March/April 2008

The Communicator :: March/April 2008

Desire 2 Learn

Two New Tools will have been activated in Desire 2 Learn (D2L) by the time you read this article: the Blog Tool and the Rubric Tool.

The Blog tool allows faculty and students to share information on topics of interest. Users can post and respond to questions, engage in discussions, and share opinions and comments with other D2L users. The Blog tool contains several areas that allow you to view your own blog and those of other users.

Blog entries can either be Public (visible to all users) or Private (visible only to the user who entered them). You can also specify whether or not readers can add comments and can choose to receive email when comments are added to your blogs. In addition, you can be notified by the Blog Watch tool when someone in your Blog Contact list adds a new posting. By using the Blog List page, you can select the users whose blogs you want to "watch" and add them to your Blog Watch list. All blog entries and comments from these users' blogs will be displayed in your Blog Watch window.

Students and faculty can share their blog with the world by sending a permanent URL to the blogs of users outside of the classrooms. Blogs can be published as an RSS feed, which allows readers of the blog to link to the Feed URL to view their blog using an external RSS aggregator.

The Rubric Tool is an assessment mechanism used to evaluate activities. A rubric consists of a set of levels arranged from highest to lowest, where each level reflects a certain standard of learner performance. For example, a simple rubric might contain three levels: Excellent, Good, and Poor.

Each rubric level is associated with a statement of the criteria that graders look for in work of that caliber. For example, the level Good would have a criteria statement describing what "good"; work looked like in a specific context; if the rubric were used to evaluate essays, it might explain that "good"; work should be free of significant grammar problems and show a thorough understanding of the subject matter. This helps learners understand what is expected of them and also helps to guide graders in assigning the appropriate level to a learner's work. When learner work is assessed using a rubric, the grader decides which of the rubric's levels best matches the learner's work.

Faculty can create two types of rubrics: numeric and text only.

The only difference between the two is that numeric rubrics have a percentage range associated with each rubric level. If our sample rubric (Excellent, Good, Poor) were numeric, it might look like this:

Range Level
75—100 Excellent
50—74 Good
0—49 Poor

Because of these percentage ranges, numeric activities can be used with quiz activities to automatically assign a rubric level to each learner based on their score on a quiz.

You can use a numeric rubric with other types of activities as well, but you will have to manually select a level, just as you would with a text-only rubric.

You can also use text-only rubrics with quiz activities, but again you will have to manually enter results for each learner— the system will not do this for you automatically.

If you want to use your rubric to automatically evaluate quiz activities, it must be a numeric rubric. In all other circumstances, it doesn't matter which type of rubric you use.

Sharing Rubrics
Sharing a rubric with another org unit allows users enrolled in that org unit to use the rubric to assess activities. By sharing a rubric, you can easily use a consistent assessment scale across numerous course offerings. Rubrics shared with another org unit will be available inside that org unit just as if they had been created there, with the exception of those that can only be edited or deleted from within their home org unit.

Camp IT

Plan now to attend the 6th annual Camp IT.

The ITD Faculty Instructional Technology Center (FITC) will again be sponsoring a faculty development "camp"; experience for a group of 15-20 faculty participants. This experience will provide faculty members with concentrated instruction and one-on-one instructional design consultation for effectively integrating technology into their teaching. "Camp IT"; will be a combination of virtual and classroom learning experiences from both the instructor and the student perspective.

The objectives of the camp are as follows:

  1. To experience an online learning environment from both the student and the faculty perspective.
  2. To be able to discuss advantages and challenges presented by the online learning environment.
  3. To discuss how various learning and teaching styles can be effectively integrated into the online learning environment.
  4. To create a student-centered online learning environment for a course in their selected discipline.
  5. To create multimedia course resources (graphic, video, audio) to be used in an online learning environment.
  6. To effectively use Desire 2 Learn (D2L) to build online resources for a course of choice (Web-enhanced, Hybrid, or Web-based).

Camp Schedule: CampIT will be a two-week experience. The first week will enable participants to interact with fellow "campers"; in an online experience; the second week will allow campers to meet face-to-face with "camp counselors"; (FITC staff) and fellow campers, developing the knowledge and skills to effectively integrate technology into teaching.

Camp Schedule: Week No. 1 (Virtual): May 12th - 16st; Week No.2: (Face-to-Face): May 19th- 23th.

For more information about Camp IT, please contact the Faculty Instructional Technology Center (FITC) at 904-8189.

ERP Update

Banner Student

Enrollment Verification

  • Students can now request their own enrollment verification online. The Records Office refers enrollment and degree verifications to the Clearinghouse.

Registration Guide

Updates have been made on the Records Office Web page for the Registration Guide, a new document that takes the place of the front pages of the Schedule Book. Banner business process changes have been applied specifically for Academic Policies, Procedures and Processes, and Academic Services.

Object Access Views

  • The Student Process Team reviewed Access views for release into the General Campus folder that is intended to be a shared folder for all campus departments to run Access reports, which replaces the old SIS FOCUS reporting tool.

