Online Division News
The CW Online Division plans to bring you monthly updates via the CW Review and here in the online blog.  As reported in last month’s CW review, we devised a way to engage the larger CW community by creating workgroups made up of CW personnel.  We have asked each workgroup to report in the Review monthly on some of their activities and projects.  This is our first edition.  You will also be hearing from members of the CW Online Division periodically, including Mary Beth, Richard, Ruth and Marie.  Thanks to all team members, team leads and many of you among our larger CW community who have become involved and engaged in the development of the Online Division.
There are a number of projects and initiatives within the workgroups and supervised by the Online Division, and many solely owned and under development through the CW Online Division.  Please feel free to direct your questions or comments to me, Mary Beth, at x463 or via email.
Library News
The CW Library will be piloting an online chat function called MEEBO which allow students to chat with one of our librarians to seek assistance with resources, coming soon.  Also, The Library currently is hosting a NetLibrary eBook Trial, and will, most likely, hold trials with several other e-book vendors.  The current trial will allow access to 500 eBooks and 50 eAudiobooks geared for academic libraries. Customized trials, tailored to specific colleges, are not available at this time. However, purchases tailored to College concentrations are expected and eBooks acquired become part of the Library’s permanent collection.  Monecia recently sent out an invitation that will allow trial access to NetLibrary.  Give it a try.
A Rose by Any Other Name….”Online” as a Proper Noun/Name
At the CW Online Division, we refer to Online as Online.  There are so many variations, and while there is no right or a wrong way to state it, we have chosen one variation – online or Online, not on-line, on line, On Line, etc.  After a while, it will become second nature to all of us.
Visits, Course Development and Internships, Supporting Students in the Classroom
The Teaching and Learning Work Group is comprised of team members Ruth , Paul, Greg, Joann M., Monecia, Sheryl, JoAnn S., and team lead Lorraine.
The name change is a more accurate reflection of the type of work this team will be overseeing; namely, topics relating to curriculum design, syllabi revision, as well as supporting and developing online faculty.  The team is preparing for the NYSED and Middle States Compliance visit concerning Courseware Development and the BBA Internship as it relates to the online program.
Submitted by Lorraine, Teaching and Learning team lead
Supporting Students Outside of the Classroom
We have already hit a few milestones in the Online Student Services Team.  We have created profiles of characteristics for our new on line admissions, enrollment services and academic advisors should possess.  We have identified current staff members who could assist with the training of these new advisors.  We have compiled a student survey that will be administered to current students enrolled in either BBA or Associate degree hybrid courses which will help us identify needs of students to make our students’ educational experiences that much smoother.  In addition, In conjunction with the Finance team, we are preparing a helpdesk survey to best assess what the needs of the CW community, and whether a 24/7 helpdesk vendor might help us better achieve that student, staff and faculty support in the off-hours.  Some of you will receive that survey soon.  Please participate.
We are very excited about hitting these milestones and are in the process of reaching many others.  Group members include Jean, Daphne, Pat, Julie and Tracia and team lead Maria G..
Submitted by Maria, Student Services team lead
Communicating to and Engaging The Prospective Students
The Admissions and Marketing Workgroup oversees projects including the Communications Center, Talisma implementation and online prospective student engagement process.  Team members include Mary B, Nancy T., Bob C., Dale, Sean and team lead Craig. The Admissions Communication Center will house the Admissions Associate Team.   Completion of the new center is expected by the end of December, 2010.  The Communication Center renovation includes reconfiguring the 2nd floor Admissions Suite.  Human resources include Admissions Associate staff, manager, and improved training resources for all.  Our new CRM (Constituent Relationship Management) System, Talisma, is scheduled for a mid-late spring 2011 rollout.  The Online Communications Center Team will take advantage of communication center training, Talisma and further populate this process at the appropriate time in 2011, after program approvals.
Submitted by Craig, Admissions and Marketing team lead
Do It Right
The Finance, Financial Aid, HR and Compliance team are excited to announce a few of the efforts underway to accommodate future online Students. Jessica is taking the lead on the important work of extending the CW philosophy to our soon-to-come online staff and faculty to ensure consistency in approach to customer service both throughout our ground campus and online.
Marie has been taking an inventory of forms and documents used in the different departments, classifying each forms and documents attributes and envisions each forms and documents use for online students.   Ethan has begun studying the departmental touch points of the ground campus Student Life Cycle and has created a draft report documenting these touch points.  Dianne, Nancy P., and Michele S. have other exciting upcoming online initiatives including; packaging online students, financial services support, and financial administration.
Submitted by Ethan, Finance, Financial Aid & Compliance team lead
A New Learning Management System (LMS)
The First Year Experience/Retention (FYE) workgroup is made up of team members Kelly, Michael S., Michael L., Ava, Bonnie, Judith and team lead Richard.  FYE has met a major milestone.  As many faculty are already aware, CW recently decided to transition from Blackboard Vista (previously known as WebCT) to Moodle and is currently in the process of identifying a company to host and support Moodle for the college. The target date for the transition is September, 2011.
For a variety of reasons, including the desire for greater functionality, the need for off-site hosting, and the gradual discontinuation of the Blackboard Vista system, CW has known that it would need to either upgrade or change to a different learning management system. While the initial plan had been to transition to Course Cruiser, part of the Campus Cruiser system, Course Cruiser did not have a features or support that would meet our needs. While staying with the Campus Cruiser portal, CW began considering other market-leading learning management systems that could integrate with it. The list was quickly narrowed to the two systems:
1) Blackboard 9.1, a new system from Blackboard that is very different from Blackboard Vista.
2) Moodle, an open-source system supported by multiple vendors, with a comparable market share and set of features. Moodle is used by the majority of school districts in New York State through their RICs and BOCES and is used at several SUNY campuses.
After examining costs and comparing features, Blackboard 9.1 was removed from consideration during the September meeting of cabinet. Its costs were significantly higher than Moodle, and the quote we received did not include faculty retraining or course conversion. Even with conversion and training costs factored in, Moodle was roughly a third of Blackboard’s cost over a three year period.
Of course, with Blackboard’s prices rising, we are not the only campus exploring these sorts of major changes. In the past 2-3 years, SUNY Purchase, SUNY Delhi, Louisiana State University, Florida International University, SUNY College of Optometry, Pennsylvania’s and California’s state systems, North Carolina’s community college system, Columbia University, and New York University have all either transitioned off of a Blackboard system or have started transitioning away from Blackboard and to other systems. Other campuses, such as SUNY Empire State, have started the process of examining their alternatives.
LMS Training
Once a vendor is selected, we will be working with them on a two-tier training program. First, all faculty will receive basic training in Moodle’s features and functionality. Depending on the vendor, we plan to give faculty some options for training, based on their intended use of the LMS, their availability, and their level of interest. This will include in-person training and/or online training, in addition to printed books on using Moodle in teaching and curriculum design. We are also working with contract instructional designers to ensure that interested faculty who have taken at least one of the training options will be able to make at least one hour-long appointment with someone who can consult with them on setting up their first Moodle course site.
Submitted by Richard, FYE (First Year Experience)/Retention team lead