David Lyon

Bb World Conference '08 Report   show  hide

0 Index
1 Bb World 2008
   1.1 Summary
   1.2 For Discussion
   1.3 Disclaimer
2 Keynote Addresses
   2.1 Keynote - Steve Wozniak
   2.2 Keynote Thursday 8:30 AM
   2.3 Bb Keynotes - Blackboard's Next Generation
     2.3.1 Project NG
     2.3.2 Collaboration
     2.3.3 Other Changes
     2.3.4 Admin Panel
3 Technical Sessions
   3.1 Views from the Field: Rollout of Release 8.0
     3.1.1 Setups
     3.1.2 Initial Testing
     3.1.3 Rollouts
     3.1.4 Training Efforts
     3.1.5 Lessons Learned and Successes
   3.2 Managing Your System: Techniques and Approaches for the Blackboard Academic Suite
     3.2.1 Technical Tips
     3.2.2 Obtaining Useful Information from Bb Error Logs
     3.2.3 Blackboard Won't Start
     3.2.4 Fixing Bb Beyond Building Blocks
     3.2.5 Patches
     3.2.6 Building an Environment
   3.3 Liposuction
     3.3.1 Where Digital is Located
     3.3.2 Blackboard Academic Suite Context
     3.3.3 Eastern�s Story
     3.3.4 Space Reduction Strategies
     3.3.5 Instructional Digital Content Ecosystem
     3.3.6 Management Models
     3.3.7 Summary
   3.4 Performance Forensics
     3.4.1 Methodology
   3.5 Federated Repository
     3.5.1 Challenges
   3.6 Getting There: Upgrading to Releases Resulting form Project NG
     3.6.1 Upgrade Paths
     3.6.2 Bb 10
     3.6.3 Other Improvements
   3.7 Linux Roundtable
     3.7.1 Running RAC at Sac State - Mike Cooling
     3.7.2 Redhat Linux AS 2 at Kettering University - Donna Wicks
     3.7.3 Doug Johnson
   3.8 Advanced Performance Forensics
     3.8.1 Goals
     3.8.2 Definition of Performance Forensics
     3.8.3 Measuring the Session
     3.8.4 Resources vs. Intervaces
     3.8.5 Wait Events
     3.8.6 Sampling Tools
     3.8.7 More Information
   3.9 Providing Flexible End-User Tools in a System Management Environment
     3.9.1 Data Integration
     3.9.2 The Problem
   3.10 Bb Listening Session
   3.11 BOF Content System Administration Best Practices
     3.11.1 Best Practices for Faculty
     3.11.2 Effective use of EPortfolio
4 Support lab:
5 Networking

Index   show  hide

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 

< A

  A site for transient teachers.  -  3/3.10
  AI - the computer can be a teacher.  -  2/2.1
  ASH - Active Session History  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  Adaptive Release - simplify (Quick Adaptive Release)  -  3/3.10
  Admin Panel  -  2/2.3/2.3.4
  Advanced Performance Forensics  -  3/3.8
  Aggressive pricing structure for K-12 and Higher Ed  -  3/3.10
  Alternative hosting platforms (ITunes U), streaming server  -  3/3.3/3.3.3
  Alternative hosting platforms  -  3/3.3/3.3.3
  Any patch level equal to or higher than the base is supported.  -  3/3.2/3.2.5
  Apple Computer  -  2/2.1

< B

  BOF Content System Administration Best Practices  -  3/3.11
  Backing up content with course  -  4
  Batch enroll (file) for Organizations  -  3/3.10
  Bb 10  -  3/3.6/3.6.2
  Bb Classic 8  -  3/3.6/3.6.1
  Bb Keynotes - Blackboard's Next Generation  -  2/2.3
  Bb Listening Session  -  3/3.10
  Bb World 2008  -  1
  Bb is doing better behind the scenes work between tracking and development  -  3/3.10
  Bb strips out JS script in HTML editor to avoid XSS issues  -  3/3.10
  Behind the Blackboard - they are bringing in experts to redesign the BhB site  -  3/3.10
  Best Practices for Faculty  -  3/3.11/3.11.1
  Blackboard 8 Upgrade Path  -  3/3.6
  Blackboard Academic Suite Context  -  3/3.3/3.3.2
  Blackboard Improvements  -  2/2.3
  Blackboard Release 9 - first common codebase release  -  3/3.6
  Blackboard Won't Start  -  3/3.2/3.2.3
  Blackboard  -  3/3.3/3.3.1
  Blank/Messed up My Grades view for Students - if clear attempt, student  -  3/3.1/3.1.5
  Building an Environment  -  3/3.2/3.2.6

< C

  CE 4 and CE8 Enterprise Options  -  3/3.6/3.6.1
  CSS customization ,etc (expand product)  -  3/3.10
  Can you debug for us, instead of having us debug for you?  -  3/3.10
  Catalog and publishing all requests and make available - from channels.  -  3/3.10
  Challenges  -  3/3.5/3.5.1
  Check release notes on Find:(Behind the Blackboard).  -  3/3.2/3.2.5
  Closing Points  -  2/2.1
  Co-Production  -  3/3.6/3.6.1
  Collaboration  -  2/2.3/2.3.2
  Collect evidence, interview  -  3/3.4
  Contact your client manager - solutions engineers - performance engagements.  -  3/3.2/3.2.6
  Content System  -  3/3.3/3.3.1
  Content management.  -  3/3.3/3.3.4
  Cordiant Truesight  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  Course Administration  -  3/3.9/3.9.2
  Course Assist - Alerting  -  3/3.9/3.9.2
  Course Assist Module  -  3/3.9/3.9.2
  Course Maintenance (they were gathering garbage and clutter)  -  3/3.3/3.3.3
  Course Restore Errors  -  3/3.1/3.1.5
  Courses not being recycled  -  3/3.3/3.3.3
  Creature comforts - icon for announcements  -  3/3.10
  Custom reporting  -  3/3.6/3.6.2

