Daily Recap Videos

Day 1: 7/12

Day 2: 7/13

Day 3: 7/14 (look for Eric starting 0:22)

Overview: (Eric 1:27)

Bb Learn

Blackboard World11 notes BbWorld11

BbWorld11 Haiku:

Blackboard World and sun ~
Technology with mobile ~
Learning, sharing, fun. ~

2011-07-09 20:53:01

Blackboard World is awse ~
I get by with a little ~
help from my friends, yeah! ~

2011-06-23 18:23:19

#GRCC DLIT has the space and turtles promoting collision of hunches for good ideas. Fro Videos in mobile app http://t.co/EO8Phtv
2011-06-28 18:28:48

Blood in the Mobile shows the connection between our mobile phones and the civil war in the Congo. http://t.co/CKV2bPo
2011-07-08 19:59:52

Oracle’s Student Administration Integration Pack (SAIP) with Bb Learn over LTI #osd6 http://t.co/0T3nQzc http://t.co/f76y7B5
2011-07-10 18:22:58

Oracle LIS adds PeopleSoft Campus Solutions LTI to integrate with LMS (like Blackboard Learn) Listening to Linda Feng #osd6
2011-07-10 18:17:35

At $4 a student SAIP is an expensive option.

DevCon11 Morning Keynote notes:
1 of 4 themes: Simplify – 9.1 SP6 software update center with HotFix, Service Pack and parter block http://t.co/lmqBZSn
2 of 4 themes: Empower – Java developer tool: Eclipse Plug-in – New->Project->Blackboard Building Block Edit bb-manifest.xml in a GUI
3.5 of 4 themes: Transform – the #GRCC block bbStats http://t.co/7GGU7i5
3.3 of 4 themes: Transform – CourseSites, New Bb 9.1 Admin Console
4 of 4 themes: Evolve – @johnfontaine Create echo system based on simple rules

“People are choosing communities” – not just software! @readmeray http://t.co/xoV0Yz1

DevCon11 John Fritz Keynote:

UMBC PHP reports from Bb http://t.co/6afr50k John Fritz’s research
UMBC finding based on BI “Students earning a D or F tend to use Bb 39 percent less than student earning higher grades.”
John Fritz talking about self-service for students based on Business Intelligence data from Blackboard Learn
Khan Academy on TED http://t.co/gDfCcnX

The only real object of education is to have a man in the condition of continually asking questions M.Creighton

CourseSites.com uses unfuddle.com for Issue Tracking and Management (Git hosting, Subversion, bug tracking) #devCon11
CourseSites.com uses public blogging in addition to internal LMS blogs. The engine is pebble.sourceforge.net
Want to use Bb Learn + Community, Collaborate, Connect? Get a free online course space at CourseSites.com by Blackboard
Audience question:”So can you add your own building blocks to CourseSites?” Free courses, not yet free managed hosting!
CourseSites.com is a managed hosting Bb 9.1 installation with experimental building blocks – a Blackboard University
CourseSites Re-Imagined by @johnfontaine. Using Spring 2.5 with Building Blocks to do magic – teach 5 courses free

From @Bb_Mobile team a new tool to validate if B2 will work for other versions of Bb Learn fibbba.blackboard.com

VCCS with 5TB Blackboard Learn install uses NetApp snapshot for backups of live database and keeps archive logs #ItWorks
VCCS has large Blackboard installation. Lessons learned: no to virtualization, no to Oracle RAC http://t.co/zZ00Kdw #GRCC
Virginia Community Colleges would use over 3 petabytes of storage if it wasn’t for Netapp magic – .5 petabyte of raw storage
Virginia Community Colleges: 281k students, 253 workforce, 130k courses, 1TB db, 5TB content, 17 app blades; disk on NetApp

Sir Ken Robinson: Civilization is a race between Education and Catastrophe (H. G. Wells) http://ow.ly/i/ekN7

