Monday, April 30, 2007

Vista Next Steps Training Opportunities

Do you want to learn what more is available to help you facilitate your Vista courses? There’s a whole ‘nuther world of Vista tools out there accessible through the Build tab and many additional functions to learn in the Teach tab. You can enhance your knowledge and skills by taking Next Steps with Vista!

Workshop Topics:

  • Gradebook

  • Discussions tool

  • Assessments tool

  • Assignments tool

  • File Manager, file editing

  • Learning modules

  • Web links

  • Selective release options

  • Tech Talk and Teaching Tips

  • And, more!

If you have a specific problem area, bring your questions for class discussion, as we all learn from the experiences of others! This course is specifically designed for those instructors who have been teaching in Vista for one or two semesters.

What You Will Get:

  • Instructions on using Vista Discussion Tools.

  • User Guides on the tools

  • A forum for discussing Vista tool problems.

Sign up Today for May, August, or September Offerings!

What: Vista Next Steps -- CCCOnline training workshop

Format: Facilitated and self-paced. Be expected to spend at least an hour a day or more in this workshop. You will be expected to complete a series of tasks within the session time frame.

Where: All Online

When: May 14-25; August 13-24; September 10-21

How: Register at

For more information:

Friday, April 27, 2007

3.5 Minute Video on RSS Feeds

I saw a link to this video about RSS Feeds today by Lee Lefever of The Common Craft Show Blog. What do you think of it info-wise and as instructional video? Let us know below :). Best, Alice

There are two types of Internet users, those that use RSS and those that don't. This video is for the people who could save time using RSS, but don't know where to start.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

In honor summer that isn't

Maybe it's the weather -- summer one day, then snowing today -- but I thought today was a good day to let you know about some long term projects we are working on.

24/7 help desk

This project belongs to the Learning Technology Council, rather than just CCCOnline alone. We've looked into hiring a vendor to help us provide 24/7 help desk services to students having technical difficulties in their online, hybrid, or web-enhanced courses. As a part of this project Rebecca Woulfe of Red Rocks Coommunity College recently surveyed all 8,000 students who dropped a course this semester. Approximately 8% of them said they dropped the course due to technical difficulties.

I have to admit that number was a surprise to me. I expected it to be much larger. It is still large enough to support our desire to provide a 24/7 help desk, but I wanted to solve a bigger problem. :^)

Application Pack 2 Beta test

CCCOnline, ACC, and FRCC are participating directly in the beta test of Application Pack 2 for Vista. This application pack is planned for an early summer release although in all probability we won't be able to install it until the Christmas Break. Since we are heavily involved in the testing of the ap pack we will feel more confident that it will solve some of our problems with Vista and not create too many new ones.

Unfortunately the ap pack does not have fixes to all of the issues we have with Vista (the calendar tool for example and who's online).

System-wide Conferenceing software license

As many of you know FRCC has a license for Elluminate, a web-based conferencing tool. Several of you have asked if CCCOnline will ever have a license of our own to use. The Learning Technology Council is also interested in a system-wide license for a tool like this, so we are going forward looking at the options available. Meanwhile Elluminate's free Vroom is a great alternative for small groups.

Grade Export Program

This program would grab the final grades you enter in Vista and automatically move them to Banner. You would no longer need to do dual entry. The scripts are almost written, but the project has slowed down due to limitations on programmer time.

I'm sure we have other "three steps forward, two steps back" projects out there, but I think those are the ones I get the most questions on. :^)


Monday, April 23, 2007

Bringing Closure to Spring Term - May 6th

The last day class activity for spring term is May 6th. The list of suggestions below is drawn from the CCCOnline website under the Faculty tab, with a few updates:

Ways to Bring Closure to the Term with Students

• Learners may be tired; encourage students to persist to a strong finish.
• Provide a reflective learning and suggestion discussion thread.
• Provide a “saying our good-byes” community thread.
• Have Learners Review Their Progress to Date-An end-of-Term learner-directed exercise at this time is to ask the learner to pull down the various grading requirements for the term and tally their own grade books against the assignments and categories and the syllabus and communicate with you if there are any variations.
• Post course grades in the course grade books before they are officially due, inviting learners to review and ask questions before grades are officially submitted.
• Submit grades through email link like last term: Student Services will send an email with directions to faculty.
• Submit course grades by Thursday, May 10th, 5 pm.

