Bb World Conference '08 Report
1 Bb World 2008
1.2 For Discussion
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
2.3.3 Other Changes
2.3.4 Admin Panel
3 Technical Sessions
3.1 Views from the Field: Rollout of Release 8.0
3.1.2 Initial Testing
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
3.2.6 Building an Environment
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
3.4 Performance Forensics
3.5 Federated Repository
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
3.8.2 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:
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
< AA 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
< BBOF 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
< CCE 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
< DData 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
< EEastern�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
< FFederated 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
< GGeneral 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
< HHTTP 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
< IIBM 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
< JJHAT, 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
< KK-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
< LLDAP 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
< MMake 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
< NNetworking - 5
New Features - 3/3.10
< OObtaining 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
< PPatches - 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
< QQuestion 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
< RReading 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
< SSCORM 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
< TTechnical 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
< UUniversity 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
< VVendor 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
< WWait 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
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.
< For Discussion
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 - 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.
Wozniak built a computer with 30-chips on board. He teamed up with Steve Jobs who wanted a computer for sell it for thirty dollars. HP was approached about building it but said no. Wozniak worked there at the time. Hence, Jobs and Wozniak formed Apple.
The Apple I was the first computer w/keyboard and TV display. The Apple II was color, and had graphics. Colors could move on the screen, it had high resolution, patterns, and sounds. With the Apple I , they got parts on 30 days credit and cycled computers in 10 days. The needed to build 1000 Apple II computers and needed $ 250,000. Commodore was approached but turned them down and would end up doing their own. Their VP of engineering left and came to Apple. Wozniak did not want to leave HP and would not be swayed by money. Jobs got relatives of Wozniak to call him. He got the idea so start a company, but not run it. He would leave HP and start Apple.
In 1978, it was the first year computers were allowed into CES in Las Vegas. "The human is more important than the technology" - do things in human ways so they don't have to figure out technical ways. This was apparently emphasized early on at Apple. They tested people with 2 way mirrors.
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.
She was involved in setting up the Dept of Education but thought it a bad idea at the time.
She will be giving faculty time off to free up courses to get key faculty in key courses to transform.
How do you maintain attention spans?
She gives information in different gulps – a testimony, film, journal article – boom boom strategy, give them information in different forms on same subject. People learn in different ways. The film gives them context (Example Sicko) - then she deconstructs it. She taught them to be class health policy analysts. You need to use larger bites with different mediums and that is really the Hybrid model and how they are using it.
see http://tinyurl.com/6dfg4k Bb8 using Ajax, new technology.
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.
Bb developed a tier two team and service level performance is up 23 percent, and satisfaction up 13 percent in only 90 days. They have expanded their hosting service and it has experienced a 30 percent staff growth, 50 percent more space which is state of the art. They developed the Bb ideas exchange with a best practices library and a community link with over 3500 clients worldwide so peers can fine each other and share ideas.
< 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.
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.
< 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< Managing Your System: Techniques and Approaches for the Blackboard Academic Suite
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.
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
See KB article on two session cookies. Bb has changed the mechanism slightly. Clear cookies/private data.
The parameters optimizer_index_caching and optimizer_index_cost_adj need to be changed. This provided a significant impact. Grade center is causing long operations and they still have an open ticket with Bb.
These occurred during clean installations.
They had issue with the select for the grading period. They had 6 of 330 course shells with this problem.
Needed to add an "and" into sql and recompile. It took a week to get it solved. An exact copy of the course also clears it.
The Math placement test was made available early – the calculated column feature made it easy. The Math department was able to use this to their advantage. They could not have done it without the calculated column. Also, smart views were great.
They have not yet rolled out Bb 8. They were one of first to get on 6.3, and one of last to get off of it. They are using WebCT Campus Edition as well.
Grade center history is now supported.
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.
< Technical Tips< Liposuction
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.
Can establish a privileged user (priv_user=true) as in:
Use the LDAP tool from Microsoft or open source tool. You can search for the privileged user.
The bb-services.txt log can be used to debug. Modify the blackboard/config/service-config.properties and set the verbosity=debug and run PushConfigUpdates. This will put ldap auth into debug state.
Only do this for about 10 minutes otherwise the log will fill up. Windows hangs after a 2GB file size. There are failovers for errors logging. Consider using them.
The java stack trace is the most common java error. At the top is the most recent method accessed, and the bottom is the first. The Blackboard component affected is contained in the stack trace. The entry in catalina.out has no timestamp and Bb 8 still doesn't differentiate between AM and PM.
If blackboard won't start after an upgrade, what can one do?
What patches are supported?
How to build an environment for institution for our size?
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< Performance Forensics
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.< 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:
They utilize the quota usage building block.
