Friday, May 28, 2010

Ready for Summer?

Please do not reply to this message. If you have questions, please email me directly at

As we approach our summer term starting June 7, many of you are busy preparing your courses.

Recall, the Course Readiness Checklist is located in the Faculty Handbook at Please be sure to read through this information so you understand what is required of you at what point in time.
1. Verify, within 72 hours of receiving email notification that your course has been duped, that the course content is correct.
2. Verify (as soon as possible but no later than Thursday, June 3, at 8:00 a.m.) that you have completed the “First Day Checks” tasks. Find a list of these tasks at
Log in to the faculty gateway at to complete both of these verifications.
3. Complete all tasks on the "Course Readiness Checklist" as soon as possible but no later than Sunday, June 6.

4. Be sure that you have made any necessary changes to the first assignment in your course so that it is due prior to census date (June 16).

As you prepare for summer, we recognize you may need assistance with D2L. Access the CCCOnline Community course from the "Student" tab on your My Courses widget on your My Home page in D2L. In it, you will find a module dedicated to D2L Resources that includes:
ProfHelp Form - Use this form to contact ProfHelp for specific technical assistance with D2L tools. The ProfHelp request form is also linked in the Faculty Gateway. Remember that our D2L Mentors are no longer under contract, so please direct all questions to ProfHelp.

D2L Tech Tools Pages - These are the Faculty Wiki D2L Tech Tool pages with answers to Frequently Asked Questions and video tutorials about tools.

User Guides - These are the tool user guides provided by D2L.

Additionally, in our newly revised CCCOnline Community course, you have access to a Let's Talk About D2L! discussion to explore successes and challenges with D2L, "Program Lounge" discussions to communicate with program colleagues, and a Faculty Resources module with links to a variety of online teaching resources from CCCOnline and beyond!

If you have trouble accessing or navigating the CCCOnline Community course, please contact (Do not reply to this message).

Monday, May 24, 2010

D2L Course Readiness Reminders

As you prepare your courses for the summer term, you MUST do the following items:

1. Reset your homepage (this is most likely why your instructor widget that you created in the spring isn’t appearing on the course homepage).

2. Clean up unused tools on the course navigation bar.
Please note that you should NOT make inactive the following tools: Classlist; Content; Discussions; Dropbox (deactivate if NOT using dropbox items); Grades; Import/Export/Copy Components; Intelligent Agents; Links; News; Question Collections; Quizzes (deactivate if NOT using Quizzes); SCORM; SIS Holding Tank; User Profile; User Progress

3. Run the Grades Wizard. If you don’t run the grades wizard you are likely to have problems at the end of the term with your grade book and final points. Check now to be sure your total points in the final calculated column matches what you say in the syllabus is the possible points for the course.

Please send your questions directly to me at or go to the Faculty Gateway and use the Profhelp form for additional assistance.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Save the Dates! SecondLife Training Series

Have you heard of the virtual world SecondLife and wondered how to use it in your online courses? Curious about the Colorado EduIsland space in SecondLife available to CCCOnline faculty and students?

Join us for the series of 5 training sessions described below.

Register for the training from the following link:

Session 1 - Second Life Series - Simulated Learning Spaces
May 27, 2010 (3:00 - 5:00 PM Mountain) - Online, via Elluminate.
In this session, we will be exploring educational values using SL or other simulated spaces, use of SL in classroom for teaching and building learning communities, and you will learn how and where to set up accounts. At this session, participants will be polled for the best times to have remaining sessions.
Session 2 - Second Life Series - Moving around in SecondLife
June 24, 2010 (Time TBD) - in SecondLife
In this session, we will visit and examine existing learning spaces in SL, and we will go through some exercises on how to maneuver your avatar in SL.
Session 3 - Second Life Series - Expression and Learning through Communicating in SecondLife
July 22, 2010 (Time TBD) - in SecondLife
In this session, we will be presenting and practicing the use of various communication tools for traditional and non-traditional forms of communication.
Session 4 - Second Life Series - Educational Expressionism
August 19, 2010 (Time TBD) - in SecondLife
In this session, we will be talking about writing performance based curriculum for simulated spaces for your classroom.
Session 5 - Second Life Series - Conference – Virtual Podium
September 17, 2010 (Time TBD) - at CCCOnline Faculty Conference
In this session, the SL series attendee's will present curriculum and educational tools learned from series.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Summer 2010 Course Readiness Reminders

