Catch Up Day

I have been so tied up in RFP writing that I lost track of a few emailed requests — that I found when I went back through my inbox this morning.  I have checked them all off now.  I hope that means I’m caught up for the moment, at least when it comes to end user support.  THAT is exactly why I have individuals email details of their requests to me.  I know that I’ll find them again even if they get put aside for something more important in the moment.

Tomorrow morning is another meeting with the group to go over and hopefully approve the guts of an RFP.  It will be a momentous occasion if everything is finally agreed upon.

More rain.  Everyone around here is tired of it.  I’m thankful it’s not the storms that some are experiencing down south.  And I’m looking forward to the next sunny day, which may be Friday.


Quiet Day

Today was a quiet day.  One co-worker out sick, another took the afternoon off.

Group meeting this morning.  No big news.  Projects keep going.

Created summer and fall WebCT sections for the Office of Disability Services and worked with a faculty member to provide access to her summer WebCT section for a study abroad class.

The day is nearly done.

Monday, last week of classes for Spring 2011

Here we are, another Monday.  But this one is a little bit special.  It is the last Monday of class meeting for Spring 2011.  Next Monday will be Finals week.  I can hardly believe how quickly this semester has gone.

End of semester means posting grades.  And since we allow that through WebCT now, we have to be ready to go.  We will make it available at 8:00a.m. Thursday April 28, the same day folks can begin posting grades via Banner.  I just did a quick test (turned on the capability, tested it, and turned it right back off) and right now all signs are go, it’s working great as expected.  Sometimes something gets hung up and we have to do a service restart (stop the WebCT services on all the nodes and then restart).  I will check again before Thursday, but for now it looks like we may be good to go.

What are some of the alternatives for LMS moving forward?

Here are some sandboxes (playgrounds, sample sites, build your own class for free) to check out, in no particular order…

Blackboard Learn 9.1:

Instructure Canvas:

rSmart Sakai:


Agilix BrainHoney:

Online Demos:


Pearson learningstudio (formerly eCollege and Fronter):

Feel free to leave any other options in the comments and I’ll add them.

Yesterday’s storms

We got lotsa rain and saw some interesting clouds.  The radar had pretty colors.  The sirens went off.  And, thankfully, as it all passed, there wasn’t much damage.  Just wait though, there’s another system coming through tomorrow!

Interesting tidbit

As mentioned yesterday, EIU still utilizes Blackboard CE 8.04 (formerly known as WebCT to the world, still *affectionately* so here).  And we’re early in the preparation process for what to do when the license completely expires forever for this product (January 2013).  So I spend a fair amount of time right now just gathering information about the different products I see, in preparation for reviewing RFPs one of these days.

Today I got an email that said this:

“Blackboard’s stock (BBBB) has jumped 34% this morning on news that Blackboard has retained Barclay’s Capital in response to unsolicited, non-binding offers to acquire the company.


So, of course, I go googling… and find this tidbit…;BBBBid1411582/SMT;BBBB-SMART-Technologies-moves-higher-following-news-of-Blackboard-bid

Interesting.  More details to keep an eye on.   And the possibility of storms tonight.

4:30pm — then this link appeared in my inbox:

Still waiting to see what storms make it over to this side of the state.  The hype today has certainly been running high.


Blackboard will no longer license WebCT CE 8.x beyond January 2013.  That sounds like plenty of time to work out a solution to replace it, but it really isn’t that long.  It will definitely keep me busy between now and then.  I’ve been exploring some options, such as rSmart Sakai CLE, Instructure Canvas, Blackboard Learn 9.1, MoodleRooms, and Desire2Learn.  Am I missing any that really deserve a look?