Friday, December 28, 2007

Remember that the Blackboard Vista servers will be down for planned maintenance today through Sunday while we move to a newer, larger, faster, database server. We expect to be back up Sunday morning, although the downtime is not officially scheduled to end until Monday morning at midnight.

Hope your break is going well!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hardware Upgrade Update

The Bb ASP has revised the schedule on the hardware upgrade to be from 8 a.m. MT on December 28 until 8 a.m. MT on December 30. David will make changes on the domain level to provide that announcement.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Managing Your MyCCCOnline Page in BB Vista

Good Morning Everyone-

When we begin duping sections for a new term I typically get a set of emails from faculty. About half of you are worried that we will remove access to shells from past terms and the other half of you are frustrated with a very long list of courses in your MyCCCOnline page and would like to get rid of all of the old terms.

We would like to get to the point where you can manage what you would like to keep around yourself, but until then here is a link to a training module LisaMarie Johnson made to help you organize what shows on your MyCCCOnline page:


Monday, December 17, 2007

Downtime over Christmas Break

I want to wish everyone a happy happy Christmas break!

CCCOnline offices will be closing Friday the 21st and not re-opening until Wednesday, January 2nd. We are making some hardware changes during that time however. We are moving to a new big database server for Vista. Blackboard hosting will be making the switch for us December 28-30; Vista will be down for at least the 28th and 29th (beginning at 12:01 am on the 28th). We are not making any software upgrades or patches, so you shouldn't see any changes in your courses after the weekend. You might check anyway though, just to be sure.

The Banner student information system is also going through a major upgrade the weekend before Christmas, so Frank is coming in Christmas Eve to do some testing of our scripts.

We'll e-see you all in the next year!


Friday, December 14, 2007

Only training shells

Hi All-

Only old training and profesional development shells are going away. Your fall course shells will still wait around for you for awhile yet. (For the half of you who want to get rid of your old course shells..... eventually we will clean those out also.)



Thanks to all of you who sent your grades in promptly! We offered nearly 550 sections this fall and all but 8 had grades in by yesterday evening!


Training Clean-up

We will be cleaning up the old training courses (deleting old shells) and unenrolling you from any shells you are still enrolled in from past training session early next week. If you need to keep any information from old sessions around please copy it this weekend.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

League for Innovation Conference

Hi All-

I think I sent this out, but wanted to blog it so I can find it again.

CCD is hosting the League for Innovations conference in Denver this year. If you volunteer for 6 or more hours the League will pick up the conference fee.

If any of you wish to attend this conference as a volunteer please let me know and I will see if I can get you on the list.

The League website is


Lisa Cheney-Steen
Co-Executive Director for Learning Technology
Colorado Community College System

Original Message:

The League for Innovations Conference will be held in Denver at the Adams Mark Hotel in downtown Denver 3/2-3/5 2008. Community College of Denver is hosting this event. Three thousand people are expected to attend. Although the League is adept at putting on a conference of this size, we need volunteers to help at this event.

Please get the word out that volunteers are needed to help with staffing the registration booth, being guides and go-fors, assisting with answering questions, etc. Conference registration is free for people who volunteer for six hours or more. Please ask interested people to contact our volunteer coordinator, Connie Strand .

Thanks in advance for getting the word out.

Academic Technology Schedule

Thought you all might be interested in this also (my notes in italics):

Academic Technology Schedule

  • Dec. 9 – end of term but sections open for two weeks, until Dec. 23
  • Dec. 10 & 11 - Process Student Survey and limit release to QA and Chairs. This will be distributed to appropriate users.
  • Dec. 13 – Grades due
  • Dec. 17 – Student Surveys are released to faculty
  • Dec. 24 – testing of the Banner-Vista scripts (Banner upgrade happens the prior weekend, Banner is the current student information system used.)
  • Dec. 28 – 30 – Vista Server will be off-line for a period of 48 – 60 hours beginning sometime on Dec. 28 for a hardware change. (New database server).
  • Jan. 2 – continued testing of changes to both Banner and Vista
  • Jan. 3 – resume processing of the dup requests
  • Jan. 15 – all section dup requests due by 12 noon; all duping that can be done prior to splits should be finished this day
  • Jan. 16 – section splits
  • Jan. 17 – 12 midnight, regular registration closes; late registration until Jan. 24
  • Jan. 21 – Spring term opens
  • Feb. 1 – Open dup site for Spring II requests
  • Feb. 19 - all section dup requests due by 12 noon; all duping that can be done prior to splits should be finished this day
  • Feb. 20 – split meeting
  • Feb. 21 – Close of registration at midnight; late registration goes one week to Feb. 28
  • Feb. 25 – Start of Spring II

Further explanation:

Dup requests: Every semester David and his team copy your shells for the coming term from either a master shell or your shell from a past term. This is of course a time-consuming process that takes place on a regular schedule. Your program chair turns in the specific dup request (which shell to copy from), so be sure they know what your preference is.

