Educational Technology Update 9.21.2011
Classroom Educational Technology
During the past year, UNMC has seen a significant expansion of technology enhanced classrooms with the addition of the Center for Nursing Sciences (10 new classrooms/conference rooms) and the Maurer Center for Public Health (12 new classrooms/conference rooms) buildings. Additional areas across the multiple campus sites in Nebraska have seen technology upgrades and enhancements, as well. The two new buildings located on the Omaha campus have added innovative technology enhanced classroom spaces that include Video (IP) conferencing, web conferencing, and a classroom allowing simultaneous multiple group work spaces as well as instructor presentations. The technology enhanced classrooms range from basic presentation capabilities, large venue presentations and video presentation, to web conferencing and advanced distance education systems with full 2 way video and audio capabilities.
- Microsoft Windows 7 was installed on classroom and cluster computers during the 2011 summer.
- As noted in previous updates, Microsoft Windows 7 has been installed except in selected in locations that need to use McKesson software, in those locations the computers are still running Windows XP. Windows 7 has primarily improved computer performance and changed the look and feel of the computer desktop.
- Note: One difference that will be noticeable is that the systems will default at the login screen to login into the UNMC campus domain, individuals with a TNMC ID and password will need to change the domain to the Nebraska Medical Center domain. This is a change in Windows 7 that requires a different way to switch between login networks.
- CPS – Audience Response System
- The software to run the CPS audience response system has been installed in requested rooms (MSC1005, MSC 3001, MSC3002, CNS3030 & MCPH2001). Contact classroom support at 402-559-7665 to request the software installation in another location.
- Classroom computer requests for updates and software installs
- In general if a computer provides a notification that an update is available, it is recommended to indicate ‘no’ or cancel the request. If that does not work, one can allow the update to occur and let the classroom technicians know what was requested.
- The Citrix computer image and streaming system upgrade to the current Citrix supported system from the previous version UNMC was running has continued with the addition of the third computer image server, now giving us a three server system with redundancy to minimize system down time.
Educational Online Systems
UNMC and the other UN campuses utilize Blackboard Learn as course information system. Each campus maintains individual servers for campus courses and organizations. At UNMC there are currently 968 courses and 84 organizations or groups on the UNMC Blackboard system. Currently, two colleges (College of Nursing and College of Public Health) have developed unique college pages that are used for access to courses, as well as College and Departmental information.
Several components and applications are linked together to with Blackboard to create the online learning system at UNMC. The core system is Blackboard (my8.unmc.edu), UNMC is running version 9.1.6. The major components of this course information system include:
- Blackboard Individual course sites for each UNMC class, these sites include areas for
- Files – embedded in course content and a file repository for easier management and sharing of course files
- Assignment creation, posting and submittal
- Online Testing with over 15 question types, ability to import and export tests, timed and non-timed test taking
- Course grade book allowing grade calculation and student viewing of their individual course grades
- Email and notification capabilities
- Online chat and meeting capabilities
- Integrated blog and wiki
- Echo360 is the campus classroom and individual faculty presentation recording system.
- Over 30 classrooms on the UNMC campuses contain the Echo360 recording device.
- The system provides scheduled, automatic recording of classes including computer images and video camera input where available.
- After the session is recorded, individuals can view and listen to the lecture using web enabled viewer that allows one to watch a complete session or jump to particular points in the lecture via a visual or timeline component.
- Echo360 sessions can be automatically integrated into Blackboard classes.
- Echo360 Version 4 Software: The most current version has added enhanced support for notebook devices including the IPad system.
- Mobile use – Echo360 has added additional capabilities to allow viewing of lectures and podcasts while using mobile technology. This is being explored and tested this fall; if you would like to participate in this review please contact Matt Rutledge at 9-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Media Ingest – The new version of Echo360 also includes the capability to ingest multiple video file types and formats and then present them similar to the way that class recordings are being delivered. Initial testing of this provides excellent video quality and provides a way to easily incorporate video into classes for student review.
- You can get more information on the Echo360 Version 4.0 software at http://www.unmc.edu/its/235.htm and http://echo360.com/echosystem/4_0/. For access to a manual go to http://confluence.echo360.com/display/40/4.0+Documentation+Home
- Campuspack is a system linked directly to UNMC Blackboard. This is an external to UNMC hosted system, which provides the capability for private blogs, wiki, discussion groups and portfolios to faculty and students and can be used in any course hosted on the Blackboard system. An individual can access this system via Blackboard or directly log into the system via unmc.campuspack.org.
