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Blackboard Learning System CE 8

Upgrading from WebCT CE 4.1 to CE 8

CCRI has been using WebCT version CE 4.1 for many years with great success. However technology is never static and our version will no longer have full support from the company as of January 1, 2009. WebCT version CE 6.0 was released in July 2005 and was rebranded as Blackboard Learning System (BLS) CE 6 after the Blackboard buyout in February 2006. In March 2008 it was renamed again as Blackboard Learning System (BLS) CE 8 in order to bring all Blackboard products to the same version number. It's still a WebCT product - just with a new name and many new features.

Due to the upheaval that occurred during the reorganization and staff changes at Blackboard after the buyout we made the decision to stay with our current version until their operation was more stable. However now that support for our current version is ending the Academic Technology Advisory Committee (ATAC) along with the Department of Information Technology’s instructional support team has reviewed the upgraded product's added features and has recommended a gradual migration to BLS CE 8.

Migration Plan

The plan would be to have a small number of faculty volunteer to use the new version with their students in Fall 2008 and monitor the faculty and student experience to make any necessary refinements to our configuration and documentation. Since the new version is on a different server we will be able to continue to run our current version in parallel with the new version so that most faculty will continue to use their courses as usual. We will bring copies of courses over to the new server so that faculty can explore the new features in development mode. Workshops on the new version will also be offered i so that everyone can become comfortable. Faculty can then notify IT if they’d like to offer their classes in Spring 2009 using the new version with a goal of migrating all courses to the new system for Fall 2009.

The IT Department has created a BLS CE 8 upgrade team to plan the technical and logistical sides of the upgrade.  This will involve planning the infrastructure, planning faculty training and support, planning student support, setting up the servers for testing, consultations with Blackboard, running courses through migration and integration.  We are including time to test the system, test the migration of courses with faculty, and time for faculty to both be trained on the new version and prepare courses on the new system. 

This website will be the space for all things BLS CE 8, including archived updates, reference manuals, tutorials, and contact information. This site will be updated periodically with any new information or news regarding our upgrade to the new version along with additional resources. Check back often!

Note: some of the training materials included on this site were developed before the name change by Blackboard. Keep in mind that WebCT 6 is the same product as the one now referred to as Blackboard Learning System CE 8.

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