Posted by: Ellie Kutz | October 15, 2012

What’s New in Fall 2012: Overview

Welcome to our annual “What’s New” issue, in which we report on recent developments related to using technology for teaching and scholarship at UMass Boston.

The most important change in our campus edtech environment this fall involves the migration of our learning management system from Blackboard Vista to Blackboard Learn 9.1 and the first article of this issue describes the migration process that is now underway.   For faculty who are learning to use Bb Learn and increasing their use of other educational technology tools, the campus has subscribed to a new support service, Atomic Learning, and we describe that as well.  Some faculty have been developing new practices in using Blackboard Vista, and others have already been involved in this fall’s BB Learn pilot, and we also report on the faculty experiences that were shared at a recent CIT/Edtech forum.

IT’s Educational Technology Division often organizes and supports new projects, and we describe the pilot project it is co-sponsoring with the library this semester in which faculty are exploring the use of iPads in the Classroom.

While we are keeping our own campus up-to-date in the use of educational technologies, it’s helpful to know how we compare to other campuses and new studies, like the one from Inside Higher Ed that we report on in this issue, can offer a broader picture of how digital technologies are impacting the work and the attitudes of faculty across institutions.

Finally, there have been a few changes in staff and roles and services within our own division, and we’ll give you an update on those as well.

As you’ll see the edtech staff has been working hard on several fronts, but the Blackboard migration has been particularly demanding in ways that aren’t always seen by those of us who are faculty users, and I’d like to give my personal thanks to Gene Shwalb and Mark Lewis who have been leading the migration effort for online and web-enhanced faculty, to our LMS administrators Kalindi Mehta and Peter Tofuri who put in long hours in the weeks before the semester started and over Labor Day weekend getting all of the new BB Learn sections set up in time for classes, and to all of the instructional designers who worked hard to clean up the material that had been migrated from Blackboard Vista and make it ready for use in the new BB Learn course shells.

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