Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve Gift

My family has a tradition of opening one gift on Christmas Eve. From Blackboard this year we have the gift of our Vista CMS back up again. (Actually yesterday late morning).

You should be able to log into your Vista classes again now, using the same URL - (CE server uses the instructors url between terms, the exact link is in an old blog post.) If you see the BB screen instead of the Vista login screen try clearing your cache, deleting cookies, or a different browser.

Have a wonderful vacation!


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Leaving our troubles behind us....

Hi Everyone-

Blackboard has completed the upgrade to Vista and are now doing QA and adding our requested powerlinks! We think we may be past the most challenging parts of the upgrade now.

(Those are the Olypmic Mountains from a Seattle ferry a couple of weeks ago.)


Friday, December 22, 2006

Afternoon Update

Real progress has been made! We are two steps beyond the step the upgrade was bogging down on! More like this picture of our development now....

Happy Holidays!

Upgrade update

The good news is the county has been around our development and a neighbor has plowed out our driveway.

The other news is that the upgrade is still continuing very very very slowly. It is moving and BB product developers are writing scripts to increase the speed. Plan B (or is this W or X?) is for BB to bring in a huge team of developers and programmers beginning Tuesday to "take the code apart piece by piece" if that is what it takes.
Probably you shouldn't plan on working in your classes until the new year, but I'll let you know if things change.

Happy Holidays,


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Vista Upgrade Update

This is what Franktown looked like early this morning. My family is planning on being snowed in through Christmas. That's Joy on your left and my youngster, Carbon Copy, on the right. (For those of you who are horse people too, I apparently only buy chestnut mares. Just color me weird.)

Oh and the update on the upgrade... let's just say you probably shouldn't plan on working in Vista tomorrow or over the weekend. You might be able to get there next week, but I wouldn't make that my only option. I may have more news tomorrow, but as of late this afternoon the upgrade is moving very, very, very slowly. We will probably continue to run it rather than roll back to our initial version over the weekend, with a re-grouping planned for mid-next week if the whole thing grinds to a halt.

Happy Holidays everyone!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

This is the post where I send you the picture of all of us at the office in our Christmas attire. Unfortunately we were going to take that picture today......

Only your faithful IT staff made it to the office (David and Rick).

Many thanks to all of you for all of the hard work this semester, particularly for those of you teaching in Vista but also those of you teaching in CE, but with students who also had courses in Vista. (I think that is just about everyone). Everyone made it through the challenges of the semester with incredible grace. Believe me, those of us at the office really do appreciate that!

I hope you and yours have a special time together over the break. We will see you all back again next year!


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Overall Grades

Hi All-

Here's a note from John re grades in general:

And for some added fun, here is a quick summary of the total grades for
Fall: (when I have some time, I'll do a breakdown by section of this

Total Grades entered - 8,821
(does not count students withdrawn)
Percentage of "A" - 31.04%
Percentage of "B" - 19.79%
Percentage of "C" - 11.89%
Percentage of "D" - 4.16%
Percentage of "F" - 28.69%
Percentage of "I" - 0.58%
Percentage of "W" - N/A

Comparison to last Fall

Total enrollments - 9,223
(includes students withdrawn)
Percentage of "A" - 33.13%%
Percentage of "B" - 22.08%
Percentage of "C" - 12.19%
Percentage of "D" - 3.87%
Percentage of "F" - 18.03%%
Percentage of "I" - 0.40%
Percentage of "W" - 9.53%

It looks like last year many of the F's were awarded W's. That might be because the colleges were not able to process drops for non-payment this year. That's just speculation though. Interesting inverted bell-curve though. :^)

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Last Grades and Last Remarks to Students and Thank You

Hi All,

John Schmahl is providing reports on the grades that have been coming in. Thanks to each of you -- we all look forward to having the last cross the finish lines also! Please help us close the grades piece on this term!