< D

  Data Integration  -  3/3.9/3.9.1
  Database Instrumentation  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  Definition of Performance Forensics  -  3/3.8/3.8.2
  Developing a Hypothesis  -  3/3.4/3.4.1
  Developing a Problem Statement  -  3/3.4/3.4.1
  Digital drop box handling of files with # in it.  -  3/3.10
  Disclaimer  -  1/1.3
  Discussion board issue /security - they want to take off line.  -  3/3.10
  Disk quotas are not enabled (now at 250MB)  -  3/3.3/3.3.3
  Doc servers  -  3/3.3/3.3.1
  Doug Johnson  -  3/3.7/3.7.3

< E

  Eastern�s Story  -  3/3.3/3.3.3
  Effective use of EPortfolio  -  3/3.11/3.11.2
  Equation Editor, when will it be fixed?  -  3/3.10
  Evidence  -  3/3.4/3.4.1
  Expansion across k-20  -  3/3.6/3.6.2
  Export and Archive Files not removed from shells  -  3/3.3/3.3.3

< F

  Federated Repository  -  3/3.5
  Fiddler2  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  Files not optimized for web delivery  -  3/3.3/3.3.3
  Find next piece of data - typically at the database level  -  3/3.8/3.8.7
  Fixing Bb Beyond Building Blocks  -  3/3.2/3.2.4
  For Discussion  -  1/1.2
  Fresh Install  -  3/3.6/3.6.1
  Functional  -  1/1.2

< G

  General questions  -  3/3.1/3.1.5
  Getting There: Upgrading to Releases Resulting form Project NG  -  3/3.6
  Give students ability to download in variety of formats  -  3/3.10
  Goals  -  3/3.8/3.8.1
  Grade book exports not complete  -  3/3.10
  Gradebook lockout feature  -  3/3.10
  Greater assessment capabilities  -  3/3.6/3.6.2

< H

  HTTP and User experience  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  Have BhB looked at for accessibility  -  3/3.10
  Human interactions - training, consulting, quotas/warnings will net good results.  -  3/3.3/3.3.4

< I

  IBM Patter Modeling Tool for Java GC  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  Identify the Problem  -  3/3.4/3.4.1
  Identify the component - struts exception is in bb-sqlerror-log.txt, bb-services-log.txt.  -  3/3.2/3.2.2
  Importance of Cost Execution  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  In Bb 9 you can drag and drop announcements to re-order them.  -  3/3.10
  In-Place Upgrade  -  3/3.6/3.6.1
  Inactive or outdated courses (Lifecycle Management - now part of fitness program)  -  3/3.3/3.3.3
  Initial Testing  -  3/3.1/3.1.2
  Instructional Digital Content Ecosystem  -  3/3.3/3.3.5
  Integration of outcome based rubrics, etc  -  3/3.6/3.6.2
  Intelligence becomes a measure of agreement, rather than thinking to solve a  -  2/2.1
  Interviewing  -  3/3.4/3.4.1
  Is the server accessible from outside the perimeter?  -  3/3.2/3.2.4
  Issues  -  3/3.7/3.7.2
  Items to look at when choosing a LMS Framework  -  3/3.10

< J

  JHAT, JMAP and SAP Memory Analyzer  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  JSTAT  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  JVM Instrumentation tools  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  Jeff Black, Melbourne Australia  -  3/3.1/3.1.5
  Join bb Idea's Exchange - helps to implement product.  -  3/3.10

< K

  K-12 Issues  -  3/3.10
  Kettering University  -  3/3.1/3.1.5
  Keynote - Steve Wozniak  -  2/2.1
  Keynote Addresses  -  2
  Keynote Thursday 8:30 AM  -  2/2.2

< L

  LDAP issue (setup with service account)  -  4
  Lack of knowledge of streaming servers/ITunes  -  3/3.3/3.3.3
  Larger Quotas  -  3/3.3/3.3.3
  Learn techniques of data and analysis  -  3/3.4
  Lessons Learned and Successes  -  3/3.1/3.1.5
  Linux Roundtable  -  3/3.7
  Liposuction  -  3/3.3
  Load time (800x600 resolution causes - too many fixed columns)  -  3/3.1/3.1.5
  Locate content in the best location depending on delivery needs  -  3/3.3/3.3.4
  Log Analyzers  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  Log Artifacts  -  3/3.4/3.4.1
  Look at the Capacity Planning Guide  -  3/3.2/3.2.6
  Look at the Community Link Section  -  3/3.2/3.2.6