Banner Student System Release

  • TBR/SunGardHE is planning to upgrade many TBR schools to Banner Student 7.4 and Banner General 7.5 sometime in 2008

Financial Aid

  • Lottery award amounts were increased in the Banner FA system. New awards continue to be loaded as TSAC receives 8th semester GPAs from high school counselors.


"MT$ource…door to the world's marketplace!";

  • This Web-based software package has been rolled out to the campus community for departmental purchasing needs. Most campus departments have attended the MTSU eProcurement training sessions. If you have not attended training, please register for an upcoming training session:
  • Less than $5,000 purchases can be accomplished using your PCARD via the Web site or greater than $5,000 purchases are requested directly to the MTSU purchasing department. Built in workflow models have been developed to create a paperless electronic approval system process. If you have additional questions, please email them to or call Procurement Services at 898-2944.

CLM (Campus Loan Manager)

  • The CLM Team has completed training sessions with CLM consultants. Training concentrated on reviewing the MTSU LMS conversion data in Campus Loan Manager (CLM) and increasing staff knowledge and understanding of the system. The team also reviewed daily processing procedures using actual MTSU data. CLM implementation for go live is scheduled for the end of March 2008.

Human Resources

  • HR Process Team discussed the WebTime Entry product in detail and requested input from Auditing and Consulting Services as to their thoughts on the process. Pilot groups have been tested for various campus departments. Leave Reporting is underway. The Business Office will be the first department to roll out in 2008.


  • A Workflow team has been developed consisting of all Banner systems functional and technical leads. The Workflow team will meet with a consultant for Business Process Analysis to incorporate a fundamental best practice approach to Workflow model design and implementation. An appropriate Workflow access request form will be developed for Workflow system user process roles.
  • Requests for new flows need to be documented as a work order so the appropriate AISS analyst can be assigned to work with the functional area(s) on that particular flow.

Profile - Dr. Gary Wulfsberg

Learning is One Click Away

When Dr. Gary Wulfsberg finished the painstakingly slow process of typing up his last document on a typewriter back in the early 1980s, he vowed to never again subject himself to such torture.

As many bad typists can relate, creating documents with a typewriter can be tantamount to root canal surgery.

But in 1983, Dr. Wulfsberg received his first computer, and everything changed. Suddenly, typing up articles for publication wasn't nearly as painful as it once was. He even managed to write two textbooks (which was still like root canal surgery, but no longer impossible).

Fast forward to the present, the advent of new technologies continues to work wonders on education by revolutionizing the classroom.

Dr. Wulfsberg, a veteran professor of chemistry at MTSU, searched high and low for ways to encourage student interaction and class participation. But this is easier said than done in a classroom stuffed with 50 or more students. With that many eyes and ears inhabiting one space, shyness and the age-old phobia of public speaking set in.

When the professor began experimenting with clickers in his classrooms last summer, he noticed students becoming more actively involved in class discussions.

He has since become a proponent on the remote-controlled devices that enable students to answer discussion questions with a "click"; of a button rather than by raising their hands to voice a response. Responses are displayed on a monitor for the class to view, similar to technology used on a game show.

The anonymity clickers provide has created a comfortable learning environment in Dr. Wulfsberg's class.

Just as computers changed the way in which Dr. Wulfsberg typed his course and scholarly documents, clickers are revolutionizing his classroom environment.

Clickers have other functions as well. They enable professors to take attendance, administer quizzes, and enhance their lectures with discussion questions.

"I deliberately chose [to incorporate clickers into] a Tuesday and Thursday class with 85 minutes of lecture time,"; Dr. Wulfsberg said. "Research shows that most audiences can't pay attention to 85 minutes worth of lecture.";

For the most part, Dr. Wulfsberg's students have been enthusiastic about the clickers. Instead of daydreams and wayward minds, students have been interacting with one another and fully engaged in classroom discussions. Rather than confining themselves to taking notes, students are given time and incentive also to think about the meaning of the lecture.

"In a small class this can be accomplished without the technology,"; he said. "But for a class of 50 or more students, the idea to get all the students to respond makes the technology necessary.";

Dr. Wulfsberg organized a faculty seminar a year ago where he gauged educators' opinions on the effectiveness of clickers. About two-thirds of the faculty present at the seminar clicked in that they were open to the idea of using the devices, he said.

Dr. Wulfsberg hopes to assist other fellow faculty members who have an interest to incorporate clickers into their lectures.

"I'm hoping to persuade my colleagues to use them,"; he said. "Three or four of them have actually asked for help to get the software going. I hope to be a resource for them so that it won't be as hard for them as it was for me to star out. It will only get easier.";

Originally from Iowa, Dr. Wulfsberg has lived in Tennessee for 26 years. He currently resides in Murfreesboro with his wife, Marlys. His daughter, Joanna, is a teacher in Istanbul, and his son, Paul, teaches Arabic at Tufts University.