- Provides password protected individual and group social media space for UNMC faculty, staff, students and courses.
- Shares functionality with services such as Facebook but provides controlled, private service.
- The most recent update has provided additional features and opened up the system to allow easier creation of additional functionality.
- Individuals have unique home page that shows what groups, blogs, wikis, and portfolios that one has access to.
- This service can be linked to directly from UNMC Blackboard inside of a class or organization.
- Respondus is a test creation software, UNMC has a campus license until July 2012 for this software that allows the creation of tests, test question libraries and local editing and updating of test questions. Once a test is created it can be uploaded to Blackboard and then deployed for student to take. This software is available for download via http://ess.unmc.edu
- Respondus includes a rudimentary test bank capability and test question editor.
- Provides similar question types as Blackboard.
- Tests created in Respondus can be used with most major course information systems if faculties are working with other institutions that do not have Blackboard as their course information system.
- Virtual Microscopy – UNMC has installed the Aurora virtual microscopy system that allows viewing and zoom functions for most image files. This system is available at mscope.unmc.edu.
- A new advanced server running the Aurora software has been installed this year providing greatly enhanced performance for handing the increasingly larger clinical and educational images used in teaching at UNMC.
- The Aurora system provides both generally viewing, annotations and quiz capabilities for high definition images.
- This server provides on- and off-campus access for students to course microscopic and other high definition images.
Educational Technology Current Problems and Fixes
- Test Item creation – A test question creation error had been detected and reported to Blackboard for a fix. When one create questions for a test, the first question was added to the test and was visible once submitted. When a second or further questions were added, some individuals were seeing that the question had been added but it was not visible for a short time or not visible until the next day before it can be seen in the test. This was escalated to Blackboard Level 3 support, but no patch has been received yet. This appears to be corrected as of September 21, 2011.
- Timed exams – A bug has been reported in using timed exams where students are residing in multiple time zones; the system does not function correctly, and students may be kicked out of exams early or given more than the allotted time if they are in a different time zone than the Blackboard server. We are awaiting a fix for this problem.
- Personalization – At the present time, Blackboard personalization has been disabled because it is possible, when personalizing Blackboard for the main Blackboard sections to not display when changes are saved. Once a fix is released the personalization will be turned back on.
- Classroom Educational Technology
- Sorrell 2007 and 4058 projectors have been replaced with new projectors.
Classroom Updates and Changes for Fall 2011
Operating System and Software Updates
- Windows 7 – Most classrooms are now running Windows 7 operating system. The desktop screen should look as similar as we were able to make to the previous version from last year. One difference that will be noticeable is that the systems will default at the login screen to login into the UNMC campus domain, individuals with a TNMC id and password will need to follow the instructions below the login area for logging into the TNMC network to use these computers. This is a change in Windows 7 that requires a different way to switch between login networks.
- Office 2010 – Starting last year, we are now using Office 2010 in all classrooms throughout campus.
- Smartboard Update – A new update for Smartboard has been installed. We are continuing to work with Smart Technologies to remove the various pop-ups that appear asking for updates and other software installs. For the time being, if the software asks to install an update or other package, we are recommending to accept the changes and then proceed to use the computer and smart board.
- Drivers and plugins – We have updated all drivers and plugins on classroom computers.
- Deployment and security software
- The workstations are now using Symantec antivirus and malware software with the campus conversion to this software this summer. We are seeing little difference in the operation of the computers with this software, one may still experience some nag notices but they have been kept to a minimum on most computers.
- Citrix software distribution has been upgraded to the latest edition along with an upgrade of the servers that deploy the software to the desktops in the classrooms and clusters. We have seen a significant improvement in startup with the new system versus the previous version. Bootup and login still take a minute or so as the Windows 7 operating system takes longer to boot than previous Windows operating systems.
- A select number of high use classrooms have been converted to a totally local managed system to improve performance. Sorrell 3001, 3002, 1005, 2010,2014 and 2018 have been converted to locally managed systems with Deep Freeze lock down software.
Classroom hardware and av equipment updates
- Sorrell 1012 new computers installed and operational, the computers now are setup the same way as Sorrell 1010 and include a flat screen monitor.
- New computers have been installed in Sorrell 3001, 3002, 1015, 2010, 2014 and 2018
- New projectors have been installed in selected Sorrell small group rooms where the projector image was degraded by overheating of the projectors.
