Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Law School Half Time Report

Image from Kate Hiscock, under a
CC BY 2.0 license 
Reading week upon us and time to take a quick look back at the first half of the semester from the point of view of the Law School . Except that it isn't really half time for us. An increasing number of our course programmes start earlier than the normal undergraduate year. This used to see us fired up and ready for the first week in September, but even that has pushed forward into mid August for one of our part time programmes. 

(begs the question when will the Learning Technologies Team find a free week to do the summertime patches on Blackboard as the summer window gets smaller?) Having an early start also meant we soon found out when rolled over courses didn't quite work as expected. In our case it was screencasts (published from Articulate) that threw us an early curve-ball. The courses were all checked, we can view the rolled over screencasts, the tutors can see the rolled over screencasts, then came the steady stream of student complaints. First it’s “Some of the screencasts don't work in Solicitors’ Accounts”, then its every other course we have running . Maybe its a chrome problem? What device are you using? have you tried it on the University's own desktop, it’s definitely working fine for us? Then we twigged what was happening. All the newly republished screencasts worked perfectly, it was only the ones that had been left unchanged from last year that displayed a blank. The students did indeed have permissions to the html file that launched the screencast, just not permissions to all the underlying folders and files needed to view it. This was not spotted as a staff MOLE user, as we have access rights to the entire content collection. So with the help of the Learning Technologies Team this was traced back to courses built before last winter’s patch, the one that prevented students accessing adaptive release material directly from the content collection. Having found the problem the solution wasn't quite as straightforward. Re uploading every screencast and its associated files would fix all the permission issues but by this time intro week for the undergraduates was upon us; simply no time. In the end it was a case of manually applying student rights to groups of folders in some courses, and uploading from scratch in a few others. One thing I did learn is how much the test student account and two different browser windows are you best friends in sorting theses issues. I was going to write a little about struggling with SCORM to pass grades from 3rd party quiz tools to BB9, problems with viewing videos in chrome, the annoyance of accidentally enrolling a staff member as a student, the fact that Respondus with its new patch for BB9 still doesn't grasp the concept of negative marking and a host of other things but they can wait till another time. Roll on the semester 2 roll over!

Ian

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ian, great post and it's heartening (for me more than you probably!) to hear that other technologists are having issues getting things to display properly in MOLE2. I think I might do a quick half-time report of technology at the ELTC as well to share the ups and downs we've had this term as well.

    Oh, and yes, enrolling teachers as students is easily one of the most annoying things in MOLE2, having no quick way to change that is kind of ridiculous...

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