Generic Support Questions for WebCT CE 6

Common litany of questions I ask when I find that someone is having a problem that is presented to me with nebulous descriptions...

What is the problem?
What exactly are you clicking when things stop working correctly?
What happens when you make that click? (Please include exact error messages if possible!)
What class(es) are you having this problem?

If you do not know how to fix the problem at this point, ask on...

Are you on campus or off campus?
If off, are you at home? At work?
What Operating System are you using? (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.)
What browser(s) and version(s) are you using?
Browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Mozilla
Does this problem occur when you try with a different browser?
Does this problem occur when you try with a different computer?
Does this problem occur when you try with a different computer in more than one place?
Does this problem occur on campus?

The Tick is Back

The TickGiven enough time, I would probably -- at one point or another -- make a claim that any given cartoon I have seen in my life was a great cartoon. I just happen to have a very large soft-spot for cartoons. However, one of the truly great cartoons of the 90s has made somewhat of a comeback.

That's right, the Tick.

For those who say, 'what?" Stop reading now! There is no point for you to read on. I have neither the time nor the patience to attempt to explain to you why this show was just so damn funny. It had a very short run on Fox Saturday (and at times I think Sunday) mornings, and then spent some time on Comedy Central -- in the days before the network had as much original programming as they do now.

That said, the Toon Disney Network has apparently lauched a more 'big-kids' segment of their daily programming called JETIX. It runs only in the evening, and plays a lot of power rangers and what-not that I could care less about. But at 10:30PM ET, the Tick, Arthur, Die Fledermaus, Sewer Urchin, American Maid, et al., are back in my living room, defending The City from evil...SPOON!

Life is good.

tick, the tick, cartoons, toon disney, jetix, saturday morning cartoons

...something profound...

Somedays I like to think I have something profound to say, but today I don't.

Actually, I am reminded of an obscure appearance that professional basketball player Scott Hastings made on (I think) The Tonight Show. Scott, who was a perennial 12th man in the NBA during the 80s and 90s (there are only 12 players on an NBA team, and usually, no one past #8 or 9 sees any time on the floor -- even if your team is up by 20 with a minute to play) made the following statement.

"Sure, I've heard Scott Hastings and Michael Jordan mentioned in the same sentence...'Scott Hastings, he's no Michael Jordan.'"

Suffice it to say , I felt like writing, and here I am...with nothing profound to say.

Or am I?

Nope.

Dan-a-thon: Disclaimer

Disclaimer within Disclaimer: This probably contains so many inside joke/references, it’d take a park map to get out…and only a few of you have that…

OK…

BEFORE-YOU-READ other postings about this thing called ‘Dan-a-thon’ I (Dan) must make the following disclaimer.

A Dan-a-thon, regardless of how it is defined or interpreted, is:

Really Fun
A Necessary Good
A Group Effort
[and yes,] Strategic

It is not:

Militaristic
Dictatorial
Difficult

Bugs

One wise crack and the picture gets bigger

I’d like to return to the point of strategy, as this is what this all boils down to. Discussion with colleagues independent of this topic was had about Game theory, and to many, game theory is all about trying to understand how you and your partners can work together to ensure that everyone succeeds. This, in some ways is the strategy that the Dan-a-thon apparently employs. Maximize the fun by leveraging previous knowledge to meet the group’s goals. It speaks to a larger over-arching philosophy that I abide by but have never spent too much time thinking about…I guess that’s just me.

That is all.

Dan-a-thon, fun, strategy, game theory, disney world, groups,

Luminis Message Broker, CE6, and the missing doc

Reconnecting the Luminis Message Broker to WebCT CE 6.x is different than it was for CE 4.x. In the earlier version, any reconnection was handled from the Luimins side. That is now differerent. The reconnection comes from the WebCT side. Attempts to reconnect from the Luminis Admin interface will fail. Fortunately, after running into the problem, we noticed that while (at the time) Sungard had no documentation, WebCT did...

...or at least it used to. The following comes from WebCT's Guide to Integrating with the SCT Luminisâ„¢ Data Integration Suite -- Sept. 21, 2005. The current (November 28, 2005) version inexplicably removed this section (text-bolding added by me).

REESTABLISHING A CONNECTION TO THE LUMINIS MESSAGE BROKER
WebCT's connection to the LMB will need to be reestablished when any of the following occur:
• the WebCT server goes down
• the LMB server goes down
• network failure
• the LMB server is shut down gracefully

If the WebCT server goes down, WebCT automatically tries to reestablish a connection to the LMB upon restart. WebCT will try to reestablish a connection every 60 seconds, for 48 hours.

If the LMB server goes down or a network failure occurs, WebCT will only reestablish a connection to the LMB if the imqReconnect settings in the LMB are configured to allow WebCT to reconnect...