Early Grades for Graduates

You may have a few requests from learners for early final grades—this is due to a few campuses asking for grade submissions for graduation purposes. These can be sent to

In addition to the grade, please include the course title, number, section, your name, and the learner’s name as an attachment (FERPA).

Issuing an “Incomplete”

Faculty may agree (not required) to granting an “I” if a learner only if a learner has completed a minimum of 75% of the course work at a “C” or better. IMPORTANT: The Incomplete form located in your faculty lounge needs to be submitted to CCCOnline Registrar at the time the “I” is filed. A copy should also be sent to the learner.

While land-based schools allow up to one year to complete coursework, CCCOnline students will only have one term access to the online course. Having the learner commit to a shorter timeline can encourage finishing the course.

Alternative to the “I”

An alternative to the “I” is to tell the learner that you will assign the grade earned to date, but that would agree to accept assignments after the term, and then file a change of grade as appropriate. Once again, the specifics should be in writing, and sent to the learner. In this case, it would also be advisable to send a copy to the chair in case any questions arise. The benefit of this decision is that it brings closure to the term gradebook.

Looking Ahead to Next Semester

Making Notes, Saving Posts: How do we use what we’ve learned towards next term?Stephen Brookfield (1995) and Pratt and Paloff (1999) all note the value of using what we’ve learned to actively inform our practice, and Angelo and Cross (1993) also note that a part of assessment and evaluation is to use that feedback to improve instruction.

While the course experience is still fresh, jot down notes on what you might want to change based on student feedback as well as your own sense of how the course went. It might include screen edits (and you could save those pages), thoughts about revisions to assignments, tweaking assignment directions, revising rubrics to more clearly indicate what you assign points to and how that it observable in the learner’s submission, thoughts about how to improve content or interactivity. It might include policy changes, like allowing the learner to skip a discussion or take a late quiz or assignment of their choice, thus decreasing the negotiations that are required between you and the learner.

Others also choose to select and compile all the first discussion posts they create to announce a given discussion topic and the instructions for posting to it. Such a file is sometimes stored in the course info files in the shell for easy referral the next term.

Downloading and Saving the Gradebook
Download and save a copy of your gradebook to your desktop to answer student grade- questions that might come up at a later date.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Vista was down this morning 6:15 through 7:45

Here's what I have from Melissa Burke, Director of ASP Hosting with BB:

Lisa –

I am working with the DBA group to get specifics and the information you requested in your last email. We will certainly issue a root cause analysis (RCA) report to you and cover the topic of how we plan to avoid this type of issue in the future.

In summary, the archive logging ran out of space. While a temporary solution was put into place, some downtime will be needed to completely alleviate the situation. We are working on an estimate for that now and Larry is trying to schedule this during the normal maintenance window. The splash page did not display as the webserver component of the application was still running.

It looks like the system went down shortly after 8:15 eastern and came back at about 9:45 eastern.


As soon as I know more I will pass it on.


Thursday, April 19, 2007


Hi Everyone-

Rhonda and I had an interesting conversation last night with Steve Rheinschmidt and Gretchen Bartelson of The Iowa Community College Consortium. They have begun looking seriously at the student data they have from their LMS (eCollege) and tying the data to retention and student success. Steve indicated the best early predictor of student success seems to be the amount of time a student spends in the LMS the first week of classes -- if the student spends more than 7 hours they will be successful; less than 7 hours they tend to need help.

Iowa has very generous drop add policies the first week of classes, so the student population in the classes is not particularly stable. That of course makes it hard to really begin to dig into the course material the first week, so they are concentrating on developing/promoting community building activities that grab the students and keep them in the class.

