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Course Management System (CMS) Review

The Course Management System Review Advisory Committee, a system-wide group with broad representation from commissions and councils, was asked to research and evaluate course management system (CMS) options for Washington community and technical colleges. This review included commercial products and services (e.g., Blackboard/WebCT and Angel), open-source (e.g., Sakai and Moodle) and internally developed or “home-grown” systems.

The project delivered two products:

  • A decision support tool for colleges to use in planning course management system strategy.
  • The result set of a Request for Proposals (RFP) of vendor-supplied solutions based on both proprietary and open source course management system products. This RFP was used to select a new course management system for WashingtonOnline. WAOL chose Angel and began migrating to Angel July 2008. RFP results have been sent to the elearning coordinator of each college for use by colleges in their planning.

Project Documents

CMS Review Updates

User Research Study

Additional Resources

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SBCTC eLEarning Grants 2007

Successful Proposals, Winter 2007

The DLC received 15 proposals for new development from the RFP due in December. The DLC Executive Committee discussed all proposals and recommended seven proposals for funding.  The following projects were approved by the full DLC at their Winter meeting.

#1 Clark College: Electrical CircuitsDigital Logic ($25,565)PDF

Develop and deliver the first electrical circuits and digital logic design lecture and lab courses online to improve electrical engineering, computer science and engineering access in Washington.     

#2 Pierce College: iMathAS ($21,300)

Expand upon content development that began with an earlier DLC grant by creating template courses, expanding the set of IMathAS questions, and holding training sessions for new users.

Report: IMathAS Phase 2 / WAMAP.org Project, By David Lippman, Mathmatics Faculty, Pierce Community College at Ft. Steilacoom.

IMathAS is a web-based assessment system designed to deliver algorithmically generated questions with strong support for display of mathematical formulas and graphs, and can automatically grade questions with numerical and math expression answers. These varied question types require a deeper level of critical thinking from students who use math in their studies and allow for a more thorough assessment of student understanding than multiple-choice questions can provide. The system is similar in purpose to several textbook-publisher produced systems, but is an open-source project, and thus is modifiable and expandable, as well as being free of cost for both faculty and students.

With support from the Transition Math Project (TMP), an installation of IMathAS is available at www.WAMAP.org for free use by Washington K12 and college teachers.

The deliverables of this project have resulted in over 5000 questions ranging from Arithmetic through Differential Equations and 16 course templates - pre-built assessment sets corresponding to a textbook. These are all available for use through www.WAMAP.org.

Watch the 4-minute IMATHAS "ad" video.

#3 Shoreline Community College: Information Literacy Tutorials ($14,990)PDF

Develop three online interactive information literacy tutorials to be used across a broad range of disciplines. Tutorials will cover these topics: Search techniques in online resources, Evaluation of information resources, Selection of appropriate information.

Four other proposals were approved at the Spring DLC meeting and are published in the Spring DL newsletter.

#4 Centralia College: Online Learning Community ($30,000)Word Document

“A Tale of Two Technologies:” Creation of an integrated, online learning community in Blackboard and Second Life.

#5 Clark College: Health Occupations Online Tracking ($30,000)PDF

Develop and implement an online clinical tracking model for diagnostic imaging students that will allow students, faculty and online clinical instructors to view and track student assignments and progress.

#6 Clover Park Technical College: Spanish Online for First Responders ($10,500)PDF

Develop a module-based Spanish language course that will be targeted to emergency responders.

#7 Everett Community College: High School Completion Cources ($26,900)PDF

Develop and distribute three online high school completion science courses.

Successful Proposals

Demonstrated a high level of potential value to distance/distributed/technology-assisted learners in the CTC system by showing evidence that the product of the grant will be widely used across the community and technical college system.

Will test or develop new distance/distributed/technology-assisted learning capabilities or enhance the quality of distributed learning delivery.

RFP Final October 2006 Word
Questions and Answers from RFP Pre-Bid Teleconference October 26, 2007Word

Successful Proposals, Spring 2006

On April 25, 2006, the Distance Learning Council approved five of the 19 proposals received for new development in technology-assisted learning. The complete proposals are available by clicking the links below. The successful proposals are:

#1 Pierce College: IMathAS ($8.700)PDF

This project involves a partnership that will provide an open-source Web-deployed math assessment system conveniently available to students at all our CTCs at no charge.

#2 Olympic College: Online Early Childhood Education Certificate of Proficiency ($30,000)PDF

This partnership of 12 colleges will collaboratively develop online and hybrid system-owned courses that will be available to all colleges through WAOL. These courses will complement the existing online ECE courses. The new courses will be Intro to Early Childhood Ed, Observation and Assessment, Practicum Experience I, Practicum Experience II, School-Age Child Care, Family Child Care, and Environments for Children.