Last, given what Lisa mentioned in the post before this one, please let your students
know the last date you'll be checking the course for their questions and their concerns regarding the final grades--

As she put it:
Students get an extra week of access to the course shells now (two weeks total) because the colleges prefer that and this was a decision we needed to make as a group. We do not expect you to check email, etc. for two weeks after classes end. Would you do me a favor though and post a note to your students letting them know the last day you will be checking the course shell. That is probably the day you plan on turning in grades, so no later than Thursday this week.

Please direct students to the student support form if they need to reach you after the last day you plan to access the course shell. The form is located at or the support center phone number is 1-800-801-5040.

Of course if you want to check on your course for the full two week period you are welcome to. :^)


Thank you again for all you have done to forward the learning of those who take courses through CCCOnline during the term of new implementations. Here's wishing you a great break.

All Best,


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

End of Term Request

Hi Everyone-

Students get an extra week of access to the course shells now (two weeks total) because the colleges prefer that and this was a decision we needed to make as a group. We do not expect you to check email, etc. for two weeks after classes end. Would you do me a favor though and post a note to your students letting them know the last day you will be checking the course shell. That is probably the day you plan on turning in grades, so no later than Thursday this week.

Please direct students to the student support form if they need to reach you after the last day you plan to access the course shell. The form is located at or the support center phone number is 1-800-801-5040.

Of course if you want to check on your course for the full two week period you are welcome to. :^)


Monday, December 11, 2006

Thanks! and a Scheduling Tip

Thanks to everyone who has already turned in grades! Student service staff (Roxanne, Deb, John, and Carol are 'happily' entering those grades into Banner.)

I know some of you are already thinking about the spring term, so here's my spring assignment due date tip of the week. Set your due dates and times during the week (M-F) and between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm. Why you ask? So your students have a place to call for technical support!

Deb Michel is available and manning the student support desk during those times. That way the student who waits until the last possible minute to submit an assignment, thus maximizing his or her chance of having technical difficulties can call Deb and get some help. And you won't have to read and respond to the same email you've read many times already asking for another day to get an assignment in because of those technical difficulties.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Entering Fall Grades

Dear CCCOnline Faculty;

As you may already know, because of the way in which Banner has been configured, you are not able to enter grades into Self-Service Banner. Therefore, we have set up a secured form for your use so that you can enter grades for your CCCOnline courses. To enter grades, please follow the directions at the bottom of this e-mail. I would also strongly recommend that you save a copy of your grade book from the course just in case. Also, I wanted to let you know a few key pieces of information about the entire grade process with banner that will impact all students (not just CCCOnline).

Once you have entered grades through this form, they will be manually entered into Banner for each college. However, students will not be able to view their grades through Banner until their home college “Rolls” grades to Banner Academic History. This is a process that each college must do before grades are viewable to students. All colleges plan to roll grades starting December 18, and will roll once a night through the end of the year. Therefore, you may hear from students who cannot view their grades yet, even though you have entered them. Please let the students know that grades should be viewable starting December 18. We will be sending an e-mail to all students letting them know this as well. Students will continue to have access to their online course through December 31 so they can view their final grade in the grade book if they are entered there. If you have any students who need an official grade sooner, they must contact their home college’s registrar’s office to have a transcript printed manually.

Finally, if you have any grade changes or incompletes, please complete the attached forms and send them to Roxanne Manske at or myself (at

I would also like to take a moment to thank all of you for your hard work and strong support this semester. It has been a great learning experience for all of us and I look forward to working (and learning) with you again next semester! Have a wonderful holiday season!

John H Schmahl
Director, Student Services

How to Enter Grades for Fall 2006 (200720)

- Go to:
If you get the “Security Alert” dialogue box, click “Yes” to proceed
- Enter your Username and Password
These are the same that you use to login to your online course(s)
- Click “Login”
- Select the course you wish to grade
If you do not see all of your CCCOnline courses, please contact
- Enter the appropriate grade for each student in the “Choose a New Grade” column, the listing of accepted grades is below
- If you enter a grade of “F” or “U/F”, you MUST enter a “Last Day of Attendance”
- When you have finished entering all grades for that course, be sure to verify the grades and then click “Update” at the bottom of the page.
Grades will appear in the “Grade” column
Last day of attendance will appear in the “Last Day of Attendance” column if applicable
The “Modified” column is the date/time stamp that the grade was last modified
- Click the “back” button on your browser to return to the listing of course(s) to select another course.
- When you have completed grading all courses, you can close the browser. You do not need to log out.