Respondus Update - Respondus 4.0.4 – Details on Available Update
Respondus, a software for creating and managing exams which can be printed to paper or published directly to Blackboard for computer based administration. Respondus is available to the UNMC campus through June 30, 2012 thanks to a University of Nebraska Kelly Grant. Using Respondus, Blackboard exams can be created off-line using a familiar Windows environment, such as MS Word, and then copied to Blackboard. Learn more about Respondus software at:http://respondus.com/products/respondus.shtml
The Respondus 4.0.4 update includes several small enhancements and bug fixes, as well as support for the latest Blackboard. To view the complete list of enhancements, visithttp://www.respondus.com/download/respondus40patch.shtml.
Install the Respondus 4.0.4 update by following these steps:
* Start Respondus 4.0
* Select “Help” from the menu bar
* Click “Check for Update”
* Click “Get Update”
* Upon exiting the Respondus software, the update will automatically be applied
The Respondus software can be downloaded for installation:
The campus license and installation instructions for Respondus can be found at: http://ess.unmc.edu
Please print off the Install Instructions to guide you through the software installation process. Once you log into ESS click on Information Technology > Software > Respondus
Respondus LockDown Browser
Respondus LockDown Browser” is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard. When students use Respondus LockDown Browser they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications. When an assessment is started, students are locked into it until they submit it for grading. Learn more about Respondus LockDown Browser at: http://www.respondus.com/products/lockdown.shtml
The installation of Respondus LockDown Browser is strictly limited to computers which are permanently located on the University of Nebraska Medical Center campus AND managed/controlled by UNMC. The installation of Respondus LockDown browser on home, student or any other computers which leave the UNMC campus is not permitted.
Current installation locations:
Michael Sorrell Building rooms 1010 and 1012
College of Nursing at Kearney Learning Resource Center
A campus license and installation instructions for Respondus LockDown browser can be obtained by contacting Melissa Diers at email@example.com
The Echo360 classroom and workstation recording system has been upgraded to the latest release. The latest release added many administrative enhancements but the most significant enhancement for users is an enhanced player that is now available for portable technology such as iPad and iPod as well as other mobile devices. You can get more information on the changes in Echo360 Version 4.0 at http://www.unmc.edu/its/235.htm and http://echo360.com/echosystem/4_0/. For access to a manual goto http://confluence.echo360.com/display/40/4.0+Documentation+Home
We have completed the upgrade of the campus blackboard system to the latest version and to new servers. We are continuing to migrate courses from the previous server to the new server as requested. The transfers have been mostly completed successfully with a only a handful of courses that required special processing.
This version of Blackboard has mostly problem fixes. The most significant changes in Blackboard in the recent updates have been the testing area including test question numbering and testing updates. It is now possible to set a time limit on tests that is automatically triggered when the time is up and then the test is closed. Students can monitor the time left with the addition of time left in the test progress bar at the top of the test screen.
Educational Technology Update – July 7, 2011
This is an update on UNMC classroom educational technology activities currently underway, completed or planned for the next few months.
Classroom Technology Updates and Changes
As in past summers, UNMC ITS is updating classroom, labs and cluster computers and technology. Most of the updates this summer are related to server replacement, software updates and upgrades to more current editions, and adjustments to enhance performance of computers and av technology. The major updates and upgrades include the conversion of Blackboard to new servers that will allow us to run the 64bit edition of Blackboard, Campuspack blogs and wikis are being updated by Learning Objects on July 17, 2011; and upgrading the Citrix system to the latest version and installing new servers for desktop streaming and the deployment of Xen Apps for virtualizing computer applications. The following provides detail on the changes and updates currently being undertaken in campus classrooms, clusters and campus learning resources.
2011 Education Technology Updates and Changes (recent or completed in bold)
Major Hardware Changes
- Sorrell 4009 and 4024 – Conversion to local boot instead of Citrix for College of Medicine conference rooms – TBD
- Sorrell 3001 and 3002 – Redundant Echo recording capability – January 2011
- Bennett Hall – Information panels in Hallways – installed and operational June 13, 2011
- Pharmacy College – Replaced computers in cluster with new computers – February 2011
- Nursing Cluster, 4th floor CON – removing cluster, space being reused by CON – tbd June/July 2011
- College of Nursing – Omaha, 4th floor – removing cluster, space being reused by CON – tbd
- BMC 2086 and 2087 – New projector and computer installations, mounting projectors in conference rooms – July 2011
Major Hardware Fixes
- Sorrell events center – replacement of microphones to resolve interference issue. – completed June 20,2011
- Upgraded to current release June 2, 2011
- Upgrading to Release 3 version released in July 2011, July 8, 2008
- Enhancements to reliability and management console primarily.