#3 Lake Washington Technical College: Faculty Development Models ($19,660)PDF

The idea of a repository of best pedagogical practices and tips created by faculty for faculty fits well with DLC's cornerstone goals. With the use of full motion screen capture, the modules could have an intuitive and personal attraction for faculty -- with the additional appeal that these modules are home-grown by our own familiar faculty.

#4 Spokane Falls: Online Tutoring Assistance ($37,000)PDF

The multi-college partnership would implement and assess two different tutoring models, one being commercial (Smartthinking.com) and the other being home-grown (OWL -- Online Writing Lab). The collective work of four colleges will allow a significant evaluation of student and faculty satisfaction with either out-sourced or in-house tutoring technologies. Such a thorough evaluation will help other colleges assess the options. In addition, the home-grown OWL resources will be made freely available to all CTCs via Blackboard or CD.

#5 Lake Washington Technical College: Online Tutoring Project ($8,500)PDF

This proposal assesses online tutoring technologies and resources as does the Spokane Falls proposal above. However, the evaluated tutoring software is different. This study would serve to complement the previous proposal (and vice versa). The results will be shared at workshops, and personnel from other CTCs will be allowed access to the online tutoring system.

Congratulations to the successful colleges, and the DLC thanks all who proposed projects. The State Board Distance Learning Office hopes to have more funds next year for more new development projects.

Successful Proposals, Spring 2005

The State Board Distance Learning Office RFP for new development in technology-assisted learning (June 2005) received 12 proposals, which were evaluated by the Distance Learning Council Executive Committee (E-Team). Three proposals were funded for a total of $93,032 (Total funds $200,000).

#1 Testing the Blackboard Content System (CS) Edmonds.
Basic Description: Will use grant funds to test Blackboard’s Content System (CS), one of three components of the Enterprise level license. E-Team Comment: Project will save time & resources, fits into the DLC's own goals for the coming year. Proposed Budget: $25,500

#2: System-owned Online A.B.E. (Adult Basic Education) Coures, Renton.
Basic Description: Two fully online courses to be developed to meet the Washington State competencies for ABE Level 2. E-Team Comment: Development of ABE options for students is consistent with DLC's goals, creates immediate collaboration amongst many colleges in the system, state system will own and share the content. Proposed Budget: $17,532

#3: Rich Media Tools for Online Instruction, Pierce, North Seattle, Seattle Central, Columbia Basin, Tacoma, Spokane, WAOL and three industry partners.
Basic Description: “Rich Media” project will assist online instructional staff in efforts to identify and plan use of “multi-media” instructional materials for online classrooms and provide training resources to help develop skills in using “rich media” tools. E-Team Comment: Highly collaborative project directly involving a lead community college, five partner community colleges, WAOL's Instructional Development and Training Department and 4 industry partners. In recommending full funding, we followed RFP guidelines "if a consortium came up with a proposal that showed high value and a high level of collaboration among colleges, it would be considered even if it were over $30,000." Proposed Budget: $50,000

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Technology Visioning Workplans

The Washington CTC's Commissions and Councils have been involved in the creation of Technology Visioning Workplans and supporting information for workplan goals. The following are the commissions and councils' technology vissioning work thus far:

IC Technology Visioning WorkWord - Note that the IC Cornerstones document is the source document from which the DL technology vision has being developed.

Combined Commissions Technology Work Plan 2006Word

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Online Student Services Matrixes Project

As part of the technology visioning work that is being done with the DLC to report to the IC, the SBCTC DL has been working to produce two matrixes. These matrixes are the Online Library Services to Students Matrix and the Online Student Services Matrix. The matrixes record functions that are currently available on campus websites. They are only a snapshot in time and intended to assist the colleges with knowledge about the online student services available across the system. The DLC has decided that the Online Library Services to Students Matrix will be completed every even year and the Online Student Services Matrix will be completed every odd year.

Online Library Services to Students Matrix 2004PDF

Online Student Services Matrix 2005PDF

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Grays Harbor and Evergreen State College Tribal Reservations Project

Washington State has a large Native American population (nearly 160,000 Native Americans and more than 30 tribes). Many of these tribes are rural and difficult to reach, but Indian higher education is in urgent need of improvement. The need is especially acute since most Washington tribes are now pursuing the important goals of self-determination and community sustainability. The Evergreen State College, SBCTC, WAOL, South Puget Sound Community College, North Seattle College, Skagit Valley College, South Seattle College and Grays Harbor are partnering to provide a reservation-based direct transfer A.A degree that will provide access to Evergreen’s B.A. program and serve the Muckleshoot, Skokomish, Nisqually, Quinault and Shoalwater tribal communities.

