|Trouble reading this? Click here.||Number 132 - July 26, 2012|
The SP9 upgrade is primarily bug fixes and security vulnerability patches, but it does have two notable features: a new Visual Textbox Editor and support for the latest update channels for Firefox and Chrome browsers. Other than questions like "How do I login?" and "Why isn't my course available?" that we receive at our helpdesk, the dominant cause of problems and irregularities users encounter using Blackboard are browser related. We strongly recommend that professors and students use Firefox or Chrome when interacting with Blackboard. They are not bullet proof, but they handle common web behaviors much better than Internet Explorer.
The upgrade also has some minor functionality improvements which may mean something to a few instructors, but are not of great popular significance. See our earlier post on the SP9 upgrade for a fuller discussion of its features.
We apologize for the inconvenience of having the system down during a semester, but this is the only time window we have this year in order to accomplish this important work.
We strongly recommend that instructors using Blackboard to teach a summer course archive all their courses before the upgrade is performed. This is true whether it is a just concluded 6-week course, or a to-be-completed 8 week course. We also recommend that you backup your grade center offline. A screen video on how to archive a course can be found here, and one on how to backup your grade center offline here.
Help Desk Upgrade
We are in the process of upgrading and migrating our help desk system from a vendor-hosted environment to a self-hosted one. The switchover will occur at end of work day on Tuesday, July 31. There will be no interruption in service.
We are doing this to gain more control over the system generally and use Palomar login information specifically. In the vendor-hosted model once a user creates a help ticket a system generated ID and password are emailed to the user so that she can login to the system and track the progress of her ticket. In the new self-hosted system users can use their Palomar login credentials to access the system before and after ticket creation in order to track all their tickets. User login credentials (i.e., username and password) for faculty members and students will be the same as those used to login to Blackboard.
Local control of the system will also allow us to customize it to make it more effective for Palomar faculty, staff and students. Our goal is to focus user attention on the web interface, and deprecate, as much as possible, the use of email and phone help requests. Those avenues for help will still be available, of course, as always, and if users submit help requests via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (760) 744-1150 ext. 2862 help tickets within the system will still be generated as always, but they will be associated with a Palomar ID for tracking purposes. Live Chat help will also still be available, as always.
The new URL for the help system, as of August 1, will be http://www.palomar.edu/atrc/helpdesk. The old address, https://www.palomar.edu/atrc/helpdesk/ will remain in service for a couple of months, but will simply redirect users to the new address. If you make reference to the old URL in syllabi or on web pages, please make the change as soon as possible.
Over the first couple of weeks in August (approximately August 1-15) we will be migrating our WordPress implementation from a Microsoft SQL database to a MySQL database. There are currently about 90 Palomar WordPress sites, and we will be moving them gradually. There will be minimal disruption of service—a brief period, of which you will be informed individually, while you cannot make upgrades to the sites. those who have heavily customized their themes will be contacted individually so that we can work with them to insure theme and widget continuity. WordlPress is designed to be used with a MySQL database, and it is only through the use of a plugin that we can use it with an MS-SQL database. Eliminating the plugin should result in much better system performance.
Academic Technology Plenary Events
It is time for the fall Plenary events again. This year Academic Technology will be participating in serveral offerings:
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