Listing of Acceptable Grade Symbols
For Standard Courses (those with a course number of 100 or greater

For Developmental Courses (those with a course number below 100)

Call for Telecoop Proposals Due December 14th

Telecoop Link

Greetings All,

Telecoop is a terrific conference. We do send a few faculty presenters each year, and presenting to peers is great professional development.

If you do apply and have a proposal accepted, please let us know :). I'm also open to questions during this very short timeline.



Thursday, December 07, 2006


I had an interesting question from an instructor/designer a few days ago about whether or not assessments should be standardized across sections of a course.

The policy side of the answer is that they don't need to be. We have standardized course outcomes, so the state has specified which outcomes you should assess, but not how. Alice comments:

The assessment needs to measure the level of learning about the subject matter as stated in the course competencies.
This could allow for differing assessments from course section to course section, as long as they are measuring the same outcome and the same level as indicated by the verb in the competency. (For example, if the verb is "demonstrate," a strict concept based multiple-choice task wouldn't cut it.)

We commonly use pooled questions on multiple choice exams, so even students within sections taking those exams are not evaluated based on exactly identical assessments, although they all face the same assessment method.

My instantaneous reaction to the question was that we would not want to require all faculty teaching the same class to use the same assessments, however I think we can make a case for some sharing of assessments (that isn't based on students complaining to me that their best friend in the other section has different/easier homework assignments). Good assessments are very difficult to design and most of us don't have a background in assessment design. If we share the development time we can all have better assessments without killing ourselves. We can also update the assessments or consider developing a few pools of assessments in order to avoid students sharing with each other in ways we don't feel are appropriate.

As usual in these discussions we end up trying to walk the line between sharing the workload and sharing the costs of development. :^)



Look for directions for turning in grades tomorrow afternoon. :^) We're down to the wire on this one, but we wanted to make it as painless as possible for all of you. Frank Vazquez has been working hard on a form for grade entry that is similar to what you've used in the past with Web4Faculty. He was testing today and will load courses and students tomorrow morning.

Grades will be due as usual by the Thursday after classes end -- that is one week from today. :^)

Thanks for all of your hard work!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Vista was down from 1:20 to 1:54 pm today

Hi All-

Apparently the rack housing us at BB hosting lost power today for about half an hour. More on why when I hear.


Monday, December 04, 2006

December Featured Faculty: Judy Meza

Editor's Note: Meet Spanish Faculty Judy Meza. As is our practice, we asked Judy to share her bio with us. Thanks, Judy :)

I never had to think too much about my future career. As a child, I would get my 4 younger sisters and brothers (my older sister would have no part of this) together and teach them whatever I was currently studying in school. Strangely, they were usually an attentive audience. My most beloved childhood possessions were my chalkboard and multi-colored chalk. Since then I have always been drawn to being part of a learning community, whether as a student or as a teacher (in both cases, you're learning).

I have always been fascinated by different cultures and languages. I began to study Spanish in elementary school and immediately it became my favorite subject. When I was 14, I spent six weeks in Spain with a summer abroad program, and my desire to travel and experience other cultures was ignited.

After finishing my BA, I continued my studies in Spanish language and literature, and this led me to spend a year in Spain, where I took classes at the University of Barcelona. During my time in Barcelona, I began teaching English in companies. After returning to the U.S., I earned a Master's Degree in Linguistics, and soon after completing it, I moved to Puerto Rico, where I taught English to college students and Spanish to Americans working there. Since that time, I have taught English and/or Spanish in Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, Houston and Denver. Since I moved to Colorado eight years ago, I’ve worked at Red Rocks Community College, Arapahoe CC, Metro, and for the past three years, CCC Online. I love teaching Spanish and sharing this passion with others. Teaching English gives me the opportunity to work with people from all over the world. Especially in the current political climate, I am thrilled and inspired to see students from all different cultures and religions bond in the classroom community and support and learn from each other—a microcosm of what would be nice to see happen on a grand scale.

