Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blackboard End-of-Life June 30, 2012; Moodle Servers

Manhattan College is in its final stages of migrating from Blackboard to Moodle.  Please complete the download of all materials that you wish to save and/or transfer to Moodle by June 30, 2012 when Manhattan College's Blackboard Server is turned off.  After June 30, you will no longer be able to access any materials on the Blackboard Server ( ecourses.manhattan.edu ), including anything stored in the Blackboard Content Collection (e.g., file storage, portfolios and artifacts, etc.)

Moodle Servers
1) Course sites will now be hosted on an academic-year instance of Moodle.  The creation of course sites, as well as faculty and student enrollments, will be synced with the Banner system, similar to how the process had been done with Blackboard. 
    • Fall 2012 course shells - Academic year 2013: https://lms.manhattan.edu/
      Note that student enrollments will be added several weeks prior to the start of the semester.

2) A separate Moodle server will be available for departmental, sandbox, and other non-course sites ("community Moodle"). Those sites will be created upon demand.  We will make available cohorts, e.g. site-wide groups, which can then be manually enrolled into a site; individual Manhattan College users can be manually enrolled as well. Examples of cohorts include students by major or program, full-time faculty, adjunct faculty, etc.

Note that this instance of Moodle is an early version of Moodle:  2.1.

Please see the following release notes for Moodle version 2.2 and 2.3 as there are many updates beyond the Moodle 2.1 instance in use for the AcademicYear 2012:

Alternative to Moodle Community Server (non-course sites): 
Many groups at Manhattan College have been using Blackboard primarily to send emails to the site membership, and/or to restrict files/materials to the site membership.  Most site memberships were managed by ITS via an enrollment process similar to what is used to manage course enrollments.  If this is primarily how you would like to use a non-course site,  you may want to consider using Google Groups and the new Google Drive (formerly called Docs) instead of or in addition to a Moodle site. You can share with a group - as well as restrict access to - "folders/collections" of files/documents.  A Google Group can also serve as a mailing list.  And files/documents can now be saved to one's Google Drive in their native format.  More to follow on this feature ...

Blackboard: Archival of Materials, transfers of certain types of course materials to Moodle

Moving files from Blackboard to Moodle is a bit of an art, as there is not a good one-size fits all approach. There are several approaches for extracting materials from Blackboard for reuse in Moodle, and Kim Woodruff has been working with faculty and staff over the past year to assist users in setting up sites in Moodle and transferring content from Blackboard to Moodle.  Kim has also created a Training Course available in Moodle which contains instructions and best practices.

In summary, you have the following methods at your disposal:
  • Archive your Blackboard Course via the Blackboard Course Archive utility.  This will create a record of everything in your course, including student work.  There is a free tool: bFree that will then allow you to view most - but not all - of the content in the Blackboard archive file

  • Copy Files to Collection is another Blackboard Utility.  This copies documents/files uploaded to Blackboard Content Areas to a folder in Blackboard Content Collection.  A package containing the folders can then be downloaded.  This approach maintains the original folder structure - and is readily usable with one's Google Drive.

  • Manhattan College has a license for Respondus - a tool for creating and managing tests.  Also provides access to publisher test banks.  This a great way to transfer tests from Blackboard to Moodle.

  • Downloads of: package of files in the Content Collection (if you stored files there); portfolios (if used), gradebook and/or assignments, etc

Below you will find some quick tips to get you started with the new versions of Moodle as well as reuse of Blackboard content


If you need assistance in making the transition from Blackboard to Moodle, please contact Client Services.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Get Ready for the New Google Groups!

What’s new in Google Groups?

New and better ways to use Google Groups!
The new Google Groups will have a new look and more features:

  • Better searching. Google Groups now supports search operators similar to Gmail's, such as from:me. You can search for topics by tag and save your search queries.

  • Customizable roles. Group owners can assign members different levels of authorization to perform most group tasks. A group can contain multiple roles (for example, Owner, Manager, Member, and so on). Each user's permissions depend on which role they have been assigned in the group.

We 'll also be able to select new group types to fit our needs:

  • Email list.  To communicate with a group of people using a single email address.

  • Web forum. An online community where members freely share information. Members can add references to posts and managers can move topics to the top of the forum.

  • Q&A forum. A structured forum where users can ask questions and members can provide responses.

  • Collaborative inbox. For members who need to work together to respond to posts or emails. A collaborative inbox gives users access to features like tagging topics, assigning topics, and marking duplicates.

Beginning on June 26, you will see the new Google Groups by default. For a while, you're free to switch back and forth between the new and classic versions of Groups as much as you want. Please note this rollout will take a number of days to complete.

Check out the Google Apps Learning Center for quick start guides and other resources for learning to use the new Google Groups features.

If you have questions or need help:

contact Client Services at x7973

Thanks for trying the new Google Groups!