July 17, 2006
Impact 2006: Friday Session 2: Decentralized Administration and Faculty Support
This session discusses the University of Western Ontario's experiences in decentralized administration of WebCT services.
UWO is integrated with the Peoplesoft Student Information System. They load studeints into WebCT using a batch process that runs twice a day. They are using Vista 3, so have full access to the community manager (admin hierarchies) and learning objects manager (templates). CE6 doesn't have these features unless we pay extra for them.
WebCT with the community manager allows administrators at the group, course, and section levels. (WebCT 6 without this does not allow the group level). For example, the group could be "College of Law",. course is "Law 100", and section is "Law 100 section 01". Students can only log into the section levels.'
Their Administration Structure
UWO set up group designers, enrollment managers, and template managers at the "group" level, so that college support staff can manage these areas for their colleges. This lets college staff manage templates, end of term roll-overs, assist faculty in course development, and provide focused training and support for that college.
They discussed support for their Medicine and Law colleges. These both had unique requirements. For example, Law has different term start and end dates.
Problems they've found
- Non-academic use of WebCT is increasing for things like continuing education courses, campus-wide worker health and safety course, orientation for prospective students, etc. This means they have to deal with people who do not have UWO accounts (like our NSID). Our NSID policy gets people accounts a bit easier.
- We have to watch out for java updates. It is very important to have ONLY the java update recommended, and no others on the system. Diagnosing popup problems and java problems are the biggest help desk headache.
- Also watch out for "frozen" computer labs. Installing updates may mean that the labs must be "unfrozen", modified, then "frozen" again. For example, there was an issue with security certificates which expired in the middle of a term.
"If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to want a glass of milk.
Posted by kvl014 at July 17, 2006 01:40 PM