< M

  Make sure certificates are valid and properly setup (not self-signed, need  -  3/3.2/3.2.4
  Make sure custom jars are in Systemlib directory (not there after upgrade).  -  3/3.2/3.2.3
  Make sure customizations are reapplied to authentication.properties and bb-config.properties  -  3/3.2/3.2.3
  Make sure ports needed are open for bidirectional communication.  -  3/3.2/3.2.4
  Make sure the SSL certificates are in place.  -  3/3.2/3.2.3
  Management Models  -  3/3.3/3.3.6
  Managing Your System: Techniques and Approaches for the Blackboard Academic Suite  -  3/3.2
  Measuring a User Session  -  3/3.4/3.4.1
  Measuring the Session  -  3/3.8/3.8.3
  Media servers  -  3/3.3/3.3.1
  Message system - need to investigate email - but Email not saved anymore  -  3/3.10
  Methodology  -  3/3.4/3.4.1
  Money in schools comes from how many votes there are.  -  2/2.1
  Monitoring and Measurement  -  3/3.4/3.4.1
  More Information  -  3/3.8/3.8.7
  Motivation more important than content. Make computers a little bit joyful.  -  2/2.1

< N

  Networking  -  5
  New Features  -  3/3.10

< O

  Obtaining Useful Information from Bb Error Logs  -  3/3.2/3.2.2
  Optimize PDF, zip, Photoshop and use Google tools for image optimization (bandwidth).  -  3/3.3/3.3.4
  Optimize files for online delivery  -  3/3.3/3.3.4
  Option to open gradebook into new window  -  3/3.10
  Oracle OEM and 10046  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  Oracle Performance Issues  -  3/3.1/3.1.5
  Organization Rules  -  3/3.9/3.9.2
  Other Changes  -  2/2.3/2.3.3
  Other Improvements  -  3/3.6/3.6.3

< P

  Patches  -  3/3.2/3.2.5
  Performance Forensics  -  3/3.4
  Perl - modperl, Perlex error log  -  3/3.2/3.2.2
  Power in hands of faculty  -  3/3.10
  Project NG Sharing  -  3/3.10
  Project NG  -  2/2.3/2.3.1
  Promote Desired Behavior  -  3/3.3/3.3.4
  Providing Flexible End-User Tools in a System Management Environment  -  3/3.9
  Pushing to mobile devices  -  3/3.6/3.6.2
  Putting Collectors/Sensors in Place  -  3/3.4/3.4.1

< Q

  Question Highlights  -  2/2.2
  Question Highlights  -  3/3.1/3.1.5
  Questions  -  3/3.9/3.9.2
  Quota Reduction tools  -  3/3.3/3.3.4
  Quota awareness  -  3/3.3/3.3.4

< R

  Reading Java Errors  -  3/3.2/3.2.2
  Recycle  -  3/3.3/3.3.4
  Redhat Linux AS 2 at Kettering University - Donna Wicks  -  3/3.7/3.7.2
  Related Tools  -  3/3.5/3.5.1
  Reporting  -  3/3.9/3.9.2
  Reset/Clear attempt - walk user through  -  3/3.1/3.1.5
  Resources vs. Intervaces  -  3/3.8/3.8.4
  Response time (multiple samples to get skew factor to get transaction response time)  -  3/3.8/3.8.7
  Rollouts  -  3/3.1/3.1.3
  Running RAC at Sac State - Mike Cooling  -  3/3.7/3.7.1

< S

  SCORM best practices  -  4
  SafeAssign and Sync don't work with Facebok  -  3/3.10
  Sampling Tools  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  Setup Huge_Pages for SGA  -  3/3.7
  Setups  -  3/3.1/3.1.1
  Social Learning Spaces/Wikis  -  3/3.6/3.6.2
  Space Reduction Strategies  -  3/3.3/3.3.4
  Start w/HTTP client experience (advanced log analysis, http profilers, user  -  3/3.4/3.4.1
  Summary  -  1/1.1
  Summary  -  3/3.3/3.3.7
  Summary  -  3/3.9/3.9.2
  Support lab:  -  4
  System Admin Panel  -  3/3.6/3.6.3

< T

  Technical Sessions  -  3
  Technical Tips  -  3/3.2/3.2.1
  Technical  -  1/1.2
  Test LDAP user and for fail-over  -  3/3.2/3.2.1
  Test with user not in LDAP, just in Bb  -  3/3.2/3.2.1
  Testing LDAP  -  3/3.2/3.2.1
  Text box editor in Bb 8 is a non-applet editor.  -  3/3.10
  The DB is designed to present session and wait events - with less impact to  -  3/3.4/3.4.1
  The Problem  -  3/3.9/3.9.2
  Tomcat (odd http information too) - catalina.out  -  3/3.2/3.2.2
  Training Efforts  -  3/3.1/3.1.4
  Types of data  -  3/3.4/3.4.1

< U

  University of Cincinnati  -  3/3.1/3.1.5
  Update settings - walk user through process  -  3/3.1/3.1.5
  Upgrade Paths  -  3/3.6/3.6.1
  Use Find:(Behind the Blackboard)  -  3/3.2/3.2.6
  Use the Hardware Sizing Guide  -  3/3.2/3.2.6
  Users Unable to Authenticate  -  3/3.1/3.1.5

< V

  Vendor relationship - long haul support  -  3/3.10
  Version update (go to 7.3 then to 8)  -  4
  Views from the Field: Rollout of Release 8.0  -  3/3.1

< W

  Wait Events  -  3/3.8/3.8.5
  Walk through profile - figure out where time is spend - fiddler2, etc.  -  3/3.8/3.8.7
  Web Optimization Training (reduce raw image files)  -  3/3.3/3.3.3
  Where Digital is Located  -  3/3.3/3.3.1
  Why are you gaining fat?  -  3/3.3/3.3.3
  Windows Tools (RML and Profiler)  -  3/3.8/3.8.6
  Write problem statements  -  3/3.4

< X

< Y

< Z

< Bb World 2008

Bb World, the international conference where Blackboard, their partners, and clients all meet was held in Las Vegas this year, July 14-17. Bb world included keynotes from some notable people, including Steve Wozniak and Donna Shalala. I was mostly interested in the technical/sessions, finding out the future direction of Bb, and Tomcat/Apache under the hood. The theme of this year's conference - "Ideas into Action". See the Wordpress Blog for more highlights.

