From the Director’s Desk – Fall 2012

DSC_0561.JPG (2)Summer is winding down and the Virtual Campus is gearing up for a record setting fall term. During the Summer 2012 term we had 2,800 students taking online courses at Wayland, more than any other summer term in our history, although still short of our record setting Spring term of over 3,200 students. We are now on track now to beat that all time enrollment record for online courses this fall.

Upgrading to Service Pack 8

We’re not only buzzing about the numbers, but we’re adding new features and services to Blackboard as well.  We’ve just upgraded our Blackboard system to Service Pack 8, which brings a new and modernized look to the Blackboard system. You’ll see a number of articles on our blog and in our newsletter introducing you to these new features.  I encourage you to check those out!

Expanding Access to Blackboard Mobile Learn

bbmobilelearnAlso, within the last few months we’ve also expanded the availability of our Blackboard Mobile Learn app.  On iOS devices, Android devices and Blackberry’s, students can access their course content through ANY wireless vendor (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.) whether connecting via wi-fi or on their data network.  Not surprisingly, we are learning that students who have access to their courses on their mobile devices actually spend MORE time in the courses.

Students are still encouraged to complete their assessments and homework on a desktop or laptop computer.  We can help students with problems they may be having with their mobile devices but not all features of Blackboard are fully accessible through the mobile platform.  As an instructor, there are a handful of features that you can access through your tablet or phone, but at this point, instructors are still encouraged to conduct their courses from a desktop or laptop when the mobile platform falls short.

Stay tuned for some training and blog articles to come later in the year where I’ll show you how to do almost everything you need from within the browser on your mobile devices.

Virtual Campus Council

Another exciting development for Wayland’s online programs is the formation of the Virtual Campus Council.  In order to give both our faculty and students with an opportunity to provide recommendations and feedback, this committee has been formed so that Wayland can effectively deal with issues affecting both the online programs and the online components of our face-to-face courses.  This group has members from each of our schools, from the externals campuses and from the student body. This group will begin meeting this fall.

The Virtual Campus Team

In closing, let me remind all of you that teach online that we have a fantastic team of individuals ready to help you as you set up and administer your courses, engage your students and, God-forbid, face technical difficulties.

TrifilioTrishDr. Trish Trifilo, our Distance Learning Specialist, is your go-to person for all things Blackboard.  If you need help setting up your courses, dealing with technical issues in your online classes, or are looking for ideas to increase student engagement in your courses, Dr. Trifilo is ready and able to help.  Call her at 325-5128-1495 or email at trifilot@wbu.edu.

Jennifer BrownMrs. Jennifer Brown, our Instructional Assessment Coordinate, manages our Educational Design Initiative which has the daunting and lofty goal of ensuring a quality education experience for our online students.  Both as a service to our students and as a requirement for accreditation, Mrs. Brown coordinates our efforts in measuring the quality of our online programs.  You can reach her by calling our office at 806-291-3740 or email at brownj@wbu.edu.

bursonLMrs. Leslie Burson, our Program Coordinator, is your primary contact for issues relating to scheduling of online courses, contracts, and the Instructor Portal. Instructors know her well, since she has the unfortunate job of sending you all of those gracious reminders about syllabi posting dates and grade due dates.  If you need to reach Mrs. Burson, call our office at 806-291-3740 or email her at bursonl@wbu.edu

harrisDMs. Daurie Harris, our Administrative Assistance, keeps me sane by managing the office of the Virtual Campus and answering our phones.  Also, she coordinates our technical support for students and proctoring service whereby students can submit requests to have tests proctored at qualified remote locations.  You can reach Ms. Harris at our office number, 806-291-3740 or email her at harrisd@wbu.edu.

DSC05467_001Mrs. Jennifer Martin also works with our office part-time to provide recruiting services for undergraduate online programs.  She also provides advising assistance for our online graduate students.  She is available by email at martinj@wbu.edu.

Last (and probably least) of all, it is my privilege to serve as the Director of the Virtual Campus.  Still in my first year in this position, I’ve had the wonderful honor of working with a great group of folks in the VC.  Not only that, but working with our students and faculty has been enormously rewarding.  It is an honor to work side by side with a staff and a group of instructors that see their positions at Wayland as both a calling and ministry.  If you need to reach me, call our offices at 806-291-3740 or email me at franklins@wbu.edu.

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