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  1. Easy migration from BB Vista to BB Learn (version 9.1)

    UMass Lowell was thrilled to determine that converting a course from BB Vista to BB 9.1 could not be easier. It is a simple backup (from Vista) and import (to BB 9.1). Very little, if anything needs to be done manually to assist in this process. We found the migration to be almost seamless, taking just a few minutes, and requiring minimal “cleanup”. All course structure, as well as files, assignments, assessments, and attachments remained in tact.

    To get your own preview account to work with, go to:

  2. Upgrade Cohort Program from Blackboard for Vista users.

    I stumbled across this wonderful resource from Blackboard: “Upgrade Cohort Program” for Vista users who are migrating to 9.1. It is a 12-week Webinar (FREE) that meets for 1 hour on Mondays. Here is a brief description:

    The Release 9.1 Upgrade Cohort program consists of a 12-week series of virtual meetings designed to help you plan and execute your move to Release 9.1. Each week, we focus on a different upgrade planning topic to help guide you through the process. Topics such as “creating a training plan,” “setting up a test and pilot,” and “customizing your Release 9.1 interface,” -provide helpful details to ensure your transition is efficient and successful.

    For additional details, visit:

    1. This cohort program has a lot to offer!  As someone who has participated in the program, I found it very valuable.

      1. It's good to hear that the program was valuable. I see they are offering 3 sessions in 2011. It might be worth checking out for sure!

    2. Anonymous

      Matt Davis from Blackboard here Lisa.  I am deeply involved with the Upgrade Cohort program.  Each week you'll find me on the 10:30AM and 2:30PM calls.  It has been a real learning experience.  I think the biggest value participants get out of it are:

      a.)  Removes the sense of isolation (we're with others in the same boat)

      b.)  Promotes sharing and collaboration amongst institutions (large or small, nearly everyone has a 'gem' to contribute at some point in time).

      c.)  Has a defined objective and timeline.  The outcome we want everyone to have is the best migration experience possible.  We've constructed a rough 'project plan' based agenda designed to address the milestones most institutions face.  Note that it continues to evelove based on the feedback we'll get from the current Cohort group.

      Feel free to fire off any questions to me (

      1. Hello Matt. Thank you for the information. The cohort program seems beneficial for all of the reasons you mentioned. I look forward to attending one of the upcoming sessions in 2011. I appreciate your contact information as well. Thank you again. ~ Lisa

  3. Watch this space

    To be automatically notified by email whenever a page within the UMass Lowell space of Confluence is added or updated, comments are made to a page or an attachment is uploaded, follow the steps below:

    1.    Mouse up to the 'Browse' menu located in the upper right hand corner of this page and select 'Advanced' from the menu items that appear. The 'Advanced' page will open.

    2.    In the left-hand panel, click 'Start watching this space'. This link will be replaced with a new link to 'Stop watching this space'.

  4. Some thoughts on why Blackboard can be a good long term solution:

    • Minimal retraining on the faculty side - BB Learn 9.1 interface is familiar and easy to use for faculty coming from BB Vista. Two of our faculty members migrated their Vista courses to Blackboard 9.1 sandbox environment and found that they didn’t have any trouble finding where things were despite the updated interface.
    • New faculty with previous experience - new faculty members coming to UML from other institutions are most likely to have previous Blackboard experience because it has a large potion of the LMS market share, therefore allowing for easier transition to teach with Blackboard at UML.
    • Web 2.0 integration - Blackboard 9.1 has integrated many Web 2.0 tools, such as YouTube, Wikis, Blogs, and many more Web 2.0 rich media tools referred to as Mashups (SlideShare, Flickr, NBC News Archives, etc). Other Web sites such as Google and Facebook can be easily linked to from within the course.
    • Improved Customer Service Model – since the time BB has acquired WebCT and Angel, BB is working on continuously improving their commitment to quality customer service by establishing Suggestion and Bug Squads and implementing most important improvements and bug fixes that their clients vote on in each release:
    • Commitment to Open Standards – Blackboard has promised to be committed to open standards starting with their Blackboard Learn 9.1 product, which has an open database and IMS, SCORM AND LTI open standards support:
    • Large Community of Users – support communities such as Dr. C and Blackboard admin listserv offer a wealth of valuable advice and expertise. Users in these communities have been on Blackboard LMS since its inception and have years of experience:
    1. UMOL contributes to a variety of Bb communities.  The CE/Vista Office Hours community meets weekly and has grown in size over the years.  Most recently, UMOL staff participated in the Beta Cohort for Learn 9.1.  We've also participated in Bug Squads and voted for what fixes would be included in Service Pack 4.  Because ours is such a large installation, many bugs are reported to Bb via UMOL from OUR community of users.  The collaborative efforts of our community of users who discover, reproduce and report issues to us proves to be quite rewarding when we can follow the development of fixes for these issues and then ultimately participate on what fixes we feel are most important for inclusion in a Service Pack.  Together, we've been responsible for fixing a LOT of things that have benefited the entire Bb community of users.

      Our systems administrators as well as staff at UMassOnline uncover solutions for many problems without the need to open Bb Support tickets by simply cruising the listservs as well.  We contribute to and seek advice from these most valuable resources as a common best practice.  The large community of users you've mentioned is one in which we continue to be a valuable part of and one which is of great value to us.

  5. Migrating from BB Vista to BB Learn 9.1 – Firsthand experience

    Kathleen Saville from Marshall University has created a blog chronicling her experiences taking a course migrated from BB Vista 8 and preparing it for use in BB Learn 9.1.  Her perspective is from the teaching and learning side of the fence not the administrative.  I think it is an open and honest account of what she experienced that includes both the good and the bad. 

    I feel that the opening line of her conclusion is worth quoting directly.

    “I am pleased!  It isn’t perfect but for a migration from one platform (WebCT) to another (Blackboard), it is better than good… it is great!”

    You can read her blog here:

    1. Kathy Saville has been an exceptional resource and has participated in a peer community called the "CE/Vista Office Hours" group that UMassOnline has actively participated in for several years.  It consists of members throughout the US and Canada.  Kathy and I were part of a group that won a community collaboration award back in 2008.  She's created numerous docs over the years, but her Learn 9 resources to date have been of great value to the community.  Check this link out as well:

      1. I had seen that link, Karen, and I agree, it is a great resource. As an instructor I found the Comparison Chart so informative!

  6. UMass Lowell's Evaluation of LMS Solutions

    UMass Lowell has been carefully reviewing options available for an LMS solution. The Lowell campus has concluded that the  best solution for our students, our faculty, and our campus is to migrate to the next version of Blackboard (Blackboard Learn). For details with regards to our evaluation: Click Here.

    1. Anonymous

      Does this mean UMass Lowell online students will be able to access their course content in BB via the Apple / Android Mobile app?

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