Thursday, January 31, 2008

Webinar Reminder! Learn to Use the Faculty Wiki!

You are invited to attend the Wikimania webinar this Friday, 2/1, from 2-4PM. No registration is required. Come as you are and ready to learn navigating the Faculty Wiki, setting up a user account, conducting basic editing, content creation, and more! The session includes both presentation and practice time for the new skills. The Webinar will be conducted by Jonathan Fuller, Kathy Miles, and Lisa Marie Johnson.

During the Wikimania session, you will have an opportunity to practice with the wiki. To do so,
you will need a user account. If you do not already have a user account, please set one up now. Click here to watch the demonstration!

The session officially begins at 2:00PM MST, Friday, February 1. However,
you can enter early at 1:30 PM... we look forward to seeing you there! Use the link below to access the session:

If you have not participated in an Elluminate session before, you will need to be sure your computer is set-up for the software prior to the session by going to the Elluminate support page and entering the Configuration Room:

See you there!
Lisa Marie Johnson

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Last day to drop reminder

Dear Faculty,

Just a quick reminder, that students have until February 5 to drop their session 1 courses. They were e-mailed this morning and will receive another e-mail reminder on Monday.

Also, if you hear from a student with login problems, please refer them to the support center, or 1-800-801-5040. This allows us to track any issues and to keep records of student contacts.

Thanks again for all of your support and hard work!


John H Schmahl
Director, Student Services

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Need Training and Professional Development? Get it!

Just a quick reminder to faculty and staff you can register for 2008 training and professional development opportunities with CCCOnline from the following link:

Upcoming asynchronous sessions include:

  • Managing Discussions (1/28 - 2/8)
    Facilitator: Karen Kaemmerling
    Registration closes 1/23
    Session Description

  • Course Mapping (2/1-2/8)
    Facilitator: Lisa Marie Johnson
    Registration closes: 1/27
    Session Description

  • Getting Started (2/1-2/8)
    Facilitator: Lisa Marie Johnson
    Registration closes: 1/27
    Session Description

  • Vista Basic Training (2/1-2/15)
    Facilitator: Al Turner
    Registration closes: 1/27
    Session Description

Upcoming synchronous sessions include:

Register today!
:) Lisa Marie Johnson

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rosters #2 - External EMail Addresses

Hi Everyone-

I think both John and I forgot to mention that you find external email addresses for your students on the roster at the following link:

(Same link I sent earlier and that John sent Saturday, but a little more explanation now.)



You may have already received a roster link from your chairs, but here is a better one:

Login using your SID and Vista Password.

(You may get a security warning pop-up. Just go ahead and click through that.)

YAY! First day of the semester and it's a whole new world of learning out there for our students!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Silver Linings

Hi Everyone-

Last week was a bit challenging to put it mildly, but this week is looking much better. The good news (loose definition of good) from last week is that the majority of the issues we had were due to errors made by ASP hosting rather than problems with the software and hardware itself. That's good because those sorts of errors are much more easily corrected and less likely to continue to cause problems throughout the semester.

Monday 5 colleges started their semesters, including Frontrange, one of the largest users of BB Vista. As you may have noticed we did not see any significant slowing in the system. Given that we are looking forward to our own start on this coming Monday with a little more confidence.

We do have some downtime tentatively planned for this semester. We have an ongoing problem with garbage collection (deleted records in the database as opposed to the physical type of garbage.) We've never been able to truly delete old files and as a result our database has a lot of un-needed records. (This is probably the root of the file upload problems we have on a somewhat regular basis.) In an attempt to correct this we may need to install a patch. We'd like to tentatively schedule this for the weekend of Feb. 8-10. We won't be down for all three days, but I don't have an official schedule as yet. Most likely we will go down Saturday after 1:00 pm and be back up early Sunday morning. No promises though.

We also may want to upgrade to application pack 3 and do other server maintenance. Those changes are tentatively scheduled for the first weekend in April. Again tentative.

In our prior life as software managers for only CCCOnline we usually managed to get these regular maintenance processes taken care of between terms. Unfortunately when we look at not only our schedule, but also those of the other system colleges there is no between term time. That leaves us with option 2 -- mid-semester. We will always try to keep these to a minimum, but you can assume at least one a semester.

Most of you should have your course shells by now although we are waiting until Wednesday as usual to make final decisions on section numbers. Enrollment this semester is very strong -- we are up around 20% compared to this day last year. Spring 2 enrollments are up even more.

We will email rosters to each of you on Friday of this week. Those rosters will include external email addresses for your students so you can send them a welcome email if you choose. Encouraging students to get into their classes the first few days of the term does seem to help get the semester off to a good start.

One small piece of housekeeping. If you have moved there is only one way to officially change your mailing address with CCCOnline, HR, and PERA. You need to email He will send you a PERA change of address form. If you mail that back to him (paper copy) he will take it to the system office and HR will make sure your address is changed with them and with PERA.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Sandra Phillips Art Gallery has Best of 2007 Show!