< Summary

< For Discussion
< Disclaimer

The following information was derived (much of it in paraphrase) from the Bb World conference 2008. In some cases, session slides are available. This report is an attempt to encapsulate the most useful information from my perspective, bearing in mind that the PowerPoint slides do not always contain everything presented.

The information presented here is deemed to be as accurate as possible but no guarantee is made. This report should not be seen as an official report but instead, as a draft resource document/compilation of note. Notes taken during the keynote were not necessarily intended to be direct quotes.

< Keynote Addresses

< Keynote - Steve Wozniak

Wozniak has a long history with Apple Computer, being one of he founders. His talk focused on the value of education. He discussed his support for teaching in local schools and he also gave us some of his biographical history. He emphasized that raw power is not always the best solution but that human intellect is often the best tool.

He talked about his early days in computer architecture and his goal to get the most out for the least in. To his advantage, he had no money. He would design a computer over and over again – from manuals he got. He would try to improve on the design and save chips.

He also talked about intrinsic motivation based on what people see (title, salary, awards, things) and the motivation where we do something because we want to, and nobody pays attention.

He started very first dial-a-joke using Polish jokes (in sf bay) but polish people there were upset so he changed to Italian jokes.

< Keynote Thursday 8:30 AM

Presenter: Donna Shalala, President of the University of Miami

Changing curriculum is like trying to move a graveyard. Shalala said that 65 percent of Miami courses are on Bb primarily to manage information and tests. Their disaster recovery program is hosted by Bb managed hosting. They have used Bb extensively and have upgraded to 8.0 recently. Donna uses Bb extensively for a class she is teaching. She uses blogs extensively and uses blog assignments. She uses it to transform the class into a living document. She teaches policy and Bb is a natural for that. Her syllabus changes during the class – it is dynamically different throughout the week. Because the course is interaction, it keeps the students attention. Students are not required to attend the class but do. The point: she can run a live classroom on a contemporary issue and her students can be as knowledgeable as anyone in that area.

There are things on Bb she doesn't need and she gets frustrated. Bb does allow her to improve the student centered goal. Bb is a tool providing a way to becoming more student centered. As students gain more confidence in class, they ask more questions but at the beginning, they feel more free to ask online. She sees the class transform online.

The new challenges – assessment, assessment, assessment. Accrediting agencies are asking us to put more assessment in place. Our ability to do this is going to be critical and critical to the country's willingness to support higher education. What we are doing has everything to do with the future of the the country. Most important, our understanding of how critical what we are doing is to the future of the country. Nobody competes with us at the higher education level. In large part, because we have been very creative and willing to change. Nobody has our ability to produce world class leaders, scientists, etc. We've spent five decades modernizing our institutions and need to spend the next decade shaping our institutions. We need young people who can adjust to new technologies and respect traditions. Having people who can adjust 30 years from now is the real challenge for Higher Ed – how they learn is critical to that new preparation. Her course is a platform for them to know how to mine through a lot of information. Preparing young people for their 3rd job, not their first job is the real challenge. That is the test at the end of the day, and their ability to absorb technology, respect other cultures, read well and write well.

There are some very good things that will help us. We are changing generations. The generation behind them was born with computers. A generational transformation will take place. We are between 3-5 years away from massive adoption of different ways of using technology in teaching – this will be the general change.

The improvement in quality. The integration of social networking into the technology. The students who correct each other are usually right on top of the subject. Rarely does Donna intervene, she just watches the blog. The student experience is going to be increasingly team based and 24x7. The Bb platform, which she is a fan of, gives wonderful opportunities. Her central focus is the platform. Quality will be improved through social networking.

The Obama campaign employs wide spread use of social networking. She predicts that Universities will catch on and shape their images carefully using MySpace, YouTube, and other elements to shape young people's views of those institutions. Watch what the Yale people are doing. Donna has to drag the students into using traditional print media.

We are all content producers and publishers. Higher Ed has had a tougher time because of the way in which we are organized. With the help of students, we'll transform that picture, and Bb is helping. When will we transform into a student centered campus, enhance and assess learning, be a partner with that faculty? We need more leaders to get back to the classroom. This is very difficult to achieve. The Higher Ed institute of the future will be using a hybrid model. Donna sees a bright future for Higher Ed in the area of jobs and the economy will boost Higher Ed.

< Bb Keynotes - Blackboard's Next Generation

Michael Chasen, CEO of Blackboard and Russ Carlson, President of North America Higher Education for Blackboard spoke about Project NG (Next Generation), really a buzzword for Bb next versions (9 and 10).

Some of the successes were mentioned, such as a good ROI at Central Florida because of distance learning. Columbia, South America is using Bb to train its workforce - of over 1,000,000 strong, probably the largest in world.

