Rampart Support in Library

I’ve been going to Rampart since I took the job as a Course Designer in 2009.  However, one thing we’ve never had is an official space.  Over the years, I’ve used my old faculty office, the leadership suite conference room and Debbie Willis’ office in student life.  After 4+ years in Debbie’s office, we are trying something new starting today – I’m going to be based in the library.

We are hoping this will help both students and instructors have an easier, quicker contact to get the D2L help they need.  (I just helped a student with a Pearson account issue while writing this post.) So, if you run into D2L issues, please come find me in the library on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  (I’m always on email at nate.wadman@ppcc.edu and my phone goes with me at 502.3281.)

A big thanks to the Kristina, Debbie, Dawn and the student staff in student life for letting me stay there all of these years.  And also a huge thanks to Patrice, Carole, Sara and the library staff for giving this experiment a shot.

Is this permanent?  Will you be expanding days/times at Rampart?  It’s too early to answer these questions, but I’m excited to try this new experiment to see if it helps our students succeed.


SP18’s New Common Request

As PDW closed and we headed into the first week of classes this week, we noticed an increasingly common request- clearing out D2L courses.  The causes were diverse, from changing instructors, copying the wrong materials to wanting to avoid using the materials loaded by the department.  We even had one request where we ended up clearing out the same section twice after it was discovered the right materials had indeed been loaded initially.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a “magic button” to delete courses.  We have to go into each tool and delete the materials.  This does the job most of the time, but records will remain in the logs and “Restore” areas of the course.

I’m not sure what this means going forward.  In the meantime, we’ll keep on cleaning…


When will courses open?

For instructors, courses will be available on December 22nd.  Students will get access on the first official date, as defined by Banner on or  after January 8th. All Key Dates are listed on the blog calendar.

How can I get a Master Semester shell to start early?

A request can be made for eLearning to do it on our Forms page.

How do I copy my fall courses to spring?

If you are the instructor for both sections, use the Copy Course Components tool under Course Admin. If not, a request can be made for eLearning to do it on our Forms page.

Will the Daylight or Email changes affect my SP18 courses?

No.  Both of these changes will happen on May 15, 2018

Where can I get more help?

The improved Knowledge Base tool allows you to search for articles for common issues.  You can also Contact Us for more one on one help

Where can I comment about all of this?

We have a perfect place below. 🙂

Daylight Navigation and Homepages Finalized

As we get ready for our May 15, 2018 rollout of the daylight interface for PPCC Online (D2L), we have finalized the navigation and homepages.  This will let us create training materials, including those on the Knowledge Base. So, let’s review each page:

My Home

My Home page with navigation and widgets showing


  • Date (Links to Calendar)
  • D2L Orienteering
  • ePortfolio
  • Faculty Resources
    • Faculty Support Blog
    • Retention Services Early Alert Request
    • CETL LibGuide
    • High-Impact Educational Practices
  • Student Resources
    • Current Student Information and Resources (ppcc.edu webpage)
    • Institutional Syllabus
    • Library
    • Locker
    • Report a Concern or Incident
  • Help Desk (help.cccs.edu)


(In order of appearance on mobile device)

  • My Courses
  • Announcements
  • Office 365
  • My Course Evaluations
  • Reports of Course Evaluation

Course Home

Course Home page with Navigation and Widgets showing


  • Course Home
  • Content
  • Assignments
  • Discussion
  • Quizzes
  • Rubrics
  • Grades
  • Attendance
  • Class Progress
  • Classlist
  • Blog (Tool off by default)
  • Chat (Tool off by default)
  • Checklist (Tool off by default)
  • FAQ (Tool off by default)
  • Glossary (Tool off by default)
  • Self Assessments (Tool off by default)
  • Surveys (Tool off by default)
  • Help Desk
  • Course Admin (Instructor only)


(In order of appearance on mobile device)

  • Updates
  • Announcements
  • Course Overview
  • Content Browser
  • 3rd Party Widget (Pearson, McGraw/Hill, etc.) – Turned off by default
  • Calendar

Thanks to all of the students and instructors that gave us feedback to help us reach this point.  Small things may still change, such as the PPCC Online Campus logo, but for the most part, this is what you can expect to see next May.

IHE: Should Online Instructors Be Online Students?

Inside Higher Ed has an interesting article on whether online instructors should first be online students.  I personally have mixed issues as we all learn differently.  In order to be empathetic toward online students and the unique challenges of online courses, taking online courses seems like a logical step.  On the other hand, taking a class for the modality and not the content doesn’t really give the same experience our students have.

What do you think?  Should online instructors be online students? What are the advantages/disadvantages?  Comment below.

Course Overview Can Be Collapsed

When we first added the Course Overview widget in May, I had not intended to be able to be collapsed.  I wanted all widgets to show for all users to avoid confusion.  I found the error at the end of the summer and fixed it.

Course Overview widget expanded with option in the upper right to collapse

However, several faculty approached me during PDW complaining they wanted to be able to collapse it again.  After reflecting, I agree, it should be able to be collapsed.  As long as instructors know they have access to the data (students don’t see this widget) and that they know students are indeed accessing their course, that’s the point.  So, now, if that widget is in your way, you can collapse it:

Course Overview widget collapsed above the Content Browser

Course Design in a Rush


EP171 has a 90-day minimum model for designing new courses.  A Course Designer is assigned to work with a Subject Matter Expert (SME).  They spend the next several months working together to build a class from scratch that looks at every detail.  In the end, we end up with a fully realized, masterpiece of a course.  Think of it as a Monet painting ready to go into a gallery.

Branch of the Seine near Giverny by Claude Monet
By Claude Monet Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1169962

However, we know that often we are given a course or new textbook at the last minute and there just isn’t time to create a masterpiece.  Also, to be fully honest, there aren’t enough Course Design resources available to create every new course in alignment with EP171.  So, then what?  This was a concern I saw growing during the SP17 semester. eLearning came up with an idea to help- instead of trying to create a masterpiece, we’ll take our limited resources, and create a Bob Ross painting instead.  If you are not familiar with Bob Ross, he had a PBS show for years where he would paint a picture in 30 minutes with a calming, mellow voice:

Ross’ paintings weren’t masterpieces by any stretch of the imagination, but they were serviceable and pretty to look at.  That’s what we have created with the Bob Ross course design template:

Sample area of Bob Ross template showing different learning activities

This template includes pre-built modules with examples of various types of activities in each one.  They even all meet PPCC Standards and accessibility requirements. You can then edit the template by putting in your course materials and adjusting it to fit the needs of your class.  eLearning can assist and review your work when you are done.

We don’t expect this to replace EP171 as that remains the best way to build the best courses.  However, when you have 10 colors and a time crunch, we hope this will help get something ready to help your students succeed.

Have more questions or want a deeper look?  Contact Us to arrange a time to look at the full template. To request a copy of the Bob Ross template go to the Master Semester form and request a new shell (we don’t want to copy this into an existing shell) and say you want a copy of Bob Ross.