LMS Decision SOON!

What has been going on with the LMS Review?  Great question!  We are currently in the sandboxing process.  That means the nearly 40 member Taskforce and an additional 24 faculty are in all three potential systems, trying out features, interacting in courses, and testing.  These three systems are Blackboard, Canvas and D2L/Brightspace.

What’s next?  On Thursday, February 26th the Taskforce will make a recommendation for a system.  That recommendation will then proceed through the internal committee process for funding – the Technology Governance Steering Committee is involved, then a Board committee, and finally it will be presented for Board approval in the March 26th meeting.

Questions?  Contact your campus faculty communication contact:

  • West – Professor John Kerezy
  • Westshore – Professor Matt Piero
  • Metro – Professor Pat Stansberry
  • East – Professor Angela Mensah

All meeting minutes and info is posted on this blog.  Click on the LMS Review tab in the upper right-hand corner, or hover over it to see the subpages.

Thanks! – Sasha

Over 70% of CAOs Say Online Learning is Critical to Their Long-Term Strategy

The new Babson Study – Tracking Online Education in the United States, indicates that over 70% of Chief Academic Officers say online learning is critical to their long-term strategy.  Even more, 74.1%, rated learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to face-to-face courses.

Online is still growing at a much greater rate than face-to-face college enrollments.  There was a 3.7% increase in the number of distance education students, which accounts for almost 75% of all enrollment growth in higher education in the US.  That includes in the average a 7.9% decrease in online enrollments at for profit colleges.  At public colleges, the percentage of growth is even higher – 4.6%.

What concerns remain?  Only 28% of academic leaders believe that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy” of online education.

Retention and success metrics remain a persistent challenge, though many studies including the US DOE’s own research, has concluded that online courses are as effective as face-to-face courses.  Community College students face specific challenges in online courses, with retention rates lower across the board.

Tri-C students who take one or more online course graduate in greater percentages than those who do not, a trend that has been widening over the past few years.

Find the full Babson report here:  http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/read/survey-reports-2014/

Find the accompanying infographic here:  http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/report/2014SurveyInfo.pdf

Are Your Students Ready for Online – Take This Survey!

Are you a faculty member at Tri-C?  We want to hear from you about your needs regarding preparing students for success in online and blended classes.  Take this SHORT, 9 minute survey to help us help your students before 11:59 PM on Monday, February 9!


This survey asks if you feel your students are prepared to take online and blended courses, if you would like an optional assessment that you could use in your Blackboard class, and if you feel that short, self-graded lessons on success skills for online learning would be helpful to prepare students.

We will be using these results to plan for new resources for student success online, so we want to hear from you!  30% of Tri-C’s FTE comes from online and blended classes, and over 2/3 of all Tri-C students are in Blackboard every semester, so student preparation for learning in a digital world is crucial for retention and graduation!

We want to hear from you! – Sasha


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).


cuyahoga community college


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