Scary Password Policy

Doing a training thing for work next week. The training coordinator sent an email to 25 of us about how to access the learning portal. The username is email and password is a single word with an exclamation point. My first instinct was get in ASAP and change the password since so many other people have access to my password.

Only.

There is no link. I click and click and clink. I cannot find it.

Finally, I look at the source code and notice features in it that reveal this portal is running on WordPress. So, I added “wp-admin/profile.php” to the URL and get a 404. I added it to the domain and bingo, I was at my own profile. So, I used the WordPress password feature to generate a strong password and change it.

I wonder how many people have taken training from these people and bothered to change the password?

Institution Analytics #USGRockEagle13

Janice Hill, Columbus State University

  • Process:
    • Define KPI’s : grades,  starting degree, ending degree, and many more.
    • Design and Implement : ODI integrator
      • Subject area example : summation helps reports only pull one row per student.
      • Updating : degrees awarded only loaded at end of term.
    • Validation of data : Work with Institutional Research to figure out where wrong. Consulting with individuals who think data did not look right.
    • Production release : Start a new cycle.
  • Data elements:
    • Banner, PeopleSoft, Excel spreadsheets
    • student head count, student attempted credit hours, and about 30 others.
  • Dashboards : 8 in production, 2 in completed validation, 2 subject areas ready to be built. Changes to a dashboard not saved across sessions, so users need to export to a file.
  • Structure of Dashboard : Level prompts : College, department, program, major, term. Analysis. Footnotes.
  • Users with access : President, VP, Deans, Dept heads.
  • Export types : PDF, Excel, Web,
  • Errors: BI data loaded at 6am, so local data pulled at 9am WILL result in very small differences.
  • Progression dashboard : credit hours by term, avg GPA by class, avg GPA vs credit hours earned, demographic breakdowns, grades by academic level, grades by section
  • Retention and Graduation dashboard : after 1 year, after 6 years. Use both counts and percentages.
  • Talk with faculty about their data needs so can show it exists or build it into a report.
  • Individualized training. Understanding how to filter is a challenging concept.
  • User tracking enabled, so know how long they stay on a dashboard, filters used, the SQL used.
  • Try to use as little filters as possible. Her job to get the data. User’s job is to interpret.
  • Decisions and policy affected by this data.
  • Trying to get grade data to improve early warning.
  • What are the products for which they want analytics?
  • Using University System of Georgia requirements for retention, so pegged to Fall enrollment. “Some times you have to go past what makes sense to you and implement the rule.”

Excellent session!

D2L Faculty Readiness #USGRockEagle13

Dee McKinney and Kathy Whitaker, East Georgia College

    • 3k students, access inst, grant associates degrees,
    • Many students first generation in family.
    • Part of first Georgia implementation group so started Fall 2012.
    • VP Academic Affairs asked all faculty to 1) upload a syllabus, 2) keep the grade book updated. So students can tell where they are in the course. At least an update every other week.
    • Purpose of study:
    • What training effective? Did it work/
    • 12 * 3 hour training sessions in May-July. 4 * 2 hour ‘quick start’ sessions in August. Covered basic tools: syllabus, grade book, discussions, dropbox, import content, email, quizzes, class lists, etc.
    • As time allowed: widgets, nav bars, news, pagers, custom profile, elementary design. Experiment.
    • 122 faculty. 33% attended training. 65% of those full time faculty. 2 dedicated trainers. Some trainees given stipend to be in the field mentors.
      • Online experts: substantial online experience. Mix of full and part time. 27 total. By choice came to earliest sessions.
      • Curious Optimists: some online experience. Mix of 2 to longer. 1 to quick.
      • Reluctant Participants: Little to no online teaching experience. All full time faculty. 7 total. A few admitted only there because required. Did not attend group training. Made appointments for individual.
    • Additional training: extensive list of docs, found apps, etc.
    • Survey before and after plus 5 weeks after start of Fall 2012. Emails approx 400 from help. Informal reviews.
    • Results: 3 hours was enough but not too much b/c workshop oriented not lecture. Essential for time to play with advisers to help. Instructors worked on own content not sample course. 1:8 trainer to trainee ratio. Participants collaborated. IT person on hand for passwords.
    • Multiple methods of training.
    • Mentors on hand regularly.
    • Perception of readiness: anxious prior. Confident after. Requests for advanced training.
    • Group one more competent. Reluctant willing try more positive.
    • Allow as much lead time as possible.
    • Accept some faculty will never buy into online teaching.
    • Suggestion faculty get a course release for first time teaching as so much work to start.
    • Was training or new LMS that made faculty happier.
    • Fall 2013: 2 hour training. Quick start guide. Start set0up while trainer in the room. Focused workshops for followup training on grade books, quizzes, widgets, intelligent agents (spring).
    • Met with professional advisers to focus on needs of online students.

