Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Online Academy: Improving the Quality of Online Courses at VWCC

Online Academy is an innovative train-the-trainer program for faculty focusing on online course design, pedagogy, and best practices. About twenty faculty who are currently teaching and/or developing online, hybrid, or web-enhanced courses are invited to participate in this program. Participants will represent multiple disciplines and help establish, implement, and maintain an entity to support and mentor faculty who develop and deliver online credit courses. This program will prepare faculty to positively impact the design of online/blended courses, ultimately leading to student learning and success.

Specific Objective(s):
  • Identify the critical elements of online course design and development.
  • Explain the Quality Matters (QM) process and underlying instructional design principles.
  • Describe the eight general QM standards.
  • Apply the QM Rubric to the review of online courses.
  • Write and provide useful recommendations for online course improvement.
  • Receive “Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR)” certificate from Quality Matters.
Program Phases:
There are three phases of this program:
  1. Friday, June 19: One-day workshop focusing on introducing and implementing Quality Matters research-based standards and rubric (APPQMR workshop). Twenty faculty will be invited to participate this workshop. A certified QM facilitator, Dorothy Connelly, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Distance Learning at Blue Ridge Community College, will present this face-to-face workshop at VWCC.
  2. Following the workshop, an Online Academy Cohort will be established. All 20 faculty are invited to participate in the cohort. Regular meeting will be set up every month. A Blackboard organization site will be set up in Blackboard for organizing meeting content and share the dialog about best practice of online learning. The Online Academy Cohort meeting will focus on best practices of online learning and improve student online learning experience at VWCC. Guest speakers or experts in online learning and instructional design will be invited to present at the meeting. 
  3. In Spring 2016, an online course self-evaluation form based on Quality Matters standards and rubric will be developed to prepare faculty in designing and developing high quality online courses.
For questions about this program, please contact Carrie Halpin, Jonathan Bayer; or Dan Horine

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fall 2013 Course Deletion

All Fall 2013 (and prior) courses will be removed from Blackboard on December 15, 2014. Blackboard is not designed as a permanent historical archive of course activity. It is a production system for current classes. Keeping old courses can have a negative effect on the performance of the system for current courses and current students. This is why all courses are constantly archived and then eventually removed.
The criteria for removal at this stage:
  1. Course ID ending in "FA13"
  2. Or created before August 1, 2013

Monday, November 10, 2014

Blackboard Grader App Available on iPad Air, iPad 2, 3, or 4

The Bb Grader App provides teachers with a mobile solution for reviewing, providing feedback, and grading student submissions to Blackboard Learn Assignments.
Key Features
  • Inline viewing of student submissions for supported file types
  • Gesture-based interactions for grading and feedback
  • Support for audio and video-based feedback
  • Course and assignment level views
  • Integration with Multiple Attempts, Group Assignments, Rubrics, and Anonymous Grading
For instruction about installation and usage, go to Blackboard Help.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2014 VaBug Conference Announced! Call for Proposal Open!!


The Virginia Blackboard Users Group (VaBUG) announces its fifth annual conference, to be held at the Holiday Inn at Valley View in Roanoke, VA on Friday, October 24, 2014!

The conference will once again have free registration.


The VaBUG Conference Committee is now accepting proposals for the 2014 Annual Conference.
The VaBUG conference is a great opportunity for Blackboard users to discover, discuss, learn, and share best practices. In order to afford its members the best possible personal and professional development opportunities, they are asking instructors, administrators, staff members, and any other interested members to submit proposals for concurrent sessions for this year’s conference. What exciting ways have you been utilizing Blackboard in the past year?
The concurrent sessions will be scheduled for 50 minutes (this includes time for questions and answers). Sessions will be organized along the following tracks:
  • Blackboard administration
  • Instructional design
  • Faculty best practices
  • K-12 best practices
Please consider participating as a presenter, and pass this message along to someone you feel may be interested in participating.

For more information, please visit their site at

Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus Free to VWCC Students

VWCC is happy to announce the new Microsoft Student Advantage program: Office 365 ProPlus.  Current students are able to download and install Microsoft Office desktop applications for no cost. Detailed information, go to Software Available for Home Use.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How to Embed a YouTube Video in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010/2013

Previous versions of Microsoft PPT allowed you to embed Youtube videos directly in to a presentation. Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and 2013 don't have this feature. The work-around is a simple use of Visual Basic to insert the file as a Shockwave Flash object.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New License for Respondus and Studymate

New License as of the end of July now available in Blackboard. To find the new license information: Go to Blackboard > Teach tab > Faculty/Staff Instructional Software > Respondus or Studymate > Download and Install. The new password is valid through July 31, 2015. For questions, please contact

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Instructional Technology Mini-Conference - Friday, July 25, 2014

The eLIT office and the VWCC Plus 50 Initiative are co-sponsoring the 2014 Instructional Technology Mini-Conference, a free one-day conference and professional development opportunity for all Virginia Western faculty and staff. The Mini-Conference will include a full day of sessions delivered by outside professionals on a broad range of topics: Blackboard Collaborate and Blackboard IM, Flipping the Classroom, Atomic Learning, Blackboard Learn Roadmap, and Instructional Technology for Adult Learners (Plus 50 learners).

VWCC faculty who complete the full-day mini-conference will receive a certificate equivalent to the completion of two-weeks of TOTAL workshop credits.
These credits will contribute to satisfying the “Professional Development Objectives for Faculty Teaching Hybrid and Online Courses” as outlined in the new Faculty Evaluation and Development Plan (see page 9). 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Panopto Lecture Capture System and Flip Classroom Instructional Design

Designing Flipping Classroom using Panopto Lecture Capture System:
  1. The Standard Inverted Classroom: Students are assigned the “homework” of watching video lectures and reading any materials relevant to the next day’s class. During class time, students practice what they’ve learned through traditional schoolwork, with their teachers freed up for additional one-on-one time.
  2. The Discussion-Oriented Flipped Classroom: Teachers assign lecture videos, as well as any other video or reading related to the day’s subject — think TED Talks, YouTube videos, and other resources. Class time is then devoted to discussion and exploration of the subject. This can be an especially useful approach in subjects where context is everything — think history, art, or English.