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!

Continue reading

Engaging Online Students in Real Time

Man Jumping --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisCOLLAB-12_LOGO_PROCESS_V1

If you’ve ever considered adding a real-time (i.e., synchronous) component to your online courses, Blackboard Collaborate 12 is an ideal tool for presenting and recording real time lectures online.  With Blackboard Collaborate, instructors can conduct a live class for their online courses where students can connect to watch presentations, listen to a live lecture, and participate in interactive class activities, such as chat and live polling.

We’ve just upgraded to Blackboard Collaborate 12 (formerly Elluminate) which has added some exciting new capabilities.  One of the most exciting new features is echo cancellation which means that students can participate from their laptops without needing a headset.

Continue reading

Kindle Fire or the New iPad?

by Scott R. Franklin, Ph.D.
Director of the Virtual Campus

One of our instructors sent us an email yesterday asking our take on whether a Kindle Fire or the new iPad might be the best investment at this point.

Here’s the question:

I am thinking of purchasing an Ipad 3 or maybe the Kindle Fire (much cheaper!).  I have an iPhone which I love and use it for everything including reading books on the Kindle app.  The idea here is that mostly I want a “tablet” to get on the Internet when traveling to check classes on Blackboard and work in BB (grading, resetting quizzes, answering e-mail, etc.), text, and check e-mail.  I do NOT use a wireless connection at home … so if I get the Ipad, I would have to pay the extra $50.00/mo for a sim card and service while the Kindle Fire, if I understand correctly, offers free Internet.

However, does either work very well with BB?

The only other thing I see using a tablet for is our observatory/astronomy and I realize you probably cannot tell me how those would work for that.  I thought I’d seek someone’s opinion who worked with an Ipad and maybe knew about these products more than I.  Any thoughts would be appreciated.

We’re beginning to acquire some mobile devices within the VC in order to fully test how they would work for our students and faculty.  I have had a personal iPad (first generation) for about a year and a half now and just recently started using one of the new iPads.  While we don’t yet have a Kindle Fire, I have done quite a bit of research on them and we’ll probably be testing one soon.

Kindle Fire or iPad? Continue reading