< Project NG

Project NG was built from the ground up with Web 2.0 technologies. It is slated to be the best of Blackboard and WebCT. It is a multi-year release plan. Bb release 9 is the first codebase with some combined features and Release 10 will be the finished version. There is a full institutional portal, drag and drop, themes and a new look. Bb NG will have a dashboard view of courses in one place, summarizes tasks, and have all course announcements aggregated in one area. They will support links to Sakai, WebCT, and others. They have opened up the APIs to aggregate into a single entry point to the school. Course tasks and announcements can be rolled up from other LMS as well.

The Instructor Dashboard will include announcements in courses, postings, blogs, journal, alerts(past due), students not online, and custom alerts. They are also working on SMS and Email methods to receive the alerts. This is a "Needs Attention" item. Instructors accessing a course for the first time get the "Welcome to your course wizard". Textbook imprints are supported. The course site can be pre filled with content based on that textbook. Another improvement, the instructor panel is available on the main course page, not a separate control panel. It is easy for faculty to create and edit this content. The underlying technology avails of DHTML, and AJAX to drag and drop on the page. Teachers doing development on other Web 2.0 sites can use a mash up to include Digg, YouTube, etc – directly into the course. They have also added adaptive release for content. You can also link standards to pieces of content and instructors can add their own standards. CSS allows for development of custom themes so one could create a unique personal theme. One can also easily design the course menu. The features are also accessible by keyboard for screen readers.

< Collaboration

Blogs are now supported but Bb goes way beyond a blog. Groups can have blogs, instructors can have them, and other users can subscribe to them. Bb Journals are used for personal reflection and one on one dialog. Also, a blackboard tool can run inside of Sakai, and vice versa.

For groups, they will have dedicated spaces with powerful collaboration tools. Group users will have "What's New" in their group, "What's Due", calendar, and content.

< Other Changes

Some other nice improvements, drag and drop can be used to re-order, there are now twenty assessment question types with visual elements. One can see the grade center and open an entire assessment for a user.

You can switch grade center between courses while in one course's grade center.

There is built in plagiarism protection, a lesson plan feature, activities, pre-selected content and you can include assessments, other resources like a bibliography. You can run Bb English and run a course in Spanish.

New community features include a Social Learning Space, Facebook integration, Merlot and other custom tabs.

New Content System features include a context menu. There are new portfolio features, and links to artifacts. One can includes page level comments, and reflections.

The Bb Outcomes System that provides institutional assessment can plan, measure, and improve at all levels of the institution. Bb Scholar is the best of both. The Scholar can allow connections across institutions. You can message recipients via map, and other means.

< Admin Panel

The new Admin Panel allows for customization and interfaces with EDUGARAGE. One can empower administrators to push E-learning out to where students are at. Take Facebook for example. Grades are not sent to Facebook, but a link is placed there.

Bb for iPhone is in the works (available as of this writing). They are also launching bb for cellphones (SMS). Bb Connect is a service to receive emergency messages. Also Bb for My Yahoo is in the works and Bb is also being developed for iGoogle. Bb is creating an open system, empowering faculty to push information out to students, a truly open environment.

< Technical Sessions

< Views from the Field: Rollout of Release 8.0

This session was a panel of system administrators who had deployed Bb release 8.0. They provided their first-hand experience in upgrading to release 8.

Donna Wicks of Kettering University said Bb 8 was one of the better versions she had used.

< Setups

Kettering University was using Linux 7.2. The upgrade to version 8 took 20 minutes not including the 2 hours for the DB export. The University of Cincinnati upgrade took about 6 hours. Some report 4 hours and at least one used rsync to replicate other servers.

< Initial Testing

The University of Oregon has two app servers and an Oracle server. They tested the conversion using a replication of live courses. The first test conversion took five hours with 1700 courses per term. Their Oracle server was updated to support 64 bit w/more memory. The app servers were being upgraded to dual core and now they estimate a 2 hour conversion.

After the test, they did a data comparison between production and test - to make sure there was no data loss. They tried all different browsers on PC and Mac. They also had faculty do a "preview". They learned a lot of how faculty want to use the gradebook, and took notes to help with training. The beta test program allows one to load a course into Bb's site and do local testing.

< Rollouts

One school reported that 8.0 will be a clean installation. They will take requests to move course sites over and won't automatically set up course shells, just by request. They believe this will help them a lot.

Wayne State University has courses from 1999 and can't get rid of any data. The old courses are from CourseInfo. They are on 8.0 SP2 (went from Sp1 to Sp2).

At Kettering, there was a little grumbling because they went live a week before grades were due.

An immediate problem is with IE, auto-refresh - so need to set it to refresh at every visit.

This did not come up at Kettering when doing the testing. They have been live for six months and have had no issues. Things have pretty stable with the rollout.

< Training Efforts

Wayne State got burned by not doing training in the past. They were part of the beta test. All of the trainers and support got to go and revamp documentation. People could preview it. Training people now do custom training at workshops to get people to go to grade center training. They also have "Train the Trainer" sessions. They opened up their Q/A system to faculty to log in and test it. They had a speaker at the Help Desk retreat so they would be ready for the rollout. They took 5-6 months to get ready.

The University of Chicago is on Bb 6.3. The challenge is to convince faculty how grade center works. Convincing them to come to training is a challenge. They refer to it as Learning Opportunities, not training. They will likely do group and individual sessions every day from August to October.

At the University of Cincinnati, they created documentation on support (one how-to) and specific guides on commonly asked questions. They have one general guide, and five focused guides (general guide – using grade center, focused guides - using calculated columns in grade center, dropping grades, downloading grades, organizing the grade center, using smart views in the grade center, and giving extra credit.)