@georgekroner: Congrats Blackboard Innovative Dev Award Winners http://twitpic.com/5q5ezj http://twitpic.com/5q5f1r #GRCC
#GRCC recognized during Bb Catalyst Award ceremony. Photo opp with the president of Bb Learn http://ow.ly/1uCfLe
Ray Henderson during Catalyst Award Ceremony: 1 million faculty worldwide use Blackboard http://ow.ly/i/ekWX

bbStats data aggregation project

The deeper understanding of trends and indicators insight of the Blackboard Learn system is the topic of many sessions at BbWorld11.  Administrators want to know what value the Learning Management System provides to the organization, faculty developers want to know how the system is used, and academic leadership wants to know how students are affected by it.  This business intelligence reporting has been targeted by community projects like ASTRO ( http://slidesha.re/a0Wio9 ) or UMBC reports (http://t.co/6afr50k ).  Now there is a commercial product coming from iStrategy camp, now call Bb Analytics.

This new Bb Analytics product (http://bit.ly/h4jKCW) includes a Financials module, Student Administration, and soon also Blackboard Learn module.  By extracting transactional data from the various sources and applying multi-dimensional queries in de-normalized database it creates a platform for reporting which can answer questions at the strategic level.  The benefits of having a commercial product in this space is not trivial.  While basic data warehouses can be setup and managed by community projects, the data storage issue, performance of the source systems have always been a substantial problem.  Now administrators will be able to answer questions like: what tools in Blackboard are used or not used heavily; what instructors are using or not using Blackboard; how grades in the SIS system correlate to activity of the specific students in the LMS system; does the LMS make a difference in improving student success.

The bbStats building block (http://projects.oscelot.org/gf/project/bbstats/) has a different target.  By using light-weight queries on transient data and querying some already compiled BI data in the Bb Learn system, it provides system health information as well as system growth trend.  As such it allows system administrators to monitor the environment and usage stats which help in performance problem resolution.  The basic BI reports which can be delivered to mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, etc) give a baseline of system behavior.

After discussing the project with many administrators and developers at the bbWorld11 conference, I decided to pilot a new approach.  While baseline established within the organization is important, it is of great value to compare performance and growth stats with other institutions.  If the community can identify the performance stats across organizations, we can then share the best practices which created the leaders in the benchmark.

The prototype metric which schools can chose to share is the Active Course growth.  If the school installs the bbStats building block, then complete the pilot signup form ( http://bit.ly/qNA0n1 ) the Active Course growth since Bb Learn was installed at the institution is graphed in comparison to other schools.  Just based on this metric we can identify adoption and semester trends.

Other metrics would be very interesting: what is the response time of your system ( given the inventory of your hardware ), what are the capacity peaks of your system, how many courses and users are present on your system.  Any of these comparisons across schools can join schools with problems to schools with solutions.  The comparative analytics experience across institutions is the future of LMS analytics.

Join the pilot project!

What is the bbStats OSCELOT project and what can it do for you?

What is bbStats?

It is a building block plugin for Blackboard Learn LMS which provides statistical and analytical data about the system.  The software reports live activity data and creates historical graphs.  The reports are available through the browser or via mobile app on the iPhone and Android.

What can bbStats do for you?

The building block reports important activity metrics:

1. How many guest (for Bb Learn Community clients)  and authenticated users ( for Bb Learn Basic) are currently on the system.  This can be reported in a single number, a graphical representation of a gauge, or historical perspective of how many users per hour were present on your system.  This report can be delivered to your phone via the mobile app.

This report is especially useful to system administrators in troubleshooting DOS attacks, WebDAV misconfiguration issues, or scalability issues.  This is also a good adoption metric.

2. Page views, course views, login attempts, active users, active courses, organizations are available in a graphical perspective based on the System Tracking data.  These graphs help to visualize the growth of the Bb Learn use over long periods of time.

3. Usernames of currently logged in users sorted by most active users at the top.  Another report shows most active users in any window of time.

4. The number of emails sent through the Bb Learn system.

5. The number of assessments taken in the Bb Learn system per hour.

6. A report which requires configuration can show how many faculty who are teaching in a specific semester have not logged into the system.  The same can be reported for students.

