July 12, 2006
Impact 2006: Wednesday Session 3: Empowering Vista with In House Tools and Technologies
This session discussed how Texas A and M University developed some in house tools to enhance and manage WebCT Vista.
They developed several tools. Many of which we don't need because we are integrated with banner. Here's a summary of the tools.
Section Manager Utility
This tool lets instructors manage enabling WebCT for their sections. The system shows instructors the courses they are teaching. The instructors can then enable them for WebCT. They can also select multiple sections and tell the system to crosslist those sections for them.
We may want to look at doing something like their front end for our users. It would be nice if instructors could turn on and off WebCT support themselves, instead of having to get someone to update the information in Banner. The slides have some example screen shots.
Section Creation and Loading
This tool compliments the Section Manager utility. It allows instructors to integrate the WebCT course with their custom SIS. It validates people against their central LDAP system, loads class lists into WebCT, etc. Note that they authenticate internally in WebCT using the student's student number as their userid. In some ways, with Banner, SSAM and Luminis, we are far ahead of them because we don't need these tools.
Shared Document Tool
This is really cool. It's basically a Wiki that can be run stand alone, but also integrated into WebCT. People can store files of any type to work on group projects. It monitors document relationships, allows instructors to monitor document development, etc. There's an "annotate" option where instructors can highlight passages and add an annotation, which is nice. The tool also uses their in-house wysiwyg HTML editor. They say they will be making the tool available for free, so we'll have to watch for that.
Projects in progress
There are also several other projects they are currrently working on:
- OPSCAN integration. This will let them read opscan data, and (keying on the student number) load the results into the WebCT gradebook. The main problems they have are with students messing up when they put their student number on the opscan sheet.
- Grade reporting from WebCT. We already have this in Banner integration, although our Banner team asked us to turn that off.
- Media Matrix Integration. This integrates WebCT with their streaming video server. Faculty and students can both put media on the streaming server, then include this media in their WebCT courses. We should look at something like this to make better use of our campus streaming video server, making it an easy to use institutional system.
- CAS Integration. They currently authenticate students internally in WebCT. They are still working on a campus wide central authentication system, like our NSID.
Nice to know that in some ways we are ahead of an institution as large as Texas A and M.
Posted by kvl014 at July 12, 2006 09:27 PM