Kettering created a multi-section HTML module – and a tab page module for within Blackboard. Only two faculty came directly to Donna Wicks, the Bb Administrator. If you have the community system, use it to your advantage. She condensed Bb's professional documentation. There was a time savings by pointing people to certain links.

< Lessons Learned and Successes
< Managing Your System: Techniques and Approaches for the Blackboard Academic Suite

This was presented as a top 10 support faqs. At first, it seemed at a first grade level and I didn't think I would find value but well into it, there was some very useful information.

Bb backups should be daily. Database backups via Oracle. File system backup � especially, content folder, daily. They recommend a test server.

Practice your disaster recovery plan. Test validity of DB and file system backups.

< Technical Tips

To see if system tasks are running, look at the update-dools.log.

Look at blackboard/logs/content-exchange and check date of last five archives to make sure the logs are rotated.

For LDAP, use one server at setup, then add servers after setup.

Make sure your base search doesn't search unnecessary information.

Can establish a privileged user (priv_user=true) as in:

auth.type.ldap.user_tag.1=sAMAccountName (type of conecton/container)
< Obtaining Useful Information from Bb Error Logs

< Blackboard Won't Start

If blackboard won't start after an upgrade, what can one do?

< Fixing Bb Beyond Building Blocks

< Patches

What patches are supported?

If Java 1.5 is supported for base, then any 1.5 branch is supported. It is the same with Oracle 10g.

< Building an Environment

How to build an environment for institution for our size?

< Liposuction

Presented by: TBD

Eastern Wash University has 10000 students, 1200 course shells/quarter, 400+ instructors and are now Blackboard ASP hosted.

Digital fat is expensive and unhealthy. The presenters discussed a variety of strategies to remove digital fat to save tens of thousands of dollars. This was a very creative session. They burned an order for $ 200,000 in disk costs to make one a hero at work.

Digital fat is electronic content that is excessive in size or no longer active or unhealthy for other reasons (or all).

< Where Digital is Located

If you have wide adoption of ePortfolio's, you may have a lot of digital fat.

Why care? It is good to have healthy content because it is costly to store (SAN costs), the network is impacted (pushing in backups), server response time, etc.

< Blackboard Academic Suite Context

Disk space is cheap and you may not want to hassle instructors and have already tried to change their behavior. It is too complicated to manage the space and we want to encourage, not discourage the use of Blackboard.

Lets look at an example. One Terabyte = SAN w/1TB retail cost is $33,500 plus $2,000/year for education over 5 years. This is raw disk space – drop the parity drivers, hot spare, snapshot disk space, disk space for backups. So, you need 2TB to have 1TB usable, doubling your cost to $ 75,000. You can gain $ 25,000 in savings if you can trim 1TB.

The Sloan Consortium, predicts a 9.7% growth per year for online enrollments. Compounded over time, eLearning enrollments will double in 7.5 years. Electrical costs will skyrocket.

< Eastern�s Story

About a year and a half a go, Eastern Kentucky was in the process of moving to Blackboard ASP. Eastern had an atypical model with high faculty ownership (self enrollments, persistent course shells) and after moving to ASP, they approaching allotted space limits. They needed a strategy to address digital fat growth by buying space, implementing quotas, maintenance procedures, or could just forget about it. They did a themed approach to get instructor buy-in. This was a multi-phased implementation including:

< Space Reduction Strategies

Disable assignments, drop box, files attachments for discussion boards, student file exchange, archive/export via the system control panel. The dropbox is a free storage place for students as the instructor cannot see them (apparently).

< Instructional Digital Content Ecosystem

The presenter discussed the Digital Content Ecosystem and presented the following diagram.

Include the graphic here.

< Management Models

This is similar to the business as a grocery store. You have shelf life, an agreement to remove oldest/least used content off the server, with the oldest/unused removed first (after notifying customer).

In the system modeled after a hospital, you would have an emergency cut-off. Which is better?

< Summary

Digital fat is expensive and unhealthy – intervene before a crisis. The costs for usable space is going up and related gear must be considered. The growth trend is up, not down.

This institution�s content space went from 177 GB down to 144 GB. Almost all of their 10000 students touch Bb and they do about 2000 assessments a day. About half of courses have a Bb presence (they offer 2400 courses). ITunes is experiencing exponential growth.

< Performance Forensics

Presented by: Stephen Feldman, Blackboard performance expert.

Stephen is responsible for Bb scalability. This talk was on the science of uncovering performance problems.

Stephen introduced the concept, presented methodology, discussed the importance of session level analysis, and discussed techniques to arrive at a root cause.

At the end, we should be able to:

A practical definition of forensics would provide for interviewing, profiling, context of response time, have categories (response latency, queuing latency).

Stephen presented the following graphics covering the cognition of response times and the related frustration level. He also illustrated the queuing latency model.

< Methodology

We want to emphasize the user's experience and how they were affected, and their actions. How can we capture the response time experience of the user? We will use Method-R.

< Federated Repository

Presented by:

There is a wealth of content on repositories that can benefit educators and learners alike. The content is not easily discoverable. The Federated Repository Search Tool intends to solve many issues with discovery/reuse of content for users of the Bb CMS. Users will have a tool to search external repositories. It can re-use components using plugin architectures.