Steve also commented that students who use the discussion tool more than average tend to be successful students and that students who use them email tool more than average tend not to be successful. I bet that is about your experience also. :^)

We are planning to start looking at the data we can get from Vista and from Banner soon -- as soon as we have time.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Study Mate Workshop: April 23 - 27

“Alex, I’ll take Interactivies for 200”
“The answer is…a nine letter word that starts with S.”

What is StudyMate?
Correct you are!

Want to add some zip to your course? How about some fun activities to help your students through rough concepts or vocabulary? Try StudyMate! This program will help you create 10 different games and activities that you can upload into your online course.

What you will get:
• Instructions to download and install the program on your computer.
• An electronic user manual to keep on your computer desktop.
• Instruction and practice creating the interactivities including Fact Cards, Flash Cards, Crossword puzzles, Challenge games and more.
• Instructions for uploading your files into your Vista course.

What: StudyMate -- CCCOnline training workshop
Format: Self-paced with facilitator guide
Where: All Online
When: April 23-27
How: Register at
For more information:

Friday, April 13, 2007


This year the Learning Technology Council (DL folks from all of the colleges nominated CCCOnline's Academic Technology Team for the Technology Support Person of the Year. Above you see Jonathan Fuller, Rick Hadley's brother Drew, Frank Vazquez, and David Chatham. Chris Dos is a part of the team, but was unable to come collect the award in person. Yea guys! This was a well-deserved award considering the amount of support they have given all of us this year!

And just as a side note, this is the second time Frank has won the award.

Rick's mother, Anne Hadley, was also able to come up to TELECOOP this year to spend some time with us and to watch Cheryl's Second Life presentation. Cheryl did a fantastic job -- she kept the entire room spell-bound for the presentation. It was a good time to talk about Rick and the enthusiasm he had for Second Life and the Second Life project. Cheryl is planning to continue that project and even has some "land" in SL courtesy of Rick.

Cheryl presented a second time, with Aaron and Mary. This presentation also received rave reviews from a rapt audience. (It was Friday morning after all of the dire snow warnings and they still had a full room.) This presentation was on Teaching with Technology - I had several requests to get them to put it together as a workshop so more folks could attend.

Alice Bedard-Voorhees presented on podcasting and audio interviews. She had yet another fascinated audience for that topic. This is Mary and Alice, with Donna Welschmeyer (Accounting) in the background taking pictures.

I didn't manage to get a picture of Jeri Heinicke, LL Program Chair, and Jon Sherrill, math faculty and other hats, in their presentation. They demonstrated software Jon wrote to allow students and faculty to record foreign language assignments for the foreign language courses. It's really exciting stuff and might add something to courses other than the language courses.

Karen Kaemmerling, SS Program Chair, and Rhonda Epper presented on the Digital Content Project and talked about Karen's textbook free history course. Somehow my camera missed them also. Karen also provided a lot of input in my presentation on using 3rd party content in courses.

And Linda Bowman, system VP for Academic Affairs and CCA President, came up for part of Thursday to watch the guys get their award. I did get a picture of her, but didn't think it was one she would want on the blog. :^)

The slides from all of these presentations will eventually be available on the website.

It was a great conference as usual -- lots of information of exciting subjects like Second Life, Podcasting, Quality Matters, Distance Learning happenings in nearby states, etc.

We also had a chance to talk to old friends who have moved away like Ed Bowen and Paul Romero. That's Ed below. He's in Texas now as an Executive Dean for Dallas Telelearning. He talked on the Quality Matters project - I really want to bring him back for our conference in September.

And in case you think no one does any work at conferences, here's Jonathan and Frank gradually building themselves a home in one of the labs.