In Washington, the majority of Indian children are failing in all subjects at all grade levels on Washington Assessments of Student Learning (WASL) tests. At least 32 percent of Native American students in Washington who enter high school do not complete. Only 36 percent of Indian students receive a BA within six years of entering a four-year college program. Only 15 percent of degree-seeking Indian students in Washington receive a community college degree within three years. Nationally, only 29 percent of the Indian population (compared to 79% percent of whites) are high school graduates. About 3 percent of Indians (compared to 8 percent of whites) have degrees from community colleges. About 6 percent of Indians (compared to 18 percent of whites) have Bachelor's degrees, and 3 percent of Indians (compared to 9 percent of whites) hold advanced degrees (US Census).

To address the higher educational needs of Indian communities, a new program has been developed by Grays Harbor College in collaboration with a number of Washington community colleges, SBCTC, WAOL and The Evergreen State College. Evergreen has offered a successful reservation-based upper division curriculum leading to a BA degree for more than 15 years on six Indian reservations (Makah, Quinault, Port Gamble, S’Klallam, Nisqually, Muckleshoot, Skokomish). Since 1993, the Evergreen program has educated more than 400 degree-seeking students and has a BA completion rate of 76 percent (compared to a national completion rate of 36 percent). The Evergreen program uses community-based as well as main campus faculty. It is not an online program. The introduction of a strong lower division program as well as appropriate pre-college work will provide a seamless pathway for these place-bound students to complete a four-year degree.

The new AA course pathway for these students has been developed with an eye to selecting courses for cultural relevance and applicability to the overall four-year degree. The hybrid cohort program features prescribed courses, including a library course designed to be foundational to all other courses, as well as a freshman orientation course. North Seattle College, Skagit Valley College, and North Seattle College have all stepped forward to offer important, previously not shared, online courses in this degree program. In addition, South Puget Sound Community College, is contributing four online courses from its Native American Cultural Resource program. North Seattle and Skagit Valley are offering online developmental education courses in mathematics and writing respectively. North Seattle College is also contributing its online, interdisciplinary Ways of Knowing program, which is highly compatible with Evergreen’s approach to teaching and learning. South Seattle is contributing its American Government course, a college-owned, shared WAOL course. Other institutions are also participating through their usual WAOL course offerings. In addition, the native community student cohort will enroll in face-to-face writing and speaking-intensive “Integrating Seminars” each quarter that will meet on weekends at Evergreen’s Longhouse at the Olympia Campus along with Evergreen’s upper division students. Students will also receive instructional and student support services in their home communities. Peninsula, Green River, South Puget Sound and Olympic Colleges are supporting the program by allowing Grays Harbor to offer the program to tribal communities in their districts.

If you have additional questions please contact: Mark Reisman, Dean Extended Learning, Grays Harbor College at 360-538-4018, FAX 360-538-4299, mreisman@ghc.edu.

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Pierce College, Peninsula College and OlyCAP Dental Hygiene Program Partnership

The Dental Hygiene Program at Port Angeles will be delivered in its fully implemented form this fall 2005 via distance learning (DL). The program will be using a blend of two-way audio/video Interactive TV (ITV), online classrooms using Blackboard and face-to-face clinicals using the existing Pierce College Fort Steilacoom facility and a second being built by OlyCAP with local funds in Port Angeles. The first class of students covered by this agreement has been admitted and six Olympic Peninsula place-bound students will be in Port Angeles while 20 will attend in Lakewood.

This program was a collaborative effort and supported at Pierce College by: Dr. Johnson, Dr. Sunny Burns, Dr. Jo Ann Baria, Dr. Sharon Golightly, Kathy Bassett, the full and part-time dental hygiene faculty, Brian Benedetti (Media Department), Edward Bachmann (DL) and Ron May (Math and Science Division).

This unique partnership between Pierce College, Peninsula College and OlyCAP will serve as a model for the state and the nation as agencies from both private and public sectors pool resources to achieve a common goal for the community. The concept was so well received in the community that grant monies are already awarded totaling $257,000 to help prepare and equip the clinic facility. Funds came from the City of Port Angeles, Washington Dental Service Foundation, the Olympic Medical Center, the Dental Society, the Washington Oral Health Foundation and First Federal Savings (plus $69,064 from OlyCAP and Pierce College).