< Challenges

Configure add/remove/select with one codebase, talk to each target equally, and allow for great variety of repositories. Work with any schema type without customizing at the application level. Aggregate the assets at the Bb UI and run in Blackboard. Leverage the open source model.

Federated - search multiple repositories simultaneously, create common user experience.

This is a custom tool when you are in course documents. The version being developed here is using Web2 technologies (Ajax) rather than the current version's blank page. The user doesn't have to wait for all results, can browse what is returned.

Images and metadata are returned. The search result can now become a content item (or multiple results, multiple content items). The descriptive metadata was pulled and you can also modify it to your liking. You have control of the repositories that are available in the sys admin dashboard. You can also install repository plugins. Repositories can also be learning objects.

The project started because of a video project. There exists a database of the repository plugins. The important thing to know: are the repository implementations known?

< Getting There: Upgrading to Releases Resulting form Project NG

Presented by: Jessica Finnefrock

Jessica has been at Bb for 6.5 years, coming from Prometheus – creator of a cold fusion application. A huge milestone for Bb is to bring Bb and WebCT together. There are 130 people in 3 offices in North America on her staff. A third of their project development staff have been on board for 5 years or longer.

This will be available on webinars and on an FAQ. Server configuration information will also be on BHB along with sizing guides.

Project NG is more than one release, starting with Bb 8. Full capability will be realized with Bb 10. Bb 8 is Bb classic.

Bb 8 has common software as a service extensions through Safe Assign and Scholar. Bb 8 is a stability release – application pack 2. Blackboard 8 classic supports self and peer assessments, and enhanced gradebook w/smart grading (CE input). They are using Ajax to allow direct editing of grades. Smartviews have also been added. Bb 8 also introduces common numbering.

< Upgrade Paths < Bb 10

Blackboard 10 will include:

< Other Improvements

Bb9 will be the most scalable release to date. It will be lightning fast. Multi-institution support is on the roadmap. Bb9 will have 15 languages supported. It also includes the language pack editor to create language packs, change text on a page in an application/plug in. It also supports the modification of contextual help information in Bb.

Should participate in the beta program if planning Jan 2009 rollout. Bb 8 should be considered now – teams ready to help you. Jessica thinks there will be 500 clients on bb8 for fall (08), she thinks.

A Bb partner with Syracuse University will develop the Sakai connector. This will be open source tool. System admins have to do a little work to hook it up. Also, instructors will be able to move Ce8 to Bb 10.

Bb classic 7.3 integration to the Content System is not great at the System Admin level. They are planning on advancements to the CS to address these issues.

What will happen to building blocks? When upgrading to Bb8 and Bb9, everything should work but will have new customization. They aren't deprecating those APIs.

Check out sizing guide for information on multiple nodes.

Should be looking at multiple (tomcat) nodes.
< Linux Roundtable

Mike cooling of Sacramento State opened the session. Sac State runs a five node cluster, and use Oracle RAC.

Mike talked about his experience.

The Oracle parameter kernel.shmmax must be half physical memory if increasing memory on an Oracle server. Set sga_max_size to 0, sga_target to shmmax. Oracle 10G will tune the others if you set them to zero.

< Running RAC at Sac State - Mike Cooling

Bb will support Oracle RAC as long as you hire Bb to come out and certify it. SAC did the work so Bb didn't use the full 88 hours. It has been working great. You can take the engine down, do BIOS changes, but the application stays up and running. It was a great direction in which to head. You need to go to an Oracle cluster file system – they chose OCFS2 and Bb doesn't support AFS. You can see the files from UNIX. With ASM you are in a captive environment.

< Redhat Linux AS 2 at Kettering University - Donna Wicks

They did go with 64bit and Bb didn't object. They were running on 10g 2.01. They were still on AS3 but Bb doesn't support 5 but were aware that Donna would be going to 5. She has clones and did a new install of RH with 5. Installed the O/S in 20 minutes.

< Doug Johnson

Get the listserv address.

They discussed multiple instances of WebLogic on a single server, or multiple instances on multiple VMWARE instances. UFlorida is using VMWARE and having no issues.

Java has a memory issue where you can't assign more than 2GB. Consider 3 tomcat servers (cluster on one host).

One gentlemen said it seemed like they were running separate hosts. The tomcat cluster is a Bb instance. You can kill one of the tomcat clusters (kill command), restart one cluster. You can kill a JVM that�s overfilling heap – now the other two clusters keep going and don't know something is wrong. This kind of thing is a lot harder to do on a load balancer. When students are taking tests and you are taking an app server out of the mix, a student might not be able to complete the test due to shibboleth issues (they use). For maintenance, its absolutely one of the most helpful things (tomcat clusters). Killing cluster is usually not noticeable. Clusters are load balanced to. They use NetScaler that has a grace period (don't allow new sessions) and everyone gets put over to new machine. Failover would log everyone out (instant failover) due to shibboleth. One issue, the NetScaler cookie is valid forever.

< Advanced Performance Forensics

Seven Seconds Blob Steven Feldman's blog.

< Goals

Introduce performance forensics (practice), present argument or session level analysis, discuss difference between resources and interfaces, and present tools for performance forensics at different layers in the architectural stack and client layer. Weight Based Tuning and Analysis.

< Definition of Performance Forensics

Identify the top 10 transactions causing performance issues.

< Measuring the Session

It should happen when a problem statement cannot be developed form data you have (evidence or interviews) and when you need more data.

You want to do this by minimizing the disruption to production. Use adaptive collection which is less intensive to more intensive over time.