Losing My Mind

CPR/AED training requires time on the floor rescuing dummies. Objects in pockets, like my Digital Elph, interfere with rescuing dummies. Digital cameras on desks without supervision have a tendency to disappear. (Not so much from coworkers kleptomania but from my distractions.) So I put it in my work backpack. 

Today is the First Day of Ridvan. So earlyish this morning I went down to the Botanical Garden since I wasn’t going to be at work and didn’t go this past weekend. I spent ten minutes looking for the Elph in the work backpack. So I went and just shot with the Rebel. I chalked it up to having left the camera at work. After all, the last place I recalled seeing the thing was at work.

I decided to look at what I took. So I looked for the card reader in the main part of the camera backpack. To my surprise, the Elph was right there in the wrong backpack. The only thing that makes sense is I moved the camera but forgot I did so. 

Perhaps better brain food could help? Fish providing omega-3 fatty acids is already a healthy part of my diet. Maybe more eggs with choline with the vitamin B precursor could help?

Most Wired Teacher

“Who is the most wired teacher at your college?” (A Wired Way to Rate Professors—and to Connect Teachers)

Although the university runs workshops on how to use Blackboard, many professors are reluctant, or too busy, to sit through training sessions. Most would prefer to ask a colleague down the hall for help, said Mr. Fritz.

Professional support is too intimidating, cold, careless. Support fixes the problems of others who created problems for themselves:

  • choices made in software to use
  • configuration choices
  • mistakes logic in processing

The concept of identifying the professors who most use the system is a good one. We already track the amount of activity per college or university in the University System of Georgia. The amount of data (think hundreds of millions of rows across several several tables)  would make singling out the professors a very long running query. Doesn’t mean it is a bad idea. Just don’t think it is something we would do with Vista 3. We probably could with Vista 8 which uses a clean database.

I’d like to see two numbers:

  1. Number of actions by the professor
  2. Number of actions by the all classes the professor teaches

Ah, well, there are lots of other reports which need to be done. Many more important than this one. 

Some questions from the article: “Will colleges begin to use technology to help them measure teaching? And should they?” At present, to create such reports, IT staff with database reporting or web server skills are needed. Alternatively, additonal applications like Blackboard Outcomes System can provide the data. The real problem is the reliability and validity of the data. Can it really be trusted to make important decisions like which programs or employees are effective.

Product Confusion

Someone hit my web site looking for “blackboard administrator certification”. So I was curious out what was out there on the Internet for this. I ran across a Blackboard training web site. In looking though the offerings, I was struck by the use of two different names for the same product. (I don’t mean like CE6 is Vista 4 Lite. There are minor differences in the products.)

  1. Academic Suite
  2. Bb Classic

As far as I can tell, these are the same exact products. Its confusing, so I don’t know for sure.

Certification Courses

Today I received an email announcing new certification courses from Blackboard. Every administrator around our system did as well. We have a large body of certified trainers and administrators with multiple individuals at every campus who have been through the certification plus all the functional support have been through both training and admin certification.

I’m not a big fan of certifications as a way of determining what people know. I do think having so many people go through the certification has allowed us to use jargon consistently. Pre-cert, we’d have to waste time explaining what the jargon means. Post-cert, everyone seems to understand these terms. Sure, we are constantly expanding the terms used, but its nice to have a common basis.

Back to the email…. Here are the certifications mentioned in the email:

  • Blackboard Learning System™ GUI Administrator Certification
  • Blackboard Learning System™ Server Administrator Certification (NEW)
  • Campus Edition GUI Administrator Certification
  • Vista GUI Administrator Certification

The points of the message were, I think to announce the new “server administrator” certification and remind people about the existing ones. Initially I was interested because I thought it meant there is a new certification for Vista, whose license name is Blackboard Learning System™ – Vista Enterprise Edition (say that 3x fast), but no… Its just for Academic Suite.

I think Blackboard’s marketing department should do a better job of understanding which products their customers use. Highlighting to over 60 people here in Georgia they are offering cool things to the clients who were not spoils of the WebCT buy isn’t helping Blackboard.

tag: , Blackboard Inc, WebCT

RE 2007: USG Digital Content Repositories: Resources to Share

Digital Library of Georgia

  • 60 different libraries and content providers
  • digitizing content, available in various browsing and search options
  • really impressive
  • historical record widely dispersed


Civil Rights Digital Library

  • 65 institutions
  • web access to 25 hours of news photage.

