Center for Information Technology Services

University of Maryland Baltimore
eLearning Steering Committee Meeting Notes
March 9, 2006
Prepared by: Chris Klimas

Attendees: Dave Pitts (SSW), Chris Phillips (CITS), Alexa Mayo (HSL), Lowell Wilson (CITS), Nicole Pnataleo (CITS), Shannon Tucker (SOP), Lila Faulkner (Law), Chris Klimas (SOP), Fran Dominguez (CITS), Deno Tufares (CITS), Larry Masters (CITS), Gary Nelson (CITS), Jeff Hawk (SOM/PT), Matt Rietschel (SON), Jim Leoni (CITS), James Craig (Dental), Sarita Sanjoy (Dental), Tim Munn (SOP)

Banner Integration

CITS' Banner team joined this meeting to discuss the possibility of integrating Banner with Blackboard. The main objective initially will be to ensure that when students register via SURFS or other means, they will be automatically enrolled in the appropriate Blackboard course. There's also the possibility of moving grades from Blackboard into Banner, but if this will be pursued, it'll be after registration is handled.

There are two methods to move registration data from Banner to Blackboard; there are none that go in the opposite direction, but it doesn't seem to be a problem. One handles many registrations at once, and is intended to be run overnight once a week or so. Another product is event-driven -- that is, as soon as a student makes a registration change, it is mirrored on Blackboard.

There are a number of challenges to making registration work. Somehow student accounts will need to be tagged with their PIDM, which is different from their student ID number. Also, Blackboard courses will need to be tagged with their CRN. Another major issue is when several courses -- i.e. a year-long course that is broken into two CRNs, one for each semester -- are shared by a single Blackboard course. These may need to be handled manually. Also, there are a number of students who are added to a course by an instructor who are not registered formally in Banner. Will these get overwritten?

A smaller group is being formed to work through these issues and examine what will need to happen behind the scenes to make it work. A test version is projected to be working this fall, and possibly put into production next spring.

Blackboard 7

Blackboard 7 is being brought up on development; right now it's halfway through installation. Several updates are happening at once: the Oracle database software is being brought up to date, the operating system is being updated, and finally so is Blackboard.

Community System

There is continued interest in purchasing Blackboard's Community System for two reasons: to provide individual branding for each school, and to allow schools to perform administrative tasks within their domain, such as creating courses and user accounts. It's unclear both whether Blackboard 7.1 by itself will enable the flexible user roles that would permit school administration and how costs would be divided among the schools.

Blackboard Transaction System

The campus is rolling out a system based on Blackboard's Transaction System, so keep an eye out for any material that refers to commerce as "Blackboard."

Next meeting: April 13, 2006