Below are a few reminders as you prepare for your summer courses:

-once your course is created or duped, you will receive a Course Verification e-mail (you will receive a separate e-mail for each course you are teaching)
-within 72 hours of receiving this e-mail, you should check your course’s content to ensure it is correct; verify the course content through the link in the e-mail or the Faculty Gateway
-prior to the Thursday before classes begin, complete the items at the First-Day QA Checks section on the Faculty Wiki
-after you have completed these First-Day Check items, verify your course as “ready” in the Faculty Gateway. Once your course is ready, we will QA Check it (using the First-Day QA Checks criteria).
-please note that in addition to completing your First-Day Check items, you must complete all items at the Readiness Checklist by midnight on Sunday before classes begin

Thank you!

Summer Training Opportunities

We have several training opportunities this summer starting with the E-Portfolio Workshop facilitated by Phyllis Dobson from May 24 – June 11.

An E-Portfolio is thoughtful collection of files in an electronic format which demonstrate academic work, reflection, work experience and other activities presented in various media formats ( text, audio, image, and video). Students as well as faculty can create an e-portfolio for personal use to organize and display artifacts, reflect on experiences and electronically share the portfolio with others.

The E-Portfolio workshop will introduce you to the Folio program (e-portfolio software) which is available free to students and instructors through collaborative efforts of the Colorado Department of Education, Department of Labor, the Community College System and other workforce professional groups. You will receive a login, learn how to upload artifacts, create and share portfolios for different purposes. You will also gain insight into using this type of assessment tool with your students.

If you are interested in registering for this training or other training opportunities, go to the Faculty Gateway and click on Training Registration. If you have any questions, please contact me directly at

Thanks to our D2L mentors!

We would like to formally thank our D2L mentors for their hard work during spring term to make our conversion to this LMS a bit easier.
These folks patiently answered our questions, held our hands, and soothed our frustrations when things didn't work the way we thought they should. . .and for that, we extend to them our eternal thanks!

Amy Valentine
Jake Camp
Jessy Devasia
Carol Ohle
JoAnn M Gilliland
Diane van Os
Donna Fair-Klikus
Vail Shoultz-McCole
Jon Sherrill
John Ragan
Linda Rowley
Kate Lormand
Jesse Stommel
Al Turner
Aarthi Ramesh

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Student Privacy and the Faculty Listserv

Everyone, we've reminded you a few times about the reasons not to reply to posts you receive that are obviously intended for all faculty. Those messages come to you from the faculty blog and are visible there as well as via email to your inbox. When you reply to those, whether or not you use "reply" or "reply to all," your replies go to multiple people in our office.

Most times, it's not critical other than the fact that it may slow down a response to you and it fills up our inboxes. However, I'm concerned that I've seen several messages regarding confidential student information and incompletes pass through this system, and that could present a privacy concern for students.

Please be certain to email that kind of information directly to the individual to whom it is intended. For example, all information regarding incomplete grades or grades in general should go directly to or

Thank you!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

D2L Course List Page for Summer

***Please do not reply to this message. If you have questions, please email me directly at***

Hey everyone, this is just a quick note to let you know that some of you may be seeing some "extra" courses on your course list for summer. A programming issue resulted in these extra courses popping up; our staff is working to correct this as we speak, and those extra courses should disappear within the next couple of hours. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Final Grades!

We are noticing some problems and errors in course grades in D2L because of grade books not being setup correctly. Please verify your grades before posting to the Gateway! Double check the final calculated grades like you used to do, instead of counting on D2L to add it correctly for you.

Do you have extra columns in your grades? - extra columns will cause the Final Calculated Grades to not total correctly
1. You can delete them.
Step by Step instructions:

2. Or mark them as “Exclude from final grade calculation” .
Step by step instructions:

Is the Final Calculated Grades totaling the correct number of possible points (after all extra columns are removed)?
1. If not, most likely you selected to Drop Ungraded Items when you ran the Grades Wizard at the beginning of the term. You now need to either return to the wizard and select treat ungraded items as zero or manually enter zeroes for students who missed work.
Step by Step instructions:

If you are struggling or are not confident with what to do, contact your D2L mentor or log into the Faculty Gateway and select the Profhelp link for assistance.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Save the Date for our 2010 CCCOnline Faculty Conference

Are you ready to use new tools to be more efficient or expand what your course offers students? Then you don’t want to miss the

CCCOnline Faculty Conference
Constructing Quality: Expand your Toolbox
on September 17th
at Arapahoe Community College.

