Course Management System Evaluation this Spring
This spring, MiraCosta College will be re-evaluating its course management system. We have been using Blackboard as our primary system for many years, as well as supporting Moodle for some faculty who prefer that system. Our new Online Education Plan includes a directive to re-evaluate these systems; further, through the statewide Online Education Initiative, we now have access to a different system called Canvas (which many California Community Colleges are now moving to) at a greatly reduced cost. Thus, faculty and administrative leaders here have agreed that it is time to conduct a thorough re-evaluation in line with our strategic goals for online education. A task force is being formed and input will be sought from as many faculty and students as possible.
To kick off the process, please consider attending demos by representatives of Blackboard, Moodle, and Canvas on Tuesday, Jan. 19 from 9:30-2:20 (come for part of the time even if you can’t be there for all of it). This has been requested as a Flex activity; lunch will be included. Stay tuned for more details.
Professional Learning Opportunities (got Flex?)
- Online Ed workshops planned for spring Flex week include online sessions on Blackboard Basics and Screencasting with TechSmith Relay; course management system demonstrations of Blackboard, Moodle, and Canvas; and an online session about the CCC Online Education Initiative. Look for these and more when the Flex calendar is released!
- This Friday from 11-12, check out a free online webinar entitled E-Learning Accessibility: Principles, Strategies, and Resources to Help Faculty Improve Teaching/Learning Online. Register in advance.
- The Online Teaching Conference will again be in San Diego this June (6/16-17). Online Education will pay for conference registrations for all MiraCosta presenters. The call for proposal deadline has been extended to this Friday, 12/18 – submit your proposal here! Whether my office will have funds to support attendance of some or all interested non-presenting MiraCostans is dependent on how the budget looks in the spring.
- @One still has some availability in their spring online course schedule – sign up now before they fill. Or take one of their free self-paced courses, including the new Introduction to Teaching with Canvas if you’re curious about the Canvas course management system.
Spring Online Class Schedule
If you are teaching an online or hybrid spring class, please be sure to add details for each class to the MiraCosta online class schedule to help students select and get started with your class(es). Just over 50% of the spring online and hybrid classes have been updated as of this writing – if yours is not among them, please follow the directions here ASAP.
Online Ed Support During Break
The office of Online Education, including the TIC, will be open to support faculty through December 23, and will reopen on January 4, 2016.
Online Tutoring New Option for Spring
A new online tutoring option available in spring 2016 for MiraCosta students in distance education classes is NetTutor, which will be available to MiraCosta as a CCC Online Education Initiative pilot college. NetTutor provides 24×7 coverage of just about any academic subject, and is available via a link embedded within your Blackboard or Moodle class. The link would take students directly to the subject-specific tutoring area with no additional login required. Also with NetTutor, each instructor may specify “Rules of Engagement” that inform tutors about the approach and resources you would like them to use when working with your students. If you are interested in implementing NetTutor in any of your spring distance education classes, or would like to hear more about MiraCosta’s online tutoring options, please contact me ASAP.
Blackboard’s Voice Tools will be discontinued this summer. As a replacement, this spring MiraCosta will have VoiceThread available for faculty who wish to incorporate multimedia discussions into their classes. Learn more about VoiceThread, and contact me if you’re interested in trying it in the spring.
Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education