Monthly Archives: October 2013

Integrating D2L-Drupal Via LTI #USGRockEagle13

Tom Boyle, Kennesaw State University

  • Half Drupal and half Desire2Learn interest.
  • Request to determine how to decrease time it takes for an online student to go from application to orientation to advisement to registration.
  • Orientation took place in Desire2Learn.
  • Script looks for applicants in Banner and creates the user in Bulk User Management. Registrar enrolls them in the course.
  • Student takes the quiz.
  • Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) is a way to integrate systems parallel to an LMS without the need for separate custom integrations. Custom output module  uses D2L external learning tools and LTI.
  • Drupal link is not world readable and users do not have to login. D2L configuration familiar. Open source allowed to write custom code to output to Banner. Sometimes the user does not click the button within Drupal so nothing gets captured. Maybe they should automatically click the button for them?
  • YAY!! Tom is using his test instance of D2L to demo instead of production. Love it when our clients use our services right.
  • URLs are not usable unless sent over by Desire2Learn ELT. Yay, for security.
  • Added LTI Tool Provider and OAuth-PHP libraries to Drupal.
  • Got to explain to Tom what some of the values he sees in the session variables.

Discussion:

  • Alternative method:
    • Intelligent agent emails an address to inform them the orientation is complete.
  • KSU going to use similar method for putting staff into course(s) for Ethics test. Really anything where Tom needs to get new users into D2L fast.

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BOF Windows Powershell #USGRockEagle13

Bird of a Feather so open discussion. Intro question:

  • How are you using it?
  • How do you like it?
  • Good sources of documentation? Information?
  • Tools/Modules used? e.g. editors, PowerTab module, ISE ScriptingGuy, Codeplex, etc/
  • Using Powershell: User-written functions, cmdlets, modules
  • Version 3? Version 4?

Discussion:

  • Passing around various books.
  • Manning occasionally has half off deals on ebooks. (True. Got my Powershell 2 book on such a deal.)
  • Listserv: ga-powershell at www.listserv.uga.edu.
  • Scripting works great for managing large number of virtual machines.

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D2L Faculty Readiness #USGRockEagle13

Dee McKinney and Kathy Whitaker, East Georgia College

    • 3k students, access inst, grant associates degrees,
    • Many students first generation in family.
    • Part of first Georgia implementation group so started Fall 2012.
    • VP Academic Affairs asked all faculty to 1) upload a syllabus, 2) keep the grade book updated. So students can tell where they are in the course. At least an update every other week.
    • Purpose of study:
    • What training effective? Did it work/
    • 12 * 3 hour training sessions in May-July. 4 * 2 hour ‘quick start’ sessions in August. Covered basic tools: syllabus, grade book, discussions, dropbox, import content, email, quizzes, class lists, etc.
    • As time allowed: widgets, nav bars, news, pagers, custom profile, elementary design. Experiment.
    • 122 faculty. 33% attended training. 65% of those full time faculty. 2 dedicated trainers. Some trainees given stipend to be in the field mentors.
      • Online experts: substantial online experience. Mix of full and part time. 27 total. By choice came to earliest sessions.
      • Curious Optimists: some online experience. Mix of 2 to longer. 1 to quick.
      • Reluctant Participants: Little to no online teaching experience. All full time faculty. 7 total. A few admitted only there because required. Did not attend group training. Made appointments for individual.
    • Additional training: extensive list of docs, found apps, etc.
    • Survey before and after plus 5 weeks after start of Fall 2012. Emails approx 400 from help. Informal reviews.
    • Results: 3 hours was enough but not too much b/c workshop oriented not lecture. Essential for time to play with advisers to help. Instructors worked on own content not sample course. 1:8 trainer to trainee ratio. Participants collaborated. IT person on hand for passwords.
    • Multiple methods of training.
    • Mentors on hand regularly.
    • Perception of readiness: anxious prior. Confident after. Requests for advanced training.
    • Group one more competent. Reluctant willing try more positive.
    • Allow as much lead time as possible.
    • Accept some faculty will never buy into online teaching.
    • Suggestion faculty get a course release for first time teaching as so much work to start.
    • Was training or new LMS that made faculty happier.
    • Fall 2013: 2 hour training. Quick start guide. Start set0up while trainer in the room. Focused workshops for followup training on grade books, quizzes, widgets, intelligent agents (spring).
    • Met with professional advisers to focus on needs of online students.