Each year the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post do a Best of 2007 series of lists. This year the list of Best Art Shows included shows presented by 7 museums and only 3 private art galleries. One of those was "Masters in Clay" presented by the Sandra Phillips Gallery owned by Sandra Phillips, who many of you know as an Arts and Humanities faculty member for CCCOnline. Congratulations Sandra!

The article can be found at

I know many of you also have had events in your lives that we would all like to celebrate. We have an amazing group of faculty who bring a huge amount of talent and experience to our students. Thank you for teaching for us!


New Associate Academic Dean

Hi Everyone-

We have a new Associate Academic Dean at long last! Monica Falk is stepping into Alice’s shoes for us. I think some of you know Monica already as she is a long-time CIS instructor for CCCOnline.

Monica comes to us from Trinidad State Junior College, where she has worn many, many hats. Most recently she was the interim director of institutional research and the interim registrar and of course she taught classes. She also served on the Learning Technology Committee and was a part of the search committee for the Exec. Director for CCCOnline. Monica has a history of working with all of the colleges as well, through membership on the state faculty advisory committee.

I am very happy to have Monica here with us now!


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Backing up Your Course and Deleting Back-ups

Lisa Marie has added a page to the wiki with instructions on how to back-up your course and how to then delete that back-up from the server.

You can find those instructions here:

Thanks Everyone! Keeping our database as clean as possible will help performance significantly!


Vista Update

Here's the latest news in a set of emails from John at BB to David:

The problems today are related to the build-up of files that haven't been removed in garbage collection (GC). I (David) am going to paste in John's (from BB) explanations below:

When you e-mailed Lee about having trouble uploading files I went in and added some indexes to the CMS tables and reported how much GC had to do to you. That's why it was slow. Once we reboot the system tonight GC will start cleaning up those 16 million content items in the CMS tables.

Right now GC has been cleaning up old student records and sections but not content items. I think this is why uploads have been so slow.


I just finished adding the tracking job indexes to fix the tracking data.

That job will run Monday Wednesday and Friday starting at 5a.m. Please let me know if you see anymore Unknown Users after tomorrow evening.

I also added the indexes for Garbage Collection. That job will run Tuesday Thursday Saturday and Sunday starting at 10p.m. and ending 8 hours later.

Finally I added indexes to the CMS tables. Uploads are now blazingly fast from my connection here at home and my neighbors DSL connection over wireless-b.


John asked me earlier if we would ask instructors to delete their section backups once they have downloaded them. We need to put into our training and instructions to faculty about not leaving heavy files, like backups, in the MyFile area. As Vista administrators, we also need to delete backups now would be a good time so that the database is free of unnecessary data. The GC hasnt worked, but after tonight we should be on the road to cleaning this up.

Thanks for your patience, and lets see how the system works for the next couple of days.

I will get LisaMarie to write up directions for deleting back-ups you may have made, then if you would take care of that we could begin the semester reasonably clean.

Many thanks!

Vista Update

Well folks it doesn't look like BB Vista is really working correctly right now. I don't recommend you do any work in your classes quite yet.

For those of you who are still waiting for your spring shells, David can't dupe.

And last, enrollment is up 24% for spring 1 and 34% for spring 2 when compared to this day last year.


BB Vista Database Issues

Hi Everyone-

We are stil on the new databse hardware this morning, but have rolled back to Oracle version 9i from 10g. Several people around the system are testing this set-up as I type. If it appears to be both functional and stable we will settle here for awhile before we try to go to 10g.

On the theory that it's good to have options we also have two open-source learning management systems set up now for testing -- Moodle and Sakai. We don't have any formal plans around moving towards another LMS, but we are exploring options. (Moodle information is at; Sakai is found at We may want to run a test course in each of those LMS's or we could offer a training course in each if enough of you are interested. Talk with your chair if you are interested in either project.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Vista Update

BB ASP has asked us for the next 12 – 18 hours to try to rectify the Oracle 10 G issues in Vista. They will be applying a patch and rebuilding some indexes overnight. If this is not a successful operation, as far as remedying the issues, they may recommend a roll-back to Oracle 9i for the short-term until the issue is fixed in 10 G. Because of the need to be up and running for OJC on January 7, we have little time to troubleshoot the problem and must find a stable environment for the semester.

A splash page has been put up on the site, directing users to a brief explanation of the situation. I expect to have an update on the situation tomorrow morning sometime. There will be a decision point tomorrow whether the overnight work is fixing the problem or whether we need to roll-back, necessitating further downtime.

(Side-note from Rhonda and Lisa: We would be going back to the old version of Oracle, but staying on the new hardware.)

David Chatham
Dean of Academic Technology

Database Crash

Hi Everyone-

The BB Vista database has crashed. Please don't try to do anything on Vista until further notice.

At this point all we know is that it is probably as Oracle problem. Oracle has been called in and is working on the problem.

We will let you know as soon as we have more information.