< Resources vs. Intervaces

This is one of the most critical data points to collect – interfaces are critical for understanding queuing models, another cause of latency and timeouts. Resources in turn are critical for understanding transaction cost (CPU, memory, I/O).

response time = service time + queue time

Quantify of interfaces on waits. Put in contexts the number of interfaces you have and the time, will help you understand latency and waiting.

Grand Rapids CC is capturing interface counts across all interface counts across the stack.

The number one use of resource is memory, due to behavior, application issues (abandoning session).

< Wait Events

Important for forensics and are used to count latency. Wait event tuning is used to account for latency. Exists in Oracle as 10046. Waits are statistical explanations for latency and they can help you develop a tuning strategy. Looking at aggregates and outliers could explain why a performance problem exists, rather than just looking at one. If sampling directly, you usualy only have one hour to act on the data.

< Sampling Tools < More Information


View his resources on www.scholar.com – do Advanced Search" and search by sfeldman@blackboard.com and tag: 'bbworld08' or 'forensics'.

What are 3 things to look at in Bb performance issue:

Look for clues at the application layer and log artifact to find out if an interface exists. then look at resource demand at the application container If the problem is heavily in the application layer, use tools and go to next layer using profiler.

Need trending data – mrtg, snmp based tools. Still comes down to frequency of your transactions and response time of your transactions. Capture some of the interfaces – netstat – find out which threads active. Pull some of the data out of the database.

< Providing Flexible End-User Tools in a System Management Environment

Presented by: Michael Garner, Griffith University, Brisbane

They have 37786 students, 5 campuses - 3 cities. They are running 7.1.3 and the CS.

< Data Integration

Creates the course sites, manages user accounts, primary portal roles, assignments of instructors, manages enrollments. This is the same as CPP.

< The Problem

See the table in the notes:

The processes they were using were not scalable. Needed to allow administration officers, instructors, etc to access pages for manual enrollment. didn't want users changing the core information – it needed to match with the SiS. domains were not a good solution, due to problems with roles and permissions.

3.9.3 the Solution

CaSAM (Course and School Administration Module) was created to provide course and school management within school admin portal tab, control panel, course assist.

For general staff, they implemented a way to request access through a form (Building Block). For school administration, they needed to be able manage courses, staff, and do reporting. They have a school administration function (a module) with drop down with schools that they are associated with. Then, they have a course list to pick from. It is easy to locate courses, have a one click entrance, flag to make available or unavailable, etc. Can easily create a start date, etc.

< Bb Listening Session

< BOF Content System Administration Best Practices

Moderated by :Dirk Funk

How are you using it?

I gave an overview of how we are using it.

Storing SCORM packages – using locator to copy into course Assessments as well – template into the CS.

Every document, every course is stored in content system. Move large files around.

Issue: password box popping up. Might be caused by branding links – requires authentication again. Sometime you can turn on cookie based authentication.

SCORM won't read the IMS metadata – useless for htat. Works differently for those that don't have that.

Do you catalog your objects? Import metadata? DIRK attaches metadata as they add.

Library started using it for electronic reserves. They hit a wall as it took so long to open things. They also had a problem with orphaned content.

DIRK had problem with orphaned content – TSM sent a tool to clean it out.

One person said they use it heavily for licensed content, outside materials. Can limit the availability of tools, etc – across the organization. track utilization of those resources and can remove those licenses. If link to outside content piece – create link in content system – teachers link to that, still have ability to track utilization.

Persistent links is a big deal – you can even change the file name and it still links to it. Now don't have to go through every course and do a re-link.

One client encourages the use of passes (book content). Pass document around instead of Email.

How are you handling orphaned content? Tool from Bb from TSM.

One client said they use CS as an asset repository. SCORM packages into an area

< Best Practices for Faculty

Any universities have policies about sharing content between academics (course). Any success in sharing content? Answer: In one institution, faculty own their own content. Another: the rights of using it is up to the school.

Dirk – heavier content into content system and shared. At a university level other issues come into play.

Another : a lot of resistance to understanding collaborative authorship. They've been trying to push faculty to do more courseware and shared content. Dealing with legacy thinking, syllabus, intellectual property. Another: best way to force sharing is to tell them that they cant.

< Effective use of EPortfolio

First year students (7000) have to create portfolio. Already have several thousands who have created them. That was the driver, portfolio system. They haven't noticed any performance issues with Portfolios but there are issues with Portfolios themselves (basic and personal) - want to merge them both but apparently can't. Because of persistant links, they'll go back to basic.

Its not required but they don't require it so not useful.

See: http://wwwdundee.ac.uk/mypdp

Bb Britian employee: Dundee have a very successfull portfolio program. Under a creative commons license, they will share that portfolio strategy with you. One reason was to increase the employability of students. They brought in career development.

DIRK: whenever needing new course, they create shell with pre-built pieces/content – comes from other teachers that have contributed to the repository. It has been really helpful to new teachers.

When you copy a course, the new course is linking to the old course content? One person does it as an external link – menu is pointed to the content folder itself!

You wouldn't label content as time specific – said one.

DIRK: use master courses so content is preserved so teacher can modify their own copy of the master course. Master crse preserved. It would be a nice option to decide whether or not to copy content links when copying the course.

Conference conclusion.

< Support lab:
< Networking

University of Toronto – Portfolio project, voice recognitions, executives using Cell phones to update content



jmart Load test (last presentation before CS)

Ryerson – and CS issues – after last session