If the LMB server is shut down gracefully, a permanent disconnect command is sent to WebCT. After this command is received, WebCT will not attempt to automatically reconnect to the LMB. To reconnect, the WebCT administrator must disable and then re-enable the LMB adaptor...

To reestablish the connection:

  1. Login as the Institution Administrator
  2. Click the Administration Tab
  3. Click the Utilities Tab and then click the Settings Link
  4. Click the Link for 'SCT Integration-Luminis Message Broker
  5. In the Enabled Field, select False, and click Save at the Bottom of the page
  6. Then, again click the Link for 'SCT Integration-Luminis Message Broker
  7. In the Enabled Field, select True, and click Save at the Bottom of the page

Why this section was removed from current documentation is beyond me...I have notified WebCT, so we'll have to see what their response is.

Luminis, Luminis Message Broker, LMB, WebCT, WebCT CE 6

ICGORLDI and WebCT CE 6

This is updated information based on a recent Intcomp 7.1 upgrade.

It is these types of 'nuggets' that constitute the primary reason I decided to try this whole thing out. We are most likely one of the few institutions that are using WebCT Campus Edition (CE) 6.0 integrated with our Banner (version 7) Student Information System via LDI for eLearning.

When you are integrated, you can very quickly build a semester's worth of courses, sections, students, instructors, enrollments, and more into your WebCT instance by using the ICGORLDI table in Banner. ICGORLDI then compiles this data into an XML file that can be imported directly into WebCT -- bypassing the Luminis Message Broken (LMB) and getting you ready much more quickly for live integration.

Unfortuately, there is no documentation (and when we performed this task in November 2005, was claimed as unsupported) to find correct parameters needed to allow ICGORLDI to create a WebCT CE 6.x-friendly XML file (Hint: The settigns are not the same as they were for CE 4.x). We began under the simple assumption that the settings would most likely mimic those from Vista 3.x. After some testing and tweaking, the following shows what we currently use. (Blank cells indicate parameter was left blank.)

Printer: DATABASE
01 Application Code  
02 Selection ID  
03 Creator ID  
04 User ID  
05 Term Use appropriate 6-digit Term code
06 Extract Colleges Y
07 Extract Departments Y
08 Extract Courses Y (A leaves out experimental and some first-time offerings)
09 Extract Sections Y
10 Extract Cross Lists N (your preference)
11 Extract Persons with Login ID only Y
12 Extract Persons FACULTY*
12 Extract Persons STUDENT_ACTIVE*
12 Extract Persons EMPLOYEE* (3 'Persons' records used here to avoid importing thousands of ALUMNI accounts)
13 Extract Faculty Assignments Y
14 Extract Faculty Departments Y
15 Extract Student Enrollments Y
16 Partner Code  
17 Extract Deletable Enrollments N

*With Intcomp 7.1, roles may be handled differently. Our campus uses custom roles, so you can refer to the GORRSQL table or your administrator to find out what these new roles might be (they are case-sensitive). Proir to Intcmop 7.1, the roles were FAC, EMP, STU, and ALU)...oh, and don't type the *'s!

Banner, Campus Edition, CE 6, ICGORLDI, LDI, LDI for eLearning, WebCT, WebCT

"Who am I? Why am I here?"

Mr. Stockdale, you told it like it was.After standing on the water's edge for a long time, I am going out for a swim. My name is Dan, and I am the WebCT Administrator for Plymouth State University, a small campus tucked nicely into central New Hampshire.

I have actually only been working with WebCT for about a year-and-a-half...before this, my life was about weather. Before boarding the WebCT train, I worked at the Universtiy of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Among my more visible projects was being a developer on the Weather World 2010 project -- an educational reference for atmospheric science information.

But now I am here, and I see that WebCT (and other LMS's) are an interesting confluence of education and technology. To be an effective administrator, you need to know more than how to keep everything up and running and the various click-paths neccesary to complete tasks --you must also have the ability to relate with your faculty. In the end, they are the users of the tool, and first and foremost, they need to be able to teach their classes. If they can leverage WebCT to their advantage, great! That's where we can enter the picture and help them. Not just with click-paths, but with real ideas! I have heard from many that 'instructors don't want to hear IT-professionals' think' on how best to use WebCT, but I couldn't disagree more! I will not profess my personal opinions to an instructor, but almost everytime I am helping someone, they ask me "What would you do?"

I feel that this relationship between myself and our campus' faculty has taken time, but it is the absolute key to my interpretation of success in this job.

WebCT, WebCT Administration, Learning Management Systems, LMS

Ode to the Construction Guy

I couldn’t think of any other way to make my first post than to pay homage to the ‘Construction Guy’.

Construction Guy

Oh, Construction Guy,
you made me feel like my favorite sites were almost complete.
Not today, though, "This site is under construction!"
Oh, Construction Guy,
where have you gone?
Everything is changing, nothing is ever finished.
Except you…

construction guy