Split meeting: The Wednesday before classes we sit down as a group and decide exactly how many sections of each course we will offer. This typically involves much negotiation around class size, grading load, availability of faculty, and cost. So when your program chair says they don't know for sure how many sections we will offer two weeks before the start of classes they are being honest with you.

Unrelated side note on late work:

Late work of course causes the vast majority of the student/faculty conflicts I mediate each semester. Today while surfing I saw this policy on a course David Wiley teaches:

Late Work Policy

If your work is ever late, I may or may not accept the work and may or may not penalize the work, depending completely on my possibly grumpy, biased, or elated mood. If this does not seem fair to you, then do not be late with your work.

I like it because it reflects my own -- I let students turn in work as late as they want (although before the end of the semester), but I noted that I truly hate to get a mass of grading the last week of class and will probably be extremely grumpy at the sight of it. They should reflect that grumpiness to be reflected on their grade.

My high school daughter has a math class this semester which allows late work up to a point -- 5 days. She hasn't managed to turn in all of her assignments because she does tend to let them pile up for the entire 5 days, however she is learning a valuable lesson her other teachers are skipping - she is trying to figure out how to manage her own schedule -- school, work, social, etc. I appreciate the math teacher for giving her this flexibility and of course the rope with which to hang herself. :^)


Monday, December 10, 2007

Vista Review of Recent Downtime

I wanted to give you a quick review of the past couple of weeks, since it may affect a few responses to students:
  • December 1 and 2 - students were unable to submit attachments through Vista.
  • December 3rd - BB re-booted the database and server (we have 9). This corrected the attachment problem, but meant BB was down from 11:30 am until almost 1:00 pm.
  • December 7th: More attachment submission problems.
  • December 8th: BB re-booted the system unexpectedly, down for approximately 25 minutes Saturday am.
That means there was at least one weekend when your students were genuinely unable to submit attachments and a couple of times when they may have been booted out of an in-process exam.

So what are we doing about this?
We are upgrading to a snazzy new database server with more and faster processors. BB hosting has scheduled the transition to the new hardware for December 28 through 30. It should take 48 hours; when I have specific times I will let you know. You can assume that BB Vista will be down for most of the 28th through the 30th though. When we come up again we hope to be more stable.

Thanks for a good semester everyone! Technical issues aside we have once again had very few student complaints this semester. We truly do appreciate all of the time and effort you put into your classes!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Vista Issues Today

Dear Faculty,

Some of you may be noticing "exception errors" or other system errors in Blackboard. David and his team are aware of the problem, and working with Blackboard to fix the problem. Please be patient, and we will keep you informed as we know more. I know this is not a good time, being the last couple of days in the semester.



Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bad URL for grades

The link for the grade book in the original e-mail for entering fall grades had an error in it. Please use the following URL to access the grade book for your fall courses.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Grade book URL

Bad Grade Book URL

The link for the grade book in the original e-mail for entering fall grades had an error in it. Please use the following URL to access the grade book for your fall courses.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Grade book URL

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Entering Fall Grades

Dear Faculty;

It’s that time of year again, the end of the semester and time to enter grades. Please follow the directions below to enter grades for your courses. If you have any questions regarding grades, please contact me (

All grades are due no later than Thursday, December 13, 2007.

Once you have submitted your grades, we will pull a daily report listing the grades and they will be manually entered into Banner for the students. Grades will not be viewable by the students until the day after they are manually entered.

If you have any students needing their grades earlier, please contact John Schmahl, or Roxanne Manske,

To submit final grades:

go to the online Grade Book here,

Login using your Blackboard Vista login credentials

Select the appropriate section

If you are missing any section(s) or have extra section(s) listed, please contact Frank Vazquez,

Enter the appropriate grade for each student, accepted grades are listed below

Remember, developmental courses (those with course numbers under 100) must use the developmental grades, see below

**All students must be given a grade, even if they have not participated in the section**

Enter a Last Date of Attendance for any students receiving a grade of “F” or “W”

Click “Update” and return to the menu to select the next section if needed

Approved grades

Standard courses (course numbers 100 and above, e.g., PSY 101)
F (must include last day of attendance)
I (must include incomplete contract)
W (must include last day of attendance)

Developmental courses (course number less than 100, e.g., MAT 060)
U/F (must include last day of attendance)
I (must include incomplete contract)
W (must include last day of attendance)