by Marie Raney
Issue 45, Winter 2010
At the beginning of each new academic quarter faculty members who create Blackboard courses have used an online tool developed by ATUS to request these courses. For fall term 2009 we launched a newly designed tool; now for winter 2010 we have added some new capability that we think you'll find useful.
The new design incorporates a one-page design that uses AJAX technologies to reveal the information you need when you need it and based on the choices you make. There is also on-page help that can be hidden or revealed. To turn help on or off, simply toggle the blue question mark in the top right corner.
In the past only CRN-based courses could be created with this tool, but the new tool allows non-CRN courses to be created as well. We also added a new feature by request: a prompter that reminds the user of the CRNs associated with their username for the selected term.
The original tool was mostly manual - the tool simply created a request queue to which ATUS Web Services employees would respond, manually creating each course using the Blackboard interface. This meant that although a course could be requested any time, it would only be created by our staff during normal business hours. During busy times at the beginning of term we struggled to complete the queue each day. The new design creates a queue directly for the Blackboard server and the courses are created every two hours all days, nights, and weekends. A separate process, which runs hourly, verifies the course was created and sends an email to the requestor and instructors.
Request > Create Courses (each 2 hours) > Check status (each hour) >Send email if successful
We hope these new refinements to the Blackboard Request Tool make it easier and faster for you to create the courses you need. Please go to http://bbrequest.wwu.edu to request your courses for upcoming terms.
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