- Next release due July, will provide enhanced mobile viewer and additional recording capabilities with new recorder that provides HD capability.
- Upgrade to be scheduled based on stability of release and added features.
- Servers being upgraded (current servers are over 3 years old and cannot run in 64bit mode which should provide more 2 times processing improvement and enhanced reliability). – installed and in testing June 27, 2011
- Proposed availability week of July 18, 2011. We are waiting on update to Learning Objects new version release the weekend of July 16 which will provide full compatibility with the latest version of Blackboard. – Week of July 16 full availability.
- Software will be the same as currently being run with the addition of patches to latest version.
- Current system my8.unmc.edu will be maintained for a couple of months until all courses have been moved and courses have been started for fall semester.
- New server will be called the generic name of my.unmc.edu.
- Upgrade tentatively planned for week of July 16, 2011.
- No major interface or feature changes for faculty and students using the system.
- New mobile Blackboard due sometime summer 2011, to include classroom mobile apps.
Campuspack Blog and Wikis – these are now hosted by the software company and are being updated to a new version – July 14, 2011
Respondus Lockdown Browser – continued contract for the coming year with COM grant – contract renewed June 2011
- Sorrell 1012 – Replacing laptop computers with Dell 790 Ultra-Small form factor desktops with integrated stand and monitor. Computers ordered, arrival 6/21/2011, installation in July 2011.
- Library 8th floor computer training room – Replacing 6 year old Dell computers with Dell 790 desktop computers, installation July 2011
- Library 8th floor computer updates – Replaced 4 year old computers with new Dell 980 desktops – June 6, 2011
- Reviewing possible replacement of Sorrell 1005, 2010, 2014, 2018, 3001, 3002 computer to latest dell models – Dell 790 desktop computers. – Waiting to determine that units provide significant improvement before scheduling install.
- Citrix Servers being upgraded to faster and larger servers, partially completed with first server in place, others to be added as conversion to latest edition of citrix streaming servers occur.
- Citrix Software Upgrade – Upgrading from current version 5 to latest Citrix release 6 which provides additional performance improvements, enhanced speed of transfer to workstations and complete support for Windows 7.
Classroom and cluster computers – Converting campus classroom computers to Windows 7. The basic image has been as close as possible to the current computer image that uses Windows XP. Windows XP support is being phased out by Microsoft and it is increasingly having problems running educational apps as well as the latest Microsoft Office software. The conversion has begun in selected locations as we test the software and Citrix delivery system. The following are the rough timelines for these conversions:
- Cluster and Lab Updates and Upgrades – Convert to new Citrix server and windows 7, update all application software and drivers, no new applications to be added.
|Cluster 8th Floor Library||completed June 10, 2011|
|Cluster 6th Floor Library||completed June 13, 2011|
|Pharmacy Cluster||completed June 15, 2011|
|Sorrell Cluster||completed June 22, 2011|
|Student Life Center Cluster||completed June 14, 2011|
|Anatomy Labs||tbd, July or early August|
|COPH computer classroom and lab||completed June 17, 2011|
|CON cluster||completed June 17, 2011|
- Classroom Updates and Upgrades - Convert to new Citrix server or switch to local computer control software Deep Freeze (provide faster boot and performance) and windows 7, update all application software and drivers, no new applications to be added.
|Locations||Conversion Dates||Priority Update Order|
|Sorrell 1010||July 7, 2011||1|
|Sorrell 1012||July 6, 2011, computers received June 21,2011||Early July|
|Sorrell Clinical Skills||July 2011||As soon as image is tested.|
|Sorrell 1005, 2010, 2014, 2018||July 2011||3|
|Sorrell 3001 and 3002||July 2011||2|
|Sorrell small group rooms, 22 rooms, including review of SmartBoard functionality.||July 2011||4|
|COPH computer classroom and lab||June 27, 2011||Completed|
|Pharmacy classrooms||July 2011||5|
|COPH Classrooms||June, 2011||Currently working|
|Wittson Hall classrooms||July 2011||7|
|CON Classrooms||July 2011||6|
|ITS Conference Rooms||converted June 13, 2011||When others are completed|
|Other campus classrooms and conference rooms||July 2011||8|
|College of Nursing Lincoln||computer upgrade being planned, funding needs to be identified – TBD, still this summer if at all possible||Working|
UNMC Educational Technology Web Pages and Information – http://blog.unmc.edu/edtech/
June 28, 2011, Daniel L. Moser