Blackboard Goes Enterprise
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Editor-in-Chief: Kim Tracy, Executive Director of University Computing
Managing Editor: Anna Brown, Computer Literacy Training Coordinator
Special Thanks to:
Tony Pina, Center for Teaching and Learning, for the update on Blackboard.
Please send all comments, questions, and exclamations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following information has been borrowed and adapted from the CTL Bulletin, the bi-weekly information sheet by the Center for Teaching and Learning.
Q: Why do we need to upgrade our current Blackboard system?
A: Since 2001, NEIU has been using the Basic Edition of Blackboard. Basic Edition is designed for a maximum of only 3,000 users. Because of our steady growth in the use of Blackboard, we have exceeded this amount and will continue to increase our number of users. Blackboard Basic Edition does not have the capability of integrating with the new campus information system. Many functions, such as creation of Blackboard courses, creation of Blackboard student accounts and enrollment of students in Blackboard courses, have to be done manually. This has made the administration and support of Blackboard an often difficult and time-consuming task.
Q: When will the upgrade take place?
A: We are making Blackboard ready for integration into the new information system by upgrading from Basic Edition to Enterprise Edition. Testing of the new system is taking place on a separate server from our present Blackboard Basic system. Blackboard courses currently being offered this semester will not be affected. The current plan is to switch from Basic Edition to Enterprise Edition after the end of the Fall 2005 semester.
Q: Is Blackboard going to be compatible with the new information system?
A: Yes. We are pleased that the two final candidates for the NEIU information system—Banner (Sungard/SCT) and PeopleSoft (Oracle)—have the most extensive track record of integration with Blackboard at higher education institutions.
Q: Will the upgrade to Blackboard Enterprise give us more capabilities and features than Blackboard Basic?
A: Yes. However, our ability to start using these capabilities and features depends largely upon how long it takes for Blackboard to be integrated into the new information system. We understand that the full implementation of the information system throughout all areas of the university may take two years or more. At present, we do not know where the integration with Blackboard will fall within this timeline. In January, it is possible that users will not notice much difference between the current Blackboard system and the new one. Please see CTL Bulletin 18 at
http://www.neiu.edu/~ctl/bulletins for more information on the features of Blackboard Enterprise.
Q: How will I be kept informed on the progress of the Blackboard upgrade?
A: We will keep you informed as to the progress of the Blackboard upgrade and integration through postings on the Blackboard Users Listserv (BITLIST) and on the Blackboard Faculty Support Website at http://www.neiu.edu/~ctl/blackboard.html. If you have questions, please contact the Center for Teaching & Learning at extension 4467.