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Security Inside Out #USGRockEagle13

Eddie Carter and Orrin Char, Oracle

    • Identity management and security and access management.
    • Eddie wore a UGA shirt. Guy in front of me made fun of him obviously not wanting to sell to Georgia Tech. Turns out he’s from  Kennesaw. The GT-UGA rivalry knows no bounds. Love it!
    • Handout: Database firewall more auditing and ACLs than enterprise firewalls access to many hosts.
    • 67% records breached from servers. 76% breached through weak or stolen credentials. Discovered by an external party. 97% preventable with basic controls. Source: 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report.
    • Pre-1997: security issues mistakes. 1998-2007: Privilege abuse. Curiosity. Leakage. 2008-2009: Malicious. Social engineering. Sophisticated attacks. Business data theft. Loss of reputation.
    • Can be fined. Buy services for people affected by the breach.
    • DBAs are the targets. Phishing to get credentials.
    • Change is where gaps are opened. Being more available means more highly privileged users. Consultants and vendors claim they need DBA level access.
    • 80% of IT security programs do not address db security. They address outside computers such as with firewalls. More and more attacks exploit legitimate access applications and user credentials.
    • Supports SQL Server and MySQL.
    • Preventative
      • encryption : If data stolen in encrypted form, then do not have report the breach? Application should not even know it is encrypted. Network encryption now free to us. Autonegotiates with destination. No application changes. Little overhead. Integrated with Oracle technologies. Key management 2 layers. Master in hardware module or in a wallet. Wallet can be tied to hardware and accessed at restart. Data encrypted with table or column key. Table and column keys encrypted with master key.
      • redaction : Use ACLs to determine who can see. It will replace text such as on credit card numbers, SSNs, so can only see a full, partial, fixed.
      • data masking for nonproduction use : copy of production data in test with test being less secure. Masking means no longer valuable data. Finds sensitive columns through templates and convert the data so meaningless. Shuffle salaries. ID numbers randomized even partial. Randomize all but first two characters of last name. Can be two way so change for sending to a partner for process but then revert back when returned.
      • privileged user controls : Compartmentalization of commands. Prevent consultants from querying certain tables. Creates protective zones around schema objects.
    • Detective
      • activity monitoring :
      • database firewall : sits on the network. Parses SQL to determine the intent. Whitelist and Blacklist and exception list. If none, then alerts security to it and potentially added to a list. Have a learning and blocking mode. Can return empty result list to a hacker so thinks there are no records.
      • auditing and reporting : analyze audit-event data. Central audit repository so hacker unaware. Default and custom reports.
      • conditional auditing framework : if-this-then-that
    • Administrative
      • privilege analysis : privilege capture mode. report on what actual privileges and roles that are used. Revoke unnecessary.
      • sensitive data discovery : scan Oracle for sensitive fields. data definitions.
      • configuration management : discover and classify databases. scan for secure config.

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Minimal Downtime #USGRockEagle13

Marc Pare, Oracle

    • Why work on weekends or late at night? (For us because of director policy because accidents during the day changes untenable with clients. But this is targeted to Banner to not GeorgiaVIEW.)
    • Weblogic High Available Topology (Maximum Available Architecture)
      • Client > Apache Server or OHS > WLS Cluster (> Admin Server) > RAC Cluster (> Oracle DB)
      • Why is this not being used?
    • Impressed someone from Oracle is so in touch with problems of Banner on Oracle and solutions.
    • Use Oracle Enterprise Manager to monitor middle tier. Uses mBeans and exposes most items except for some provisioning.
    • Cloning. Template builder. Add new nodes or setup test instances.
    • Rolling upgrades: Bring down first, patch, bring back up; find second, bring down, patch, bring back up. If it encounters a problem, then it rolls back the patch and brings it back up.
    • When experimenting, bring back up with end user access blocked, test and verify. Only when happy, enable end user access. We should consider giving campus administrators access to our direct nodes for testing so they can verify before release. Or even better really knock out the automated testing.

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D2L Tips and Tricks 10.2 #USGRockEagle13

Terri Brown and Louise Fechter, Georgia Southern University

    • Upgraded to Desire2Learn 10.2 in July 2013. (Actually from 9.4.1 to 10.0 earler then later to 10.2.)
    • Support plan: revised training, more documentation, briefed support team, wrote “tips & tricks”.
    • When get calls, walk through the task then follow up with a document. If no doc exists, then that is a trigger to create one.
    • Left navigation panel expandable. Drag and drop such as from Google Drive. (Requires Google App integration.)
    • Kaltura is where they have faculty place multimedia files.
    • Document viewer OK. Not as fully featured as desktop equivalents, so students probably will have to download many documents to use them. Binder not much better?
    • D2L Community site has templates for download. Organized templates into a folder. Then enable them.
    • Discussion “Must post first” option to make the student start a thread before they can respond to others.
    • Rubrics cannot be graded in discussion tool. Use two browsers.
      • Fort Valley: Open rubric in grade item. Grade topic.
    • Posts marked read automatically.
    • Deleted topics can be restored without outside intervention? TOO COOL. Am I out of a job now?
    • Reading view promoted instead of grid view. Maybe grid going to disappear soon?
    • Pager lost sound. Just an icon notification.
    • Dropbox enter grades for no submission so students see the item on their grades and better calculate their grades. Ungraded items not calculated as zero unless change Grades setting. Restore deleted folders. Bulk upload files.
    • Student was able to submit after the end date. Not able to replicate.
    • If due date AND end date set to the same value, then neither date shows in the calendar. Use only an end date. Serious bug.
    • View student progress is new. Graph of logins. Progress meter.
    • Quiz matching type improved. Recalculation requires clicking on the TRASH CAN icon (does not delete) to recalculate.
    • Lessons learned:
      • Set user expectations.
      • Communicate.
      • News widget.

