m4v, mov) and audio files, (wma, mp4, mp3, avi) so you can practice loading them!  Register in InSight today! See you there!

How Do You Find Help and Where? – Blackboard wants to know!

The Blackboard User Experience (UX) team is conducting a user research study to redesign and help improve the way you find help for all Blackboard products. After conducting the survey, you may be contacted directly for a more in depth focus group or interview.

Who do they want to hear from? Faculty and Students!

What are they asking you to do? Click on this link, or copy into your browser: https://bbuxresearch.wufoo.com/forms/survey-getting-help/

When can you participate? The survey will remain open for one week, and will close on Thursday, November 6th COB.

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