Recently in WebVista Category

Dear colleagues,


Blackboard, the company that owns WebVista, will discontinue support for WebVista beginning January of 2013. Faculty will need to stop using WebVista by August 2012 and move their courses to a supported course management system. The University supports a second course management system called Moodle. One of the questions we needed to address was whether we needed to implement a new course management system to replace WebVista, or if Moodle could serve as the sole course management system for the University of Minnesota.

In phase one of our effort, vice president and CIO Steve Cawley charged a technical working group to explore, analyze, and recommend a strategy for the future use of Course Management Systems (CMS) at the University. A thorough investigation was conducted by the workgroup that included representatives from CEHD, CLA, CSOM, Office of the Vice Provost for Distributed Education and Instructional Technology, Office of Information Technology (OIT), and UMD. This group did not recommend replacing WebVista with a new CMS system. This group recommended Moodle as the sole CMS. Based on this recommendation and increased use of Moodle, OIT has begun to increase the capacity of Moodle servers, and is working to re-architect the technical infrastructure that works with Moodle.

Students indicate a strong preference for one system. Additional assessments indicate that it is cost prohibitive over the longer term to run two CMS systems. OIT is committed to continuing its funding level and support of Moodle long term as Moodle use is rapidly increasing at the University while WebVista use is declining.

The Moodle CMS is open source, meaning its development and production is "open" and available. It has a large and diverse user community with CMS sites being used in 212 countries and territories worldwide. The University of Minnesota is one of the largest higher education users of Moodle in the U.S.  

The University Libraries has advocated for a transition to Moodle due to its open architecture, community development model, and potential for service integrations. The Office of the Vice Provost for Distributed Education and Instructional Technology and the Office for Education, AHC (and the AHC Learning Commons) support the transition to Moodle as the sole CMS. Recently, Senate Committee on Information Technology (SCIT) members noted that this transition will help advance the goals for an integrated, centrally supported learning platform, facilitating the broader Digital Campus vision. Some SCIT members also expressed concern about the cost of transition and support for Faculty.

In phase two of our effort (beginning June 2010), OIT will establish an academic working group and work closely with faculty, administrators, IT directors, and instructional technology staff throughout the University system as we proceed. This working group includes faculty members from SCIT. OIT will work in partnership with collegiate units in terms of sharing the costs and efforts to complete this migration. OIT will provide central support services, associated training, and research into identifying and implementing migration tools as needed.

As additional information becomes available, it will continue to be posted on the CMS website and on the MyU portal. In addition, an FAQ on the CMS process is available. Ongoing updates will be presented at the Academic Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC), University Technology Enhanced Learning Leaders (UTELL), SCIT, and IT Directors meetings.  

If you have any questions, please e-mail cms-trans@lists.umn.edu. Thank you for your input and help as we embark on this two-year transition.

Steve Cawley
Vice President and CIO
Office of Information Technology

Ann Hill Duin
Associate Vice President and Associate CIO
Office of Information Technology, and
Professor of Writing Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Help with Unexpected Errors in WebVista

Have you seen the warning below while working inside WebVista?

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When this notice appears, the only way to remove it is to restart your internet browser before logging back into your site and continue your updates. This is proving to be a hassle for many people. There are ways to prevent this from happening in the future though. Below is information and help from WebVista support:

While there are no hard & fast rules regarding this, we generally recommend people close out of their browsers every few hours to refresh. Anytime the sites begin to take longer to load, or the wait times are noticeable, it's a good idea to close the browser. You can also clear the cache (see step 3 below). Our browser setup page has much of this information, but here is a good summary for troubleshooting that might be helpful to share with new users:

First of all, be sure that you are using a supported web browser and version of the Java plug-in and check that your browser and Java are configured properly.

For instructions on setting up your browser, visit our Browser Setup page at the address below:
http://webvista.umn.edu/browser

Second, if you do have the Java plug-in installed, you will want to be sure that you have only one version of the Java plug-in. Multiple versions can cause conflicts within WebVista.

If you do have multiple versions installed, you will want to remove any previous versions. You can remove them by going to your Control Panel... Add/Remove Programs... and remove anything with Java in the name.

Afterward, you will then want to download and install the supported version of the Java plug-in. You can download it from our support site at the address below:
http://webvista.umn.edu/browser/windows-java.shtml

Third, you can also help to clear your browser cache or temporary internet files.

For instructions on clearing your browser cache, please visit the address below:
http://www.adcs.umn.edu/kb/public/Detail.cfm?ArticleID=1827