 

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GA Southern’s D2L Journey #USGRockEagle13

Eric Floyd and Terri Brown, Georgia Southern University

    • Real-Time Ellucian integration not cross-listing. Lack of quality control for release just before start of term. Hotfix soon after resolved.
    • 10.2 released late (June not May) so missed between terms window. Upgrade broke real-time again, but because delayed until August got the fix before upgrade.
    • Tried cloning from production to test, but decided better to copy 10 courses. (BCE, BCC tools)
    • Lessons learned:
      • TEST! Complexity grows with complexity of the system.
      • Familiarize changes in updates. Do not rely on D2L documentation. Listen to community. heug?
      • Be careful of encouraging third party tools. They can be bought and die.
    • Plan to move to D2L hosting? “Right now we are the tip of the spear… When GeorgiaVIEW’s functionality catches up, then that might be a possibility.”

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Columbus State Degreein3 #USGRockEagle13

Web site:  columbusstate.edu/degreein3

Mary Covington, Executive Director, IT Services, Columbus State University

Notes from session:

    • Program:
      • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant.
      • Degree in 3 years. 1st year get a certificate. 2nd year get an Associates. 3rd year get a degree.
      • $18,000 degree.
      • At least 1/3rd low income.
      • Early intervention.
      • All online courses. Standardization of course design.
    • Session talk:
      • Columbus State University owns computers and loan to students for 3 years. (After graduation, student keeps the computer.)
      • Proctored tests. Google Chromebooks, but Lockdown browser does not work on them. ProctorU used instead.
      • Since all the data really is up in the cloud, easily exchange the machine.
      • Students signed commitment letter to send the machine back. Only close call, the student changed mind after talking to an advisor.
      • 100% online degree technical support, 24/7 campus support, outsource after hours.
    • Lessons learned:
      • Know the funding plan
      • Do not specify type of technology in the grant.
      • IT people make IT decisions.
      • Vendors will try to coerce.
      • Know purchasing processes.
      • Just in time purchasing is hard.
      • Warranty process not well understood.
      • Students already have access to a computer or library already.
    • Next steps
      • In year 3 of 3.
      • 4 more sessions.

Got to explain what is Collaborative Programs, Georgia ONmyLINE, and Ingress for the presenter.

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Motivation 3.0

A recent event reminded me I should read Daniel Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. I picked it up in August to read, but since my copy is a hard back the Georgia heat would warp it, so I left it forgotten in the bedside table. So here I am, thoroughly enjoying it.

My 2009 post TED Talk: Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation is about his discussion of the ideas covered in the book. It one of my favorite all time TED Talks. RSA produced an animated video for a similar talk on the same topic.

Rewards improve performance for mechanical tasks. They malfunction when the tasks require rudimentary thinking. These extrinsic motivators are what Pink calls Motivation 2.0. We need to look at Motivation 3.0 where intrinsic motivators drive performance. They are:

    • Autonomy – urge to direct our own lives
    • Mastery – urge to get better and better at something that matters
    • Purpose – urge to do participate in something larger than themselves

Recently I lamented about how I may have profited from Specialist Culture, employees who are technically gifted or great in their fields don’t have to consider how their behaviour or work affects anyone. (Source: The Toxic Workplace) The benefit of being considered an expert in a rock star team? We suffer less compliance and receive more autonomy so we can self direct ourselves to mastery and take on the projects that give us purpose. I realized for most of my career I have had great amounts of autonomy. Supervisors pointed me at the problem, provided a vision of the end result, and let me go at it. That is a tremendous trust even for a 19 year old that I guess I earned. (Surprising.) Also, these supervisors provided me valuable instant feedback on my work.

Perhaps the history of being treated this way is why I treated the student assistants I supervised this way. Also, losing autonomy at my prior position and the way that frustrated me was a huge factor in my being poached away to my current position. Anyway, this stuff will continue to be a part of my thinking both in how bosses treat me but especially how I work with teams. An interesting question is how to arrive at more areas of the organization to achieve the same?

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healthcare.gov

As an information technology professional, when a web site has performance problems, I sigh, gnash my teeth, and gripe just like everyone else. However, twenty minutes later I realize I have been there and feel bad for those having to deal with the mess. Also, should I feel hurt that I am not among the nation’s brightest IT minds since I was not asked to help?

GeorgiaVIEW, one of the projects on which I work, has about four thousand active users on average and with topping out around 5-6 thousand week days and eight during an abnormal event. When users are having problems, they tend to come back which gives them a new session yet the old one has not expired, so the system deals with more and more sessions compounding a performance problem. Some of the descriptions people gave about having problems with healthcare.gov sounded like they came back over and over trying to enter.

The most annoying thing about the healthcare.gov problems though are the pundits. Early on, I heard they should have hired Silicon Valley companies to build the site as though IT people only come from there. They specifically named companies famous for their high profile meltdowns to build the health care exchange as experts in building huge sites without problems. Later came the small companies who build web sites for others, but not at this scale.

It is extremely difficult to build a site to the perfect scale. Overbuilding is expensive, so there is pressure to scale back. Business workflows are murky at best because until people use it, they really are unsure what it is they want. (They just know what was built is not right and why.)

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