At this year’s conference, we’ll help you hammer out ways to renovate your courses; provide blueprints through teaching concepts and authentic assessment; and demonstrate remodeling through new multimedia…all to bolster student success!

Friday, May 07, 2010

3 Local Job Opportunities in Distance Education

Hi Everyone-

I recently received notice of three somewhat local job opportunities in distance education:

The Colorado Department of Education is looking for a Director of Online Education:

The University of Wyoming is looking for a Director for the Wyoming Center for Excellence and Innovation in Distance Learning and Technology (try to fit that title on a business card!):

If any of you take one of those positions please let me know!  I'd like to stay in touch.


Lisa Cheney-Steen

Ending the Term

***Please do not reply to this message. Instead, email me directly at with questions or comments.***

Well, we've all survived another exciting term. . .our first term fully online with D2L! I hope you and your students found it to be effective and easy to use!

Please remember these tips as the term draws to a close:

1) The Final Grades column in D2L must be released in order for students to view their grades, so please be sure to release the grades in your classes if you haven't already done so. This isn't an automatic process, but requires you to complete just a few steps in the gradebook. For help, please see the wiki information at

2) Post an announcement or send an email to your students to let them know the last day you will be checking the class and to tell them how to reach you outside the class if they have questions about grades, etc.

3) Be sure to calculate and submit your final grades no later than Thursday, May 13. You should have received information from student services about how to submit your grades, how to determine last date of attendance, etc. If you have questions, please contact

4) You should also have received information about the incomplete form and grade change form. If you plan to give an incomplete, please be sure to complete and return the required form. If you have questions about this process, please contact or your program chair.

5) Finally, have a GREAT break between classes, and if you're not teaching this summer, enjoy the time off. Thanks for all your hard work.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Quality Time: Level of Formality in Online Discussions

**Please do not reply to this post. Please either use the comments option below or contact me directly at**

What kind of rules, if any, should instructors set on formality levels in online classroom discussions? This seems to be a controversial topic: on one side, some believe informal, even “texting” style writing is acceptable in discussion boards (though perhaps not in essays or other projects); others believe formal academic writing should be expected throughout a college course. Ultimately, these decisions are up to the instructor and depend on individual course outcomes, but below are a few points to consider.

In defense of informality…
Some say as long as students are writing, participating in class, and exchanging ideas, casual writing is acceptable. Aside from informal tone, students may make spelling errors and typos, write in lowercase letters, and the like. We may not enjoy this kind of writing, but if we enforce correctness and formality, students may freeze up and quit communicating altogether. Some defenders of informality claim if students make mistakes, it may be because they are relaxed enough to be comfortable with the course: this is a good thing.

Even those who disagree with this perspective might consider some classroom occasions in which informality is perfectly acceptable. In the face-to-face environment, students interact by informally chatting before or after class or in study groups; online forums can be set up for this express purpose and remain ungraded. Also, an instructor teaching developmental courses may decide the importance of any student participation outweighs, at this point on students’ educational paths, the need for formal or even correct language.

In defense of formality…
As an English instructor, I am familiar with the teaching philosophy that, formal or casual tone aside, “content” of a written piece is more important than correctness (e.g., complete sentences, correct spelling and grammar). However, one might consider clear, correct usage of the language as a vital part of content. If more and more college instructors adopt the “as long as ideas are good, expression of ideas is negligible” philosophy, we could graduate more and more college students who never have been taught to write clearly and concisely for an audience.

Also from an instructional perspective, and on a practical level, requiring correct, clear writing makes sense in two ways. One, because CCCOnline instructors must require students to demonstrate writing proficiency, a simple way to do that is to require college-level writing in every assignment submitted to a class. Two, if instructors consistently require correct, clear writing--even if informal in tone on some occasions--this writing can be more easily compared to the same students’ formal projects to assess whether all assignments are being completed by the same person.