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).
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).
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.
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< Federated Repository
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.
Problems are not always easily identifiable. It involves a short interview.
Identify who is doing what in an area of the application and where/when. Can it be reproduced at all times, or is it conditional or unexplained. Associate to user operation. Also be able to quantify the "how slow is unacceptable"?
Techniques include "Lassie" question, time association, component/feature specific, operation specific, user experienced (data oriented – how much are they interacting with), and geographic location/connectivity. Avoid diagnosis bias and value attribution. Can you identify a pattern? Patterns are critical for a trend analysis. He says 80% of his job is understanding the cognition of the users.
Human nature lends to pre-diagnosis to label people, ideas, etc. This is a combination of gut feelings, irrational judgment, etc. Value attribution is that humans have a tendency to imbibe someone or something with certain qualities based on perceived values rather than objective data (I spent $250000 on a SAN, etc).
Avoid an open ended response. Isolate the area. This could take a very limited amount of time.
You may have log artifacts, tools to use (jstack), instrumentation/sensors, jmap, look at the database, get interactive evidence gathering through interviews, support evidence through discrete simulation, improve future evidentiary capabilities with more things that target data.
Understand where the logs are, what they are used for, whether they provide the right information. Keep them lean, learn how to associate and correlate (associate multiple log artifacts, correlate events to the problem statement). Keep logs under 1MB.
You need a sensor when you have a lack of evidence. Minimize disruption to production and use adaptive collection (less to more intensive).
Basic Sampling -> Continuous Collection -> Profiling
Use less intensive gathering to minimize risks to users.
There are excellent tools for trending.
Hypothesis versus Diagnosis. the hypothesis is of course an educated guess. A diagnosis is not necessarily correct but you have enough data gathered to propose one. Need some form of observation or testing. You need a problem statement in place for both. Both need supporting data to develop either.
Correlation – a time association is typicaly made. Every day correlation.
Measuring the user session is important to identify the bottleneck. How can system data help? It can't yet. The session will explain step by step.
Method-R is a preferred methodology for problem statement development/diagnosis. It was created for Oracle performance analysis. Figure out the 10 most critical transactions your users are doing – build a response time chart over time, captured daily, weekly, etc. Identify the most important user actions for the business so you can improve performance.
Develop a problem statement, evidence, hypothesis, correlated response times, proven hypothesis, established diagnosis. Step through the session.
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< Getting There: Upgrading to Releases Resulting form Project NG
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?
There are thousands of respositories out there, authoring tools. Pick the tool for the content you like. This is the direction of the work, provide a greater choice and latitude. You need a mediary for the middle ground. The open knowledge initiative was useful here to come up with an abstract notion of the kinds of dialog you have between content systems, databases, and user applications. A lot of content systems have been covered to work. Think of it as a print driver.
The presenter gave a demo of VUE Tufts which does a similar search feature.
The person who writes the connector is the person who needs to know how to connect to the search engine. Searches are sent out in parallel and return at different times. You can set the timeout. TUFTS wrote VUE. Someone who wrote the connector to Flicker (using the standard) can make that available to others (like a Bb building block).
Allow an environment for this kind of technology to appear in a variety of tools, addressing needs like the need to search for repositories first.
Merlot – there is also a connector for Merlot in this building block. There is a programmatic connector that can be used elsewhere too.
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.
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.
You have direct upgrade from 7.2 and 7.3 to Bb 8. You would do this for stability, grade center, and self and per assessment. Bb 7.3 will be supported through Oct 2011 and Bb 8 to Oct 2012.
This is the first Project NG release, with a common codebase for all clients. It has an all new Web 2.0 user experience. They (Bb) feel they've found the middle ground. Tools have been upgraded (SCORM for example) and new tools included. No database migrations are needed, no SIS integration changes, no new licenses, no changes to authentications. The key focus is on user readiness.
< Upgrade Paths< Linux Roundtable
You can stand up two production systems side by side.
CE4 basic requires a fresh install.
Bb 9 is installed separately, connect CE4/8 to Bb9 (takes 2 hours – bring users and courses to Bb 9). Do a fresh install, briefly install the connection, then use gui/command line to bring users and courses to Bb 9.
A great option is an in-place upgrade. You can also do a fresh install and bring users/courses over using a command line tool.
You should consider Bb 9 for 2009. If considering upgrade for Fall 2009, look seriously at bb9. Shoot for Jan-April on test servers, May-Aug for summer programs, and August/September for production.
Blackboard 10 will include:
Bb can host your preview or pilot system. You don't need to buy CS or Community system to migrate to bb 9. Releases are delivered in multi-year using the multi-application pack model. One application pack per year is anticipated.