To see a video presentation of the features please visit: http://screencast.com/t/EXYhkoGC

Mobile app video: http://screencast.com/t/EaCqjM1pvA

The browser version provides convenient links to additional system administration resources like the Background Tasks, System Logs, Task Status, Configuration, and System Information.

bbStats is an open source project available for download from the OSCELOT building block repository at http://projects.oscelot.org/gf/project/bbstats/

bbStats project will be discussed during two Blackboard World 2011 sessions:

1. Leveraging Academic Analytics in System Administration, Professional Development, and Course Improvement

3:10 PM – 4:05 PM

Venetian Congress Center – Titian 2201A

Garry Brand, Professor, Grand Rapids Community College
Bill Faber, Professor, Grand Rapids Community College
Eric Kunnen, Director of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies, Grand Rapids Community College
Szymon Machajewski, Senior Blackboard Solutions Engineer / DBA, Grand Rapids Community College

Session Description
Identifying, collecting, reporting, and using system activity data from Blackboard is often a challenge. Come to this session to learn about a series of free Building Blocks that are available (such as BbStats and Project ASTRO) that enable you to collect, generate, and leverage reports of faculty and student activity in Blackboard.

2. Catalyst Award Winners Present and Share

4:15 PM – 5:10 PM

Venetian Congress Center – Titian 2306

Bill Harlow, Instructional Technologist, Tidewater Community College
George F. Hoffman, Blackboard Software Support Specialist, Shenandoah University
Sahar Javadi, Senior Manager, Community Programs, Blackboard
Szymon Machajewski, Senior Blackboard Solutions Engineer / DBA, Grand Rapids Community College
George Saltsman, Executive Director, Abilene Christian University
Melissa Stange, System Administrator, Shenandoah University

Session Description
Come to learn and listen to the selected winners of Blackboard’s Catalyst Awards will present their winning projects. Panelists will discuss a variety of topics focused on staff and professional development, collaborating with community members across institutions, and working with the Blackboard Developer community. You are sure to find a few nuggets of information that will inspire you at your own organization!


bbStats development ideas

The bbStats building block provides activity information for the Blackboard Learn system. Some of the metrics graphed in perspective of time include: total logged in user, active courses, assessments.

Features in the incubator include:

1. Service Engine Light
Based on certain log entries (out of memory), memory levels, of diskspace availability

2. Downtime history
There might be some ways based on external agent to check if the system is down, or based on app server mash (if multi app server env is used); but there might be a good way to identify downtime based on the number of entries in the activity accumulator or the queue, since no hits is unlike the historical trend in the system. This would report downtime if the system was frozen and possibly responding to http pings.

3. Fuel gauge
Based on CPU run level (over CPU number) or Memory swap use the system is running out of resources.

Keeping the theme of Motor City!

Please share your ideas of what would help you map out or provide symptoms of issues/questions you may be facing.

Preparation for BbWorld and DevCon

In preparations for the BbWorld and DevCon events I’m putting together a list of interests.  If I tweet them ahead of time people will include comments in the presentations, sometimes Blackboard folk will answer, finally it will help me to search out the answers at the event.

1. Bb Administration

– What the status of the Admin Control Panel. GRCC is now a part of the pilot, but a second wave.  I’d like to see the CP and play with it at the conference.

– Make sure to catch this session: “So Your Boss Wants you to Performance Test Blackboard Before you Go Live with the Next Release” by Steve Feldman, Senior Director Software Performance Engineering and Architecture, Blackboard

– Another one: “Reliability and Application Performance Solutions for Blackboard Learn” by Travis Foschini, Manager of Information Technology, Columbia Southern University, Charles Mims, Blackboard Systems Administrator, Columbia Southern University

– Another one: “Different Approaches to Single-Sign-On from Blackboard to Other Systems” by Jeffrey Kahn, Principal, Verbena Consulting

– Another one: “Offloading Input/Output on Blackboard Campus Edition Using Oracle Standby Database Technology” by Stephen D. Mund, Oracle Database Administrator, Nevada System of Higher Education

2. Development

– What are the ideas for combining OSCELOT listings with Bb Extensions.  It makes some sens to have one search engine for blocks

– Sessions to do: “Letting the Lunatics Run the Asylum: Students Developing Code for the Production Environment” by Malcolm Murray, LTT Leader, Durham University 


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