It is gratifying to know that as instructors, we can help our students to cultivate a habit of writing more clearly. First, such a habit demonstrates courtesy for others; we try to teach writing students that the burden of clarity should be on the writer, not the reader. Also, building better writing skills encourages practicing clearer and more logical thinking: surely a desirable activity in every college-level course.

Students might be persuaded by the “reputation” argument for taking care while writing; this argument is expressed eloquently here (from the “Communicating Online” page by Julie Watson, The Higher Education Academy, University of Southampton, UK): “The reader will judge you by what you send and be distracted from what you are saying if the message contains errors in grammar, spelling or punctuation. In an academic context such mistakes look particularly bad.”

Finally, we might consider expecting quality writing to be in line with expecting general quality work from students. If we expect more, we get more; and we might expect more from college students than the ability to relax and “just be themselves” in their written discussions. A college classroom, face-to-face or online, is a professional space; and we might expect the level of discourse to reflect that.

Quality Time is a series of posts concerning course quality issues, best practices, and/or CCCOnline policy.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

New No-Show Process for Summer

***Please do not reply to this post. Email me directly at with questions.***

Over the past few semesters, you may have seen an increase in the number of "inactive" students whose names remain in your course for the entire term. In an effort to identify students who do not intend to actively participate in courses, CCCOnline has implemented a new no-show policy and process.

In the past, no-show students were identified simply as those students who never logged into a course. Beginning with summer term, you are asked to require that students 1) post in the introductory discussion and 2) complete a graded, content-related assignment or assessment (not a syllabus quiz or similar assignment) prior to census date (June 16).

Many of you may already have an assignment of this type that is due before census date; for those of you who do not, please modify your course to meet this new guideline. If you have concerns about how best to accomplish this in your course(s), please talk with your program chair.

You will receive instructions after summer term begins regarding how to report no-show students.

Introducing CCCOnline's New Quality Assurance Coordinator

***Please do not reply to this message. If you have questions, please contact me directly at***

Everyone, I would like to introduce you to Liz Dzabic, our new Quality Assurance Coordinator. Liz began her new duties with us on April 1, and we're very excited to have her on board! Liz will be completing the regular QA tasks that you are used to seeing as well as working with both the training department and design team to help us all focus on excellence in both course design and facilitation.

I asked Liz to tell you a little bit about herself:

"My background is teaching English, face-to-face and online, and I taught full-time at the community college level for seven years. I also coordinated the Honors Program at my last college, Laramie County Community College in Wyoming. My teaching philosophy is to innovate and use educational technology to improve teaching, but always keep academic rigor as the most important goal.

I am excited about CCCOnline’s QA process because it is so useful to instructors in maintaining high academic standards. The online classroom is a fairly new frontier, and the QA process, by recognizing best practices in e-learning, helps guide and assist faculty to maximize course quality."

You will be seeing blog posts and other communications from Liz soon, so please help us welcome her! You may contact Liz at

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Spring Grades

Dear Faculty;

It's that time of the semester, Spring grades are due no later than Thursday, May 13, 2010.

Please follow the directions below to enter grades for your courses. If you have any questions regarding grades, please contact me (

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

You must report a Last Date of Attendance (LDA) for any student who receives a grade of “F”. The LDA is the date that the student submitted their last graded assessment or assignment. To find this date in D2L, you can follow the directions here

If the student never accessed the course, you enter the first day of the session, January 25, 2010 for session 1 courses and March 1, 2010 for session 2 courses.

The additional fields in the gradebook for reporting students as “present” or Missing” are not for use this Spring. These will be used this Summer for reporting no-shows. We will send out additional directions regarding reporting Summer no-shows in a few weeks.

If you have any students needing their grades earlier, or any students not listed on the grade roster, please contact John Schmahl, or Roxanne Manske,

To submit final grades:

Login at the Faculty Gateway here,

- You can use your Blackboard login credentials

- Click on the Online Gradebook

- Select the appropriate section

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

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 on the grade roster must be given a grade, even if they have not participated in the course**

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)

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

Monday, May 03, 2010

New Elluminate! Webinar

On May 17, CCCOnline will be moving to a new Elluminate server. Because of this, all current moderators will need to learn about this new server. Join Donna Hall on Friday May 7th at 11am and learn how to login to the new Elluminate server, create meetings, edit your profile, and pulling reports about your meetings.

Elluminate link: