Aug 272015
"big ben clock face" manhattan research, flickr, CC-BY-2.0“Big Ben Clock Face” Manhattan Research, flickr, CC-BY-2.0

Starting September 1,  OER Office Hours daily!

After our twenty-one webinars, campus visits, and other events this summer, we feel like we are getting to know many of you, and are happy to be collaborating on adopting, adapting, and building OER courses at your colleges. (Those webinars are archived here.) Did you know: 98+ VCCS courses are scheduled to go OPEN this fall/spring? (grinning broadly)

You told us that collaboration with your peers across the VCCS in exploring OER is vital to you, and of course, that is the point of this grant project. So we are excited to announce our next step: daily scheduled office hours. Some of these sessions (TBA) will be a meet-up for those collaborating on specific course building and planning, and others will be your open forum for discussions of anything you want to explore in OER theory and practice, including any technical help and support you need. Click here for instructions and to see the days and times on the calendar. No sign up is necessary – you will join us in a Google Hangout linked there by logging into your VCCS Gmail (ex:

You know how happy you are when students show up at office hours? We feel the same – we are looking forward to seeing you there!

Please let me know if you need help joining us for OER Office Hours:

 Posted by on August 27, 2015 VCCS News, Zx23 No Responses »
Aug 252015


The Distance Education peer group conference is scheduled for October 9-10, 2015 at Reynolds Community College’s Parham Campus. Proposals are due on Friday, August 28.

Get together with your peers and bridge the distance to superior teaching and learning online. If you have an innovative idea, suggestions for best practices for distance education and/or hybrid classrooms, new research, or other information you want to share that will enrich the practice of teaching and the process of learning online, please submit a proposals. We need our pioneers and trailblazers, our full-timers and our adjuncts. We need the diversity of thought and ideas that drive educational innovation. We need you to step forward.

Proposals are being accepted now and must be received by the August 28 deadline. Sessions are 60 minutes long and may be in the form of a:

  • presenter’s forum with one or more presenters
  • panel
  • roundtable
  • hands-on training in a computer lab.

Click on the link below for more information on the Distance Education Peer Group Conference or to submit a proposal:

Aug 222015


This week, I had the pleasure of visiting campuses and having kick-off meetings with Zx23 Grant Project Teams at Piedmont Virginia, Central Virginia, Virginia Western, Reynolds, and Germanna. Last week, I visited Mountain Empire in beautiful Big Stone Gap. The promise that I would get to see much of the state and meet terrific colleagues all over is  becoming more true every week! Soon I’ll be visiting Virginia Highlands, Thomas Nelson, Wytheville, John Tyler, NOVA Annandale, and several others of the sixteen colleges in our project.

What I’m hearing in my travels is that team members are back on campus, ready to roll up their sleeves and continue work on OER courses and degrees. Everyone is eager to share and share alike in collaboration with colleagues around the state. Folks are coming to our webinars and adopting, adapting, and in some cases, piloting already. We are busy creating the best forums to further facilitate this collaboration and will keep you updated.

For this week, we will be offering a full round of the “Adopt” “Adapt” and “Build” webinars on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, and our “Exploring the OER Course Tab” webinar on Tuesday. Many of you defined what your goals are for your courses and will be joining us.

You can see the schedule and sign up here:

You will receive the link to the Blackboard Collaborate space when you sign up.

Happy new semester and thanks to those of you who so graciously hosted me!

Cheryl, Zx23 Shepherdess, Lumen Learning, @chuffed57

 Posted by on August 22, 2015 Zx23 Tagged with:  No Responses »
Aug 212015

Did you miss the recent Zx23 session in your specific discipline? Looking for a catalog of Zx23 webinar recordings? You will find all of the webinar session recordings in a single place: on the Zx23 Webinar Central Recording Archive page. You can find it at

Sessions are organized by date and labeled with the specific webinar topic. Just click on the purple Collaborate icon, enter your name and email address, and the recordings should launch. Continue to monitor the Zx23 events page for upcoming webinars.

Zx23 Webinar archive

 Posted by on August 21, 2015 Training, Webinar, Zx23 No Responses »
Aug 202015
CC BY Andrew Nolte, US
 If you missed the recent webinars on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra,  you can view any of the session recordings below to see what you missed. Click a date below to launch and view the recording.


​VCCS Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Webinar Recordings

See this post to register for future sessions.

 Posted by on August 20, 2015 Training, Webinar Tagged with:  No Responses »
Aug 202015

Bb_Collaborate_ultra_laptopSince our series of Collaborate Ultra webinars are so popular, we’ve added four new sessions in September.  If you missed out on the last round of trainings, don’t sweat it: you get another chance.

Space is still limited to 50 participants and the sessions fill up fast, so don’t dawdle, lollygag, or tarry. And as a courtesy to your colleagues, please register for one session only to allow for maximum participation.

The updated webinar schedule after the jump.

  1. Friday, Aug. 21: 11am-12pm
  2. Friday, Aug. 21: 12-1pm
  3. Tuesday, Sept. 8: 11am-12pm New!
  4. Tuesday, Sept. 8: 11am-12pm New!
  5. Tuesday, Sept. 22: 11am-12pm New!
  6. Tuesday, Sept. 22: 11am-12pm New!

Please register using the form at the bottom of this post.

Session description

Do you currently use Blackboard Collaborate in your courses, as a virtual office, or for online meetings? If you do, then you will definitely want to learn about the new Collaborate with Ultra Experience by registering for one of the upcoming webinar sessions below. The webinar will introduce you to the new sleeker interface within Collaborate and demonstrate how you can take advantage of the improved functionality. If you don’t currently use Collaborate but are interested in finding out how you can connect and engage with your students and colleagues with this powerful videoconferencing platform, consider registering for a session to learn more. Your students will love using the new browser-based Collaborate platform to connect with you and their fellow students.

Webinar Agenda

Each session will provide you with an overview of the features and functionality of the new Collaborate with Ultra Experience. Specifically, the session will cover:

  • What is the Ultra Experience?
  • Advantages to Collaborate with Ultra Experience
  • Use Cases for Collaborate Ultra
  • Feature overview
  • Technical considerations
  • What’s next?

NOTE: Blackboard Collaborate is compatible with all browsers, but for the best experience use Google Chrome. Contact your college help desk staff to see if they will download Chrome to your computer.


Each session is limited to 50 participants. If the session you want does not appear below, that means it is currently full. Additional sessions will be scheduled in the future. After you register, you will receive a link to your webinar session.

    If a session does not appear, that means it is full.
 Posted by on August 20, 2015 Training, Webinar Tagged with:  1 Response »
Aug 192015

Atomic Learning logo

Did you know that 19 VCCS colleges* and the System Office subscribe to Atomic Learning and have access to online training on over 250 applications, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Apps, and Blackboard Learn, as well as a series of student-focused workshops on the effective use of technology? Atomic Learning also offers training on assistive technology and 508 compliance to help colleges create a barrier-free campus; skill assessments to help gauge the knowledge and skills of both instructors and students; career skills modules that provide the soft skills training needed for academic and career growth, and much much more.

To learn more about how you can put Atomic Learning to work for you, please register for a series of valuable training sessions, hosted by Atomic Learning and the VCCS. These sessions will explore Atomic Learning’s vast library of online learning resources and address how these resources can meet the specific needs of VCCS faculty and staff in particular campus roles: faculty, of course, as well as instructional designers, instructional technologists, help desk and student services staff, human resources staff, and college train-the-trainers. During these sessions, you will not only learn more about the rich catalog of online learning resources available to you, but also hear  about success stories, learn best practices, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

Each hourlong session begins at 11:00 a.m and will be tailored to a specific audience (see the list below).  However, all VCCS faculty and staff* are welcome to join any or all of the sessions they want.


  • September 4:  Instructional Designers/Technologists
  • September 18: Help Desk
  • October 2: Faculty
  • October 16: Human Resources
  • November 20: Train-the-trainers
  • December 18: Student Services

* currently, CVCC, DCC, LFCC, and NRCC do not participate in the VCCS’s Atomic Learning subscription. While faculty and staff from these colleges will not be able to access the Atomic Learning resources in Blackboard Learn, they are still welcome to participate in any of the above webinar sessions.

Register for Atomic Learning Training

 Posted by on August 19, 2015 Training, Webinar Tagged with:  No Responses »
Aug 182015

OER_course_tabThere is a new feature in Blackboard Learn that is going to make it extremely easy for VCCS faculty to browse, preview, and adopt open courses to use in their classes. Now when faculty login to Blackboard Learn, they will see a new tab at the top of their screen called OER Courses (OER stands for open educational resources. For a good definition of OER, see the site). The new tab contains a list of openly licensed courses—courses that use free and open educational materials instead of traditional publisher-created textbooks—that have been developed, reviewed, and shared by VCCS faculty.

All VCCS faculty are welcome–scratch thatencouraged to browse this catalog of open courses to request access to preview any courses they are interested in. Once a faculty member finds a course they like, they can copy it into a Blackboard shell to use. For free. No strings attached.

Simple as pie, right? Well, that’s what we hope at least.

Currently, the following eleven open courses are available on the OER Courses tab:

  • BIO 101 General Biology I
  • BUS 100 Introduction to Business
  • BUS 236 Communication in Management
  • CST 100 Principles of Public Speaking
  • ECO 201 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • ECO 202 Principles of Microeconomics
  • ENG 111 College Composition I
  • ENG 112 College Composition II
  • ENG 243 Survey of English Literature I
  • PSY 200 Principles of Psychology
  • SDV 100 College Success Skills

If you want to take a guided tour of the new tab, feel free to register for a webinar that will walk you through the features of the tab and provide more details about adopting the courses found there. The next session is scheduled for Tuesday, August 25 from 9:00-10:00am via Blackboard Collaborate. You can register by completing the short online form: Once you sign up, you will be emailed the link to join the webinar.

Hopefully, this new tab will make it easier than ever for interested faculty at colleges across the VCCS to adopt open courses, giving them more flexibility with their course materials and saving their students money to boot.

 Posted by on August 18, 2015 VCCS News, Zx23 Tagged with: ,  1 Response »
Aug 142015

In the “Building OER Courses” webinar, we focused on how to build OER courses in for delivery in Blackboard. If you couldn’t be there or just want to relive the moment, here is a link to the recording of the session: BUILD OER.

You can also get a copy of the presentation from the webinar that includes useful links from the discussion.

Feel free to pass it on to any colleagues interested in exploring OER!

The entire series of Adapt, Adopt and Build OER webinars will be repeated for people who didn’t get to attend, so please join us—no prerequisites! You can sign up now.

 Posted by on August 14, 2015 Training, Webinar, Zx23 No Responses »