Monday, June 06, 2011
The weekend was groovy! I saw many people I had not seen in years. We're all fabulous and fun at 50. Even if I am still tired today, also sore from dancing! That's one thing that has definitely changed. I can still party hearty, but now I need more than one day to recuperate.
Today my summer online class went live. I have training on blackboard on Wednesday and will be working on getting everything in order for the next two weeks, since the official start date in June 20. This is the fourth courseware I've had to learn; my first experience was with Lotus Notes, in 2000. That was upgraded a few times, but the changes were almost seamless, so I'm not including those.
In 2002 I started teaching in the classroom as well as online, and I adopted WebCT as the supplement to my on campus classes, which the university was using for web content for traditional courses. Then, in 2008 we made a major shift, from Lotus Notes to Blackboard for completely online classes, and from WebCT to Blackboard for blended and supplemental courses. That semester was very stressful, and I had to do it during Winter break, since I did not volunteer for the pilot. I also had offered to teach a hybrid course, and that added a lot of work.
Now Blackboard 8 is becoming Blackboard 9. The WebCT to Blackboard transition was not seamless, and there is a steep learning curve for the upgrades within Blackboard. The courseware is very, very different, easily as much as Lotus Notes is not very similar to Blackboard. It's odd that this is true with the same company.
I'm an early adopter with an easy time learning computer-related things and it is forcing a significant redesign. I wonder if that is the reason - the philosophy hypothesizes that instructors won't change much on their own? I could see that as being true but not in my case. I fall more in the camp of being apprehensive when technology gets in the way rather than being a tool.
I didn't want a repeat of Spring '08, so I jumped into the pilot. This way it is a summer project and I am only teaching one class. Since it is the online class, I will really know Blackboard 9 well by the time Fall rolls around and my teaching load is not so light.