Release notes/docs will have clear cross-walks for existing features. The Bb training group can help and come on site. Customizable training materials are available.
What happens to PowerLinks and Building Block tools after upgrade? They will standardize on building block technology. There are 300 blocks available – much easier to develop on, inherit user interface, and very little custom development of PowerLinks. PowerLinks have equivalent building blocks anyway.
What happens to customizations?
ePack and cartridges will update to bb 9. They will standarize on cartridge format - there are less ePacks availble and almost all ePacks have a cartridge equivalent.
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.
The System Administrators panel has changed with things moving around a bit. There are many things coming for administrators. They are adding granular system admin privileges (190 can be used for custom admin roles in Bb 9). They are adding really important customization features for users (34 billion colors). One can download the entire set of CSS and customization. You can make a truely unique Bb environment. You can have a unique look and feel for groups of users. Make it look like Moodle for example.
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.
Oracle 10g will use automatically and this involves several steps in linux (RHEL4).
Add memlock lines to /etc/security/limits.conf for Oracle reboot.
Page size 2048K so 614 of hugepages used by SGA
This locks SGA into memory. Blackboard did come out and certify 64bit RAC cluster, the only way to get optimal performance. A lot of Bb customers are doing it.
< Running RAC at Sac State - Mike Cooling< Advanced Performance Forensics
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.
You cannot have the SELINUX enabled on the Oracle side, must be disabled to get Oracle to install. She went to 10.2.0.3 rather than 10.2.0.4 and Banner is going to 10.2.03. Did an export/import – but that didn't work. did not have enough database files. Because of the failed import the first time, just re-ran the import. It did not put all rows because a table already existed. Application came up, seemed ok but on Monday AM, some classes had DB errors with the test.
Logged a ticket to Bb and they replied that they don't support RH5. truncated the table and imported the table herself. Very frustrating due to the immediate response. It is a risk with going to unsupported environment.
There an agent or RH AS5 10.2.0.4. See http://www.oracle- base.com/articles/10g/OracleDB10gR2InstallationOnRHEL5.php
She had no issue installing Oracle at all – a few issues with the agent at first due to wrong port number.
There is an issue in 10.2.0.3 with cursor sharing – do not set it to "force". This is a problem with Bb classic (what we have).
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.
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.
Seven Seconds Blob Steven Feldman's blog.
< Goals< Providing Flexible End-User Tools in a System Management Environment
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).
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
There are no tools that will tell you the breakdown. You have to look at each layer (DB, Disk, Client Rendering, Network, Application time). Also include analysis by scattered read.
Fiddler2 can measure end-to-end client responsiveness of a web request with little to no overhead. It captures requests to present httpd codes (200, 302/304,404,500 are important ones), size of objects, sequence of loading ,time to process the request, and performance by bandwidth speed. It produces a rough estimation of user experience based on locality. Steven uses it for most of his performance problems. This tool written by Microsoft. Microsoft is probably the most open company out there right now, says Steven.
Fiddler2 inspects every detail of the http request. You get breakdown of requests, geo-locations, statistics. It is good for analyzing dial-up issues and will compare with a network connections.
This is a commercial tool (expensive). It is used for passive user experience monitoring – it captures page, object, and session level data. It can define service level thresholds and automatic incident management. Tracks as if you were watching over the shoulder. It is exceptional for trend analysis – it is less intrusive. It�s primary use is for forensic analysis. Similar tools in the category include the Quest User experience, and
It is a passive network tap, behind the application.
There are both commercial and open source tools available to parse/analyze. Can provide trend data, client statistica data, http summary info. See notes for recomendations.
this is a low intrusive stats collector providing percent of usage by each region. See the graphic here.
See newsize, max.newsize – see the jvm settings. These aren't set by default and this can be problematic. the operation of cycling the object out is costly (Garbage collection). Avoid 99.9 percent in the old space column. FGC will start increasing. FGCT time will incease. Example: 3 sec of 5 seconds of application time, not good.
You can plug this recommended tool into the JVM at any time with low impact.
If you believe you have a problem, use these settings:
-VerboseGC and -Xloggc
This is a free open source tool for Java. Will graphic output. Will provide a view of usage and duration.
Would use these more intrusive when you are memory bound. This tool helps you visualize what area of the application is largest consumers of resources. Find what is using most memory, for example. This is great for troubleshooting PowerLinks and building blocks.
ASH gives you one hour of data. It runs on the Oracle side. It samples session activity in the system every second. SessPack and SessSnaper can also do this kind of thing with Oracle performance.
Hotsauce in Dallas is a low cost conference that is good to learn about open source.
SQL Server Performance Dashboard
Each DB uses an "Optimzer" to determine best execution path for SQL.
