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A Multi-Institutional Deployment of Blackboard Learn Kevin Corcoran Interim Executive Director Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium.

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Presentation on theme: "A Multi-Institutional Deployment of Blackboard Learn Kevin Corcoran Interim Executive Director Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Multi-Institutional Deployment of Blackboard Learn Kevin Corcoran Interim Executive Director Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium

2 Obligatory Slide: Who Are We & What We Do CTDLC: Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium CT State Agency providing eLearning Services to K-20 for past 12 years Hosting, Remote Management, Consulting, Integration, Block Development, Instructional Design, Help Desk Experience supporting Angel, Blackboard, CE, Vista and Moodle as well as integrating Banner, Datatel, and Jenzabar to Bb Developed the collaborative online tutoring program called that serves over 100 institutions nationally

3 The Problem – Part 1 Online Learning’s Infancy circa 1998-99 institutions just exploring online learning lack of resources (staff and funding) to support pilot projects lack of best practices and policies

4 The Solution – Sort of Collaboration Institutions pool monies together to support a collaborative pilot (Bb licensing) CTDLC provides infrastructure & support Participating institutions develop processes and policies in unison Naming Conventions, Manually administered (.csv), Collective decision on settings

5 The Problem – Part 2 Online Expansion circa 2004 Institutions running full course catalogs Mistaken enrollments Branding issues Want of increased control Manual administration too cumbersome

6 The Next Gen Solution DSKs, Domains, Collections, & Brands Data Source Keys (DSK) allowed for the tying of all institutional records together through Snapshot Integration Domains allow for the grouping of Collections and Administrators for a particular institution. Collections are tied to Domains and allow courses, users, tabs, and modules to be segmented for individual institution control Brands allow institutions to create a color scheme/brand bound to a specific host name (FQDN)

7 Data Source Keys - Integration Data Source Keys –Allows for multiple data collections –Associates Snapshot processes to a data collection –Differentiates automated processes from GUI/System DSM Tool –Command line tool for creating keys –Provides some global data collection functions –Uses machine name and domain name

8 Integration Concept – Pre SP6 Data Extracts Users Courses Enrollments SIS Data Transfer Timing Frequency S/FTP Data Processing Controller Properties Frequency Blackboard

9 Integration Methods Snapshot Flat File (Being obsolesced) –Multiple file method –Each file serves a function –Provides flexibility IMS Enterprise XML –Single XML file –Combined user, course, enrollment management –Based on IMS standards Real Time Data Exchange –Event based data exchange –LIS for Banner – SP6

10 Domains Creates the container for users, courses and enrollments Allows for restricted administrative control

11 Collections

12 Domain Administrators Designate existing users with specific admin functions within the collections & domains

13 Brands Binds custom theme, color palette, site banner to a URL/host Does not touch login page

14 Samples For More Details: Kevin Lowey U of Saskatchewan Branding Session

15 Hierarchies – SP6 SP6 introduced Hierarchies in Bb Learn –Similar to Vista structure Courtesy of Bb Admin Manual

16 Hierarchies & Domains “The primary difference between Hierarchies and Domains is the way the permissions are assigned. Hierarchies provide permissions based on the location, whereas Domains provide permissions based on criteria.” Courtesy of Bb Admin Manual

17 Community/Portal System License Secondary Institution Roles –All institutional users will be assigned an institution role, generally Faculty, Staff, or Student –Secondary roles provide distinction between institutions’ Faculty, Staff and Student roles –These roles allow for custom content to be delivered Custom Tabs, Modules, & Channels –Customized content areas (tabs, modules, channels) can be restricted to specific secondary roles) –Administration can be assigned through Domains/Collections

18 Course Templates Single institutional course shell –Branded –Customized course settings, tools, and menus –Institution-specific info & links embedded Avoids System-wide setting conflicts –Regarding course settings and tools Deployed via Integration –TEMPLATE_COURSE_KEY

19 Remaining Challenges Course/User ID collisions –Same SIS vendor –SP6 offer scripting work-around 3 rd Party tools –No segregation of tools by DSK Customized/Branded Login pages –No ability to present custom login based on host name –Can re-direct to portal page System-wide settings –One change impacts all We experienced many of these same issues with BbVista

20 Creating the Learning Community What makes an institution a good candidate? –Willingness to partner –Willingness to sacrifice (control/functionality) –Openness to work-arounds –Accepting of SIS integration workflow –Recognizing boundaries –Small to Mid size helps too

21 Hosting Concerns Storage – need benchmarks on previous consumption Concurrent Usage – benchmark on users and sessions Overall Usage patterns (stress on system) –Controlling exports and archives –Controlling reporting –Educating about file size & type (large file/video downloads) On-boarding process needed –Introduction to learning community

22 Policy Participating Institutions must understand shared sacrifice – some control must be given up for collaborative cost savings System Settings – Configuration for the common good – no special requests unless all members agree Building Blocks – Free blocks if for the common good; paid blocks if the vendor allows others not be license holders or as the ability to restrict by DSK or course ID Reporting – scheduled, non-peak hours if data can be isolated to the institution Upgrades – Common good or system-wide issues Maintenance Window – Good luck finding common downtime for maintenance or upgrades!

23 R&D - Multiple Installations? Bb 9.1 may offer the opportunity to install multiple sites on the same infrastructure –Installer allows selection of site root and database prefix (previously hard-coded) –Will installer run 2 nd time if existing site detected? –Multiple IPs may allow for multiple Bb Learn sites if installer allows & doesn’t overwrite (IIS) –We are testing this with our SP6 development environment

24 Questions & Contact Info Any Questions? Any Brain Lock-up? Contact: Kevin Corcoran 860-832-3889

25 Please provide feedback for this session by emailing The title of this session is: A Multi-Institutional Deployment of Blackboard Learn

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