Sharon Golightly administers the Dental Hygiene Program and has been searching for a means to expand to meet the needs of our community and the state. She shared, “We are in a campus location now that prohibits expanding our clinic space to allow the program to grow. Students must learn in a real dental hygiene setting and that means we need a clinic and patients! We started looking outward and decided serving students where they live would be a great solution for them and their community.” The Port Angeles area came through in high fashion once a proactive partner expressed interest. Tim Hockett, Deputy Director at OlyCAP, is a key advocate there bringing community leaders onboard. Workforce Education High Demand funding allowed the project to leverage state dollars to seek funding from the dental community, the city and use of space at OlyCAP. One important benefit beyond the training program is the low cost dental care the program will provide to eligible individuals in the OlyCAP dental clinic.

Lead instructor on the project, Kathy Bassett, has played a pivotal role in bringing together the DL office, an ITV consultant with experience in medical applications, resource companies in the Dental Hygiene field and department faculty to plan and prepare the instructional model. Edward Bachmann points out, “Kathy is a true techie! She enjoys learning how to use the tools effectively. It helps that she completed graduate work in Instructional Technology. She sees the big picture, guides solutions to instructional needs of the discipline and asks great questions!” Kathy states, “DL has not only given us a new set of tools to reach out to underserved areas of the state, but has challenged the program faculty to look at how we structure our teaching/learning activities! It’s been a rewarding enterprise!”

The High Demand project has been undertaken in three phases. The first was to research the model for course delivery and identify remote site partners. The second phase involved creating and teaching the online component in a Web-enhanced mode to the expanded program’s 24 students who all attended at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom during the 04-05 year. This phase also included preparations for ITV through work with a consultant and construction of a high-end ITV classroom in the Dental Hygiene Program’s lecture classroom. The third ‘full implementation’ phase will begin September 20th with twenty students at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom and six students at Port Angeles using the Peninsula College’s ITV facilities, the online “classroom” and OlyCAP’s clinic. Other areas of the state are already voicing interest in future expansion of the concept.

For more information on the program or the instructional model, contact Sharon Golightly (sgolightly@pierce.ctc.edu), Edward A. Bachmann (ebachmann@pierce.ctc.edu) or Kathy Bassett (kbbassett@pierce.ctc.edu) at Pierce College.

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Cascadia Community College Online Tutoring Center

Our OTC is being developed using the Microsoft Sharepoint portal. Cascadia’s Sharepoint portal is named Zócalo, which means “town center” or “meeting place,” in Spanish. Sharepoint technology is a web-based limited access (to the Cascadia community) portal - similar to a personal workspace that is customizable by the end user. You may have used similar portal technology if you have a “my site” view of Yahoo or Hotmail. Zócalo will allow our students to create a customized work space that connects to other Cascadia spaces and is organized by the individual’s usage of the site.

Two face-to-face classes will be piloting the OTC beginning April 21st. The classes will be split into three groups for a writing assignment. One group will use the OTC, the second will use our face-to-face Writing Center, and the third will use family and/or friends for help with their written assignment. A week later all three groups will participate in a discussion with the OTC developer on their experiences. This feedback will then be used to improve the OTC’s layout and services. The final pilot will be with an entirely online class, and will take place in mid-May.

The OTC is not yet fully operational and other components of the Zócalo site are just beginning to be built. Full rollout is anticipated fall 2005, when all students and other campus groups will be fully operational in this new portal environment. It is not anticipated currently that Zócalo will replace the existing Blackboard environment used for distance learning. Zócalo will bring a unique set of tools to our campus for use by all, and we are excited about using it to encourage wider access to our tutoring services.

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Lower Columbia College Title III Grant - Focus on College Website Design and Improve Web Course Delivery

In 2003, the U.S. Department of Education awarded a five-year Title III grant to Lower Columbia College. Among other activities, the grant is helping LCC focus on website redesign and improved web delivery of course materials. To this aim, the grant provided two new resources for LCC: a full-time Distance Learning Developer (Scott Dennis) and a course management system server and license. LCC chose the ANGEL course management system , by dint of not only lower cost but also more powerful features and ease of use, with the first courses locally hosted in 2004. Adoption of ANGEL at LCC has been surprisingly rapid with 70 students the first quarter, 450 the next, and currently about 1,300 students and more than half of the faculty using Angel for either online or hybrid instruction.

In 2004, the first classes got underway in the new online LPN Entry RN Program (LERN). LERN students participate in a series of online courses hosted in ANGEL before going to a hospital to do clinical work. Currently Peacehealth is the sole clinical partner for the LERN program; however, future clinical work may be done at a variety of clinical settings. The first class of LERN students graduated in 2005 with 100 percent achieving RN licensure. All the students were offered employment prior to graduation, and all are currently working as RN's. For more information about the LERN program call Kathy Mauser at 360-442-2867.