You want to get SQL statements and Wait errors. Understanding cost operations on a particular object can help change tuning strategy (table access by index rowid for example).
The query cost is the estimated elapsed time in seconds require to complete query on a specific hardware configuration.
These tools are useful for SQL Server. (See slide). There is a heavy overhead to both. Also consider Quest Performance Analyzer for SQL Server.
It includes a performance dashboard with great historical and present overview, access to ADM and ASH simplifies the job of the DBA.
View his resources on www.scholar.com – do Advanced Search" and search by firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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< Bb Listening Session
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.
There is an automatic enrollment into organizations based on the program-code and course ID, similar to what CPP does. They came up with form to do this. A school administrator can browse for an organization ID. They specify a program code.
They were able to produce a report function – course list by term code, course joins. They have a feature to create a parent and join children courses to it.
Course administration is in the control panel and is for instructors. They have an intermediate database that they use for storage.
They also have a copy content (course copy). A lot of it used to be manual. cannot copy from someone else's course. They also have a maintenance request that goes into a queue to that support group. They also turned of the default HTML editor and wrapped fsck editor into Building Block and have added that as a feature. With this, they can easily switch between visual or simple. They can also add/remove teaching staff. They have primary and secondary course conveners. They wanted to avoid people adding all their teaching staff as instructors. They can add as "Teaching Team". They can easily modify the teaching staff.
They put a workflow a subset of tools for novice academics to setup the course (it has 5 steps). Its extensible, easy to add to work flow.
this is a very well received feature. They added a Conveners staff tab and they can see the courses at a glance. There is also a SOA (School of Administration Tab) - they also have reminders and at-a-glance feature. For example – this course is within two weeks of starting, the academic has been reminding, but it is still not ready. They have also added Email tabs. Convener would get one email with a list of five courses that are available to be setup. Escalations. There is also a notice about courses without conveners. They created a bb-tasks that sets there and does it. That was a bit problematic.
Some of the developers are looking at using Spring for development and Quartz for scheduling. Email email@example.com.
The building block is heavily lined into the custom database so not very feasible for general distribution. They do use some of the Bb API for searches but also use an sql select. The users search proved unreliable and they have 100,000 users in their users table.
They have three java developers, two 2nd tier support people.
It will be interesting to see what works and does not work when they migrate to bb 8. Don't seem too worried.
How do you test?
They have automated functional testing and some manual testing. They also do load testing. They have a F5 load balancer and use loadsta to do load testing.
What development did the use? Netbanes – get copy of APIs (jars). They've used Eclipse in the past but found issues. They use aversion plugins. Wherever possible, they use the tab libraries.
Load tool : opensta (open Source)
They are creating a test framework – asking for funding, etc.
They are contemplating this.
There will still be an aggressive maintenance schedule for version 8 but new features will go to Project NG platform.
Zip archive is IMS client zip archive. Can you have a site for transient faculty to host their courses? Teachers pay 495$ to have access. There is also a product called Bfree to read your zip files.
Digital drop box is going away in Project NG.
They are building a larger focus on sharing and discovering in Project NG - much easier to find images/video, share professional content. Copyright issues.
Can build something more complex
They are looking at other editors and how to get the junk out of MS Docs but haven't come up with much other than small incremental changes.
People expressing concern about things referred to engineering and development. Chanoff says Bb working on it now. Encourages us to work with the TSM and bring client manager and support manager. He says it should be going on right now. It�s being worked on in beginning of this year. This is for tickets in development, on hold.
They do testing in multi-million testing lab, and outsource as well.
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
Does anyone use workflow? Seems it would be very, very useful. Response: wasn't designed around their business process. Bb employee: putting together lectures would have been fine, but the authentication was the problem – and workflow doesn't get the way academics work.
Another person indicated there were great features in the CS. They will use the CS as a digital asset system to describe student files that will be put on a server, but not licensed to distribute. Great and simple tool to catalog at a high level.
In one day, they lost 1000s of file uploaded to eReserve all gone, including back-end files, table, links. No solution yet, TSM doesn't know.
Vista and Web Folders – doesn't work. Went to Princeton site, said MS had taken web folders out of Vista. Need patch for Vista. Still doesn�t work with that patch. Can do with network drives.
(Moderator: Dirk Funk)
< 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.
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.
A lot of the time it is a vendor issue. If using the V7.2-3, you are limited to a 2004 player. Upgrade to 8.0 SP3 for the latest SCORM player and a new release for that Bb version is coming soon.
In 8.0.3, this is supported. however, you must specify where the content is to go - the original structure is not replicated.
The support rep thought the service account was primarily for the MS LDAP implementation, not the UNIX side.
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