Monday, April 09, 2007

Workshop Opportunity: Creating Virtual Teams 4/16 - 4/27

Creating Virtual Teams

Research suggests that building a virtual community with others who share common goals or purpose may help defray feelings of isolation in distance learning. Collaborative learning, such as small group work, can help foster relationships through team-building activities that create a mutual-interdependency to succeed. So why aren’t more faculty using collaborative activities?

These are the questions we often hear:

o What should be done to facilitate the best possible group outcomes?
o What Vista tools are available, and how are they used?
o How should teams be formed?
o How many students should be in each group?
o What are some dark sides of teams, and what can be done to overcome these issues?

In Creating Virtual Teams, you’ll learn the answers to these questions and much more.

What you will get:
• Information on theory and best practices for setting up and facilitating collaborative projects.
• Instructions on using the Vista Group Tools.
• A lesson plan that can immediately be applied in your virtual classroom plan.
Sign up today!

What: Creating Virtual Teams -- CCCOnline training workshop
Where: All Online
When: April 16-27
How: Register at
For more information:

Friday, April 06, 2007

Scholarship Fund for Rick

Many of you have asked me if there is a place for contributions honoring Rick. Rhonda has helped his family to set up a scholarship fund in his name at Metro State College where he completed his undergraduate degree. If you wish you can send a contribution to:

MSCD Foundation
P.O. Box 17971
Denver, CO 80217 -9812
Please note on your check: In memory of Rick Hadley
The memorial service is this afternoon beginning at 12:45 at the Carbon valley Recreation Center in Frederick, CO (outside of Longmont).

There is also an online memorial to Rick at the SLED project blog (Second Life Education -- a project Rick was very excited about). Your posts are welcome there:


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dear Faculty-

Today's email is from Gail Krovitz, who teaches for CCCOnline and also works for eCollege. She is looking for participants in a survey, the topic of which I find interesting.

********************From Gail**************

As you might know, I currently work for eCollege (in addition to teaching for CCCOnline!), and my team is doing a research study investigating the time it takes to teach online versus on-ground. The study starts in mid-April and I’m wondering if it would be possible to distribute this request to faculty teaching for CCCOnline. Anyone who is interested can contact us directly (at to receive the survey. The criteria for participation are listed below, along with more information. Essentially, an instructor must teach the same course online and on-ground (with comparable term lengths), and must have taught the class at least once.

Please feel free to pass this on to anyone who might be interested (LMS doesn’t matter)!



Online vs. on-ground: How much time are you spending?

As online education becomes more prevalent, the academic consultants at eCollege are asked more and more questions about the medium. One question we continue to hear is, How much time does it take to teach online? Developing an online course is one thing, but there are also time considerations with teaching an online course.

A common perception is that it takes more time to teach online than it does to teach on-ground. We’ve seen many articles that anecdotally support this view as well. However, is this really the case?

That’s what we want to know, and we need your help!

In April of 2007, the Academic Services team at eCollege will be conducting a survey/short study to help us lay the foundations for ongoing studies of instructor time commitment, both on-ground and online.

In order to participate, you must meet each of these three criteria:

1) You must teach the same class online and on-ground, with a comparable term length.
2) You must have taught the class at least once in both environments (i.e., this cannot be your first semester teaching this particular class online or on-ground).
3) You must teach at the Higher Education level.

The survey will track faculty time requirements for “average” teaching weeks during the semester. We ask that you track your teaching time for a period of 2 weeks and then fill out our online survey.

Would you be willing to participate?

Sign up today if you’re interested, and we will send you the survey in April.

Please give this information to other faculty you know who might be interested in participating.

Sign up (or ask questions) by sending an email to:


Monday, April 02, 2007

Rick Hadley - Update

Rick is in critical care at St. Anthony Central. He has extensive head injuries. I can forward any messages you have for his family.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Rick Hadley

Hello Everyone-

Rick Hadley was in a serious auto accident late yesterday evening. He is in critical condition at St. Anthony Central with his parents and brother. They have requested no visitation except family at this time, but would appreciate your best wishes. I know many of you have worked closely with Rick and thought you would like to know about the accident.