Looking ahead, distance learning-related projects coming to LCC include radically revamping the online two-year degree program and creating a new two-year evening degree program that will rely heavily on hybrid course design, with students spending less time on campus and more time online or in non-face-to-face instruction.

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Yakima Valley College, Walla Walla Community College and Columbia Basin College Title V Grant

A Title V consortium grant awarded to Columbia Basin College, Yakima College, and Walla Walla Community College provided funding for the development of a web-based educational planning tool. The tool allows students to select a program of study, develop a plan for completing the requirements, and save the plan for review and approval by an advisor. YVC has implemented the application Fall 2005. WWCC and CBC plan to implement it this year.

Students and staff login to the Ed Plan application using the SID and Global PIN. After the student selects a program of study, required courses are selected from a drop-down down menu and placed into a quarterly calendar. Student scores on placement tests determine appropriate courses in Math, English, and Reading, and are also used for any existing prerequisites for other courses. The sequencing of classes in that discipline (i.e. Math or English) is mapped out for the student.

The Ed Plan is not a degree audit, but it is a student success tool that helps students visually plan for the completion of an education program. (Note: Ed Plans does use data tables CIS colleges will use for the new Degree Audit program). The degree audit will show the student completed coursework, and identify the remaining requirements by category. The Ed Plan will help students plan for completing those remaining requirements. The student names the plan, saves it, and submits it. The plan is routed electronically to the appropriate advisor. That advisor reviews the plan and electronically either approves it or sends it back for revision with notes attached.

The consortium colleges are interested in sharing this application with CIS and other colleges.

View the test module interface.

View the Ed Plans tool.

Yakima Valley Community College Title V - Year Two ReportPDF

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Olympic College Telecourses on USB Drives

Olympic College has launched a new course delivery method using USB drives. These portable courses work on any version of popular operating systems such as Windows, MAC, and Linux. Complete with lectures, videos, assignments and, sometimes tests, students work independent of internet connections, chat rooms, discussion boards etc. Yet, every class is instructor led. The advantage of the USB drive over a CD ROM format is the capability to add data back onto the device. Students enter their response to assignments into a text box which is then stored on the USB drive. At the end of the course, the student returns the drive to the college for grade assessment.

Designed originally for active duty submariners who have long periods of time without internet access, these courses can be taken “whenever and wherever.” Olympic College (OC) quickly learned, however, that this flexible course delivery format also appeals to students who have reliable internet access but may have scheduling or transportation challenges.

A pilot program launched Fall Quarter 2006 with 46 students in seven courses. Classes included sociology, electronics, business economics and business management. Enrollment continued to grow throughout the year, resulting in 235 enrollments by the end of Spring Quarter 2007, while the college sought feedback from faculty and students. Fall 2007 enrollments are ahead of last year by four fold at the time of this writing. Although this learning format is not for every student, those who enroll in a USB drive course like it and are asking for more – and student success rates are high. “We’ve been pleased with the response from our students and our faculty. In today’s world it’s important to offer a variety of course delivery methods so that more students can meet their academic goals,” says Randy Lawrence, Vice President of Instruction at Olympic College.

One of the first classes offered in this format was a unique electronics review course. With instructor approval, students enroll in ELECT 200 and earn two credits. If they receive a passing grade they will automatically be granted an additional 30 credits from the required first year theory and lab classes.  This has been a great opportunity for military students who have had prior electronics training.

Recent course additions include psychology, organizational leadership courses, and 12 more electronics courses. OC expects to launch three courses in Fire Science over the next 12 months, along with more general education courses.

For further information about USB courses, contact Wendy Miles, Director of Military Education & Training at Olympic College, wmiles@olympic.edu, 360-475-7786.

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WACTC GED and Illinois Online

During academic year 2004-05, Washington State piloted a product created by the State of Illinois, GED Illinois. GED Illinois was developed over four years through the IL Community College Board and included input from instructors around the state. The intent of GED Illinois Online instruction is to develop a GED preparation system delivered via the Internet, which offers teachers more resources as they work with students in the classroom. The online system also provides more resources for students who could not normally attend traditional class to study for the GED anytime, from anywhere while they receive support from a local adult basic education program. Beginning July 1, 2005, the GED Illinois curriculum was implemented statewide, available to all SBCTC-funded providers. As a prerequisite to using GED Illinois, instructors must complete the WAOL course, Teaching Online: Planning for Success, and GED Illinois specific training.


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