For me, the key to a successful class lies in promoting a classroom atmosphere that is mutually respectful and supportive, one that is encouraging, engaging and fun, and one in which learning is as valuable an outcome as progress toward a degree.

I have to admit that, like many of you, I don’t have much free time these days. When I do, I enjoy taking online classes, reading, and spending time in the mountains. I would love to learn another language and to play a new musical instrument. Some day!
Below is a text of an email from Cindy Hesse on the loss of personnal data. I understand many of you were probably new hires in that time period because of the way the state submits information for bi-weekly payroll.


The company that contracts with the Colorado Dept. of Human Services for New Hire reporting and for Family Support Registry (the central registry for child support payments in Colorado) had a laptop stolen in October that contained records of all new hires reported for the previous 6-8 months. If you were hired by CCCS during this time frame, you may be receiving a letter regarding this incident. The information sent in to this company from Department of Personnel - Central Payroll Office is name, SSN, and date of birth. The report is created at central payroll for any new employees entered in to CPPS, our current payroll system. The reporting of this data is a federal requirement.

Human Services compiled a letter with information for all State employees who could be affected, and they should be sending it out shortly, if you haven't already received a letter. You may recall that there were several articles in both the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post when this happened back in October.

Please note that any of you potentially affected by this incident should monitor your credit information closely for at least the next year. I have been previously advised by police officers that often in these situations, the people who take this data with the intent of committing identity theft, will sit on the information for up to six months until the affected individuals and alerted credit agencies 'let their guard down'.

I would also advise you to file a report of stolen information with the credit agencies so that your information may be more closely monitored and in the event you have illegal activity under your identification, you will have an easier time correcting the problem.

As far as we know at this time, there have been no reported cases of identity theft from the theft of this computer.

If any new information becomes available regarding this situation, we will let you know as soon as possible.

Thank you and don't hesitate to call my office with any specific questions or concerns.

Cindy Hesse
Director of HR - CCCS


Planned Downtime for Vista

Hi Everyone -

Here's a note from David:


The upgrade to Application Pak1, SP1 is scheduled for Wednesday, December 20 at 12 AM. The maintenance window will proceed for an estimated 48 to 52 hours. There will be no access to Vista during this time or until the server is back online. There will be another maintenace window perhaps a week later, but I do not have a time on that. The second one is to backup the data for us. All of this is planned for after the end of term and at a time of least activity. The students will continue to have access to their courses until two weeks after the end of the term. I will put up a notice to all users about the Dec. 20 maintenance window at the beginning of that week and also again when needed possibly the following week.

David Chatham
I kind of doubt many of you were planning on spending a lot of time online those days, but just in case....

When you come back in January we may be on Application Pack 1, which is actually nice because we get some interesting features out of that including the new rubric grading tool and goals page. Phyllis and Sharon are working on developing some training on new features for all of us.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Finishing the Term, Planning for the Next

Hi All,

This link provides information for bringing closure within your course, handling incompletes, and saving the gradebook:

Ending the Term

You May also want to consider communication tools and adding RSS feeds like those just posted at CCCOnline Faculty Source:

CCCOnline Faculty Source
(A link to this blog can also be seen under Links at the right.)

And that includes your own professional development. To that end, please check out new and ongoing Training Sessions for 2007:

2007 Training

The end of term and traininglinks have been saved in under the tag CCCOnlineFaculty.

To add links you would like to share, logon at delicious as user: ccconlinefaculty and with password: ccconline2006 (lower case, no spaces).

Thanks again for all you are doing. Here's wishing you a smooth end of term.

All Best,