Alternative Media Access Center

  • Some publishers 9 times out of 10 provide an electronic copy. In cases where they do not offer electronic texts (not just an image) or audio recoding. Pick up where these companies have failed students. Publisher lobbying group resists providing electronic texts. Harvard Law Review has blue book distributed by a non-disabled individual to friends causing the loss of thousands of dollars in revenue.
  • Handle 2,000 books a term. Service 109 institutions. Focus on Georgia and may expand to Tennessee, South Carolina, etc. Serve 191 students, but students often unaware as K-12 provides automatically whereas higher education does not.
  • A place that uses guillotines cannot help but be AWESOMEness defined.

Digital Innovation Group

  • iPod Day
  • Representatives at each campus


USG SHARE

  • Learning Edge – Quella?
  • Uses Creative Commons 2.0
  • Federated searching – Google, MERLOT, or Orange Grove
  • Each campus has a contact for providing access, training,
  • MERLOT refers individuals to the content. USG SHARE has the content.
  • Intent to do provide seamless access through GeorgiaVIEW.

RE 2007: Birds of a Feather: Luminis

Kathy Kral, University of West Georgia

  • Luminis IV CPIP connector: Clayton, Augusta, West GA.
  • Issues with IMS when allowing IMAP from outside the Luminis application? VSU no issues with IMAP and POP allowed outside. Augusta initially restricted but opened up access without advertisement. Mention on one of email lists Blackberries fail to do a close with connection resulting in stale sessions accumulating.
  • Mailbox sizes: West GA 10MB, Augusta 40MB for students and 125MB for faculty, Valdosta 250MB.
  • Makarand Kulkarani, Sungard – Created a replacement so mailbox is Gmail. This is a professional service engagement. Engagements start at 90 hours with unused hours un-billed. When GCF connectors are built Training similar, typically 48 hours.
  • Name changes are a pita.

Jesse Lyman built a Luminis to Vista 4 single-sign on connector to handle multiple institutions.

RE 2007: Top Ten Disruptive Trends

Rock Eagle 2007

Keynote – David Cearley, Gartner

Way too many unfamiliar acronyms an terminology. It moved really fast without spending much time to explain anything.

Disruptive trends selected by timing, speed, and likelihood.

  1. Multricore to fabric – Core on processors will double every two years through 2015. Applications will have to adapt to multi-cores. Software licensing around cores, influences purchasing. Sets the stage for hybrid systems where power core and cell processor cores integrated. 3D chip (cube of cores) is coming. Next evolution in blade technology is to have shared memory. Fabric allows dynamic allocation and partioning of memory and processors and I/O for servers.
  2. Tera-Archicture Compute Element – Self-assembling and self-managing applications.
  3. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) – Developers will create modularized applications for a dynamic, flexible environment. They will need new tools, training, vizualization. Way platforms are built change. Vendors will not off the components, instead, we will need to create these ourselves. Pervasive… It will hit every level of the enterprise.
  4. Open Source – Development tools, Application Servers, Security, Operating Systems currently hold the most maturity. It will have viable alternatives for 80% of software choices.
  5. Web 2.0 – Biggest disruption over next 10 years as it has been the last 10 years. Web 2-.0 – applications built on web tech and design prin that may exploit community based development and social networking and/or new web-based business models. Long-term journey for increasing community, business involvement. Web Oriented Architecture = SOA + WWW+ REST. WOA replaces complex public API calls in current SOA model in favor in simple interfaces.
    1. Mashups – Composite applications on the web. Classic portal model built complex APIs. Mashups use WOA using RSS and Atom to provide feeds of info. Typically used in simple, high value applications.
    2. Web Platform – Everything as a service. Service providers offering infrastructure. Google and IBM offering a service to universities to build applications using the Googleplex infrastructure and IBM support.
    3. Symantic Web – Microformats – Simple way offering metadata.
  6. Social software – RS, podcasts, folksonomies, blogs, wiki, social bookmarks, content rating, prediction parket, taste sharing, social networks. The Participatory Web. Threadless makes user designed teeshirts sold back to users. How can we create communities and harness the power of the collective. Start with a purpose. Nuture the community. Open socially mediated spaces work better than technically managed systems. Have a tipping point plan.
  7. Netowrk Virtual Worlds – Games – People are 3D, have a profound impact on people.
  8. Displays – UIs are changing.
  9. Video – Counterfeit reality – how are you sure video has not changed?