ITD Staff News

Alicia Marie Kuka has joined the Information Technology Division as an information technology system record clerk.

In her new role, Alicia will review and pay bills, purchase equipment and maintenance. In addition, here responsibilities include ordering site licenses and maintaining ITD inventory.

Before coming aboard ITD, Alicia worked in the Knox County Register of Deeds office as a data entry/recording clerk for seven years. She also worked six years as a luxury suites manager for Tennessee Smokies Baseball.

Alicia holds a dual associate's degree in Accounting and Business Administration from South College.

Alicia's husband, Jon, is director of sales for Nelligan Sports Marketing. The Knoxville couple moved to Murfreesboro in November 2007 with their dog, Roxy, and cat, Coda.

Alicia said she plans to maintain ITD's high standard of teamwork and customer service.

Eileen Chalmers recently came aboard ITD as a Telecommunication Services secretary.

In her new position, Eileen will report to the assistant director account services; greet visitors; answer the main department telephone line; receive service requests via the Web site, email, or telephone; issue work orders or trouble tickets for repair; perform routine department accounting tasks such as prepare invoices, create requisitions, generate daily reports, and monitor budget accounts; post charges for monthly billing and perform spreadsheet

applications; schedule Telecommunications meetings in the conference room; open mail and serve as back up to the switchboard operator as necessary; run errands; maintain office supplies and perform other duties as assigned. Before joining ITD, Eileen had worked more than eight years for Transhealth LLC (now Webmedx) as a medical transcriptionist and worked at home as a

transcriptionist for the past 11 1/2 years. Her responsibilities included transcribing operative reports for local surgery centers. Eileen has amassed 95 credit hours from the University of Tennessee and worked as an RN in the distant past.

She lives in Murfreesboro with her husband and two sons, one of whom is a sophomore at Tennessee Tech, and the other is a senior at MTCS.

Eileen plans to learn as much as she can about telecommunications to address any questions that may arise.

Jon Bufkin is ITD's new instructional technology specialist in the Faculty Instructional Technology Center.

Jon will be tasked with assisting faculty members with using technology in their classes.

Before joining ITD, Jon worked as a math teacher at Riverdale High School. Jon graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a B.S. in Education. He plans to graduate this May with his M.F.A. in Recording Arts Technology. Jon previously served as the graduate assistant in the Faculty Technology Center for two years.

Jon plans to assist any faculty member he can with being successful while using technology and caring about what they're trying to accomplish. Jon lives in Murfreesboro with his wife, Kelsey.

ITD employee Steven James recently received five Microsoft certifications.

They are: MCSE - Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer; MCSA - Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator; MCSAM - Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator: Messaging; MCTS - Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist; and MCP - Microsoft Certified Professional.

The first of James' certifications is the most difficult to receive and validates his ability to do LAN Administrative work (servers). While thousands of people hold most of these qualifications, fewer than 100,000 worldwide have attained the relatively new MCSE certification.

In addition, James holds a CompTia A+ certification that validates his ability to troubleshoot desktop issues. He plans to acquire a few more certifications floating out there, as well as those qualifications that are to be released in the future to keep up with advancing technology.

James hopes to use these certifications to continue to provide innovative solutions to the technical problems that arise at the University, as well as offer consulting to the campus leadership regarding the MTSU's future endeavors.

James lives in Murfreesboro with his wife, Grace, who works on campus at the Dyslexia Center. James met Grace while attending school at MTSU. The couple has an 18-month-old daughter, Claira, who attends the Project Help daycare at MTSU.

Director of Academic and Instructional Technology Services Barbara Draude recently attended the Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) Annual Meeting: Connecting and Reflecting: Preparing Learners for Life 2.0.

The meeting explored pedagogies and technologies in student-centered learning for today and tomorrow's students.

Barbara's been attending ELI's annual meeting since assuming her position and was asked to serve on this year's planning committee. The committee reviewed over 100 proposals and recommended a slate of presentations and poster sessions that covered a wide variety of technologies and methodologies.

Barbara has been with MTSU for 21 years and has been a part of the ITD family for seven years.

Management and marketing professor, Jackie Gilbert, attended the meeting as the ITD faculty intern and presented a poster entitled, "Interviews from the Trenches: MTSU's Advanced Technology Incubation Laboratory.";

ITD Staff - Bill Shadrake

Staying Online

There's no time for complacency when Bill Shadrake's at the helm.

Technology certainly doesn't slow down, and neither does Shadrake, who's entering his ninth year of service as an Information Technology Division network support specialist.

"Every day's always a little bit different,"; Shadrake reflected. "I don't get too used to it. Technology changes so quickly that it can be challenging to keep up with it and stay on top of your game.";

But Shadrake said he's up to the challenge.

"I want to grow with ITD and offer my services the best way that I can,"; he said.

Shadrake has logged more than 27 years in the ever-evolving computer field. Shadrake worked for 20 years at Vanderbilt University as a network technician before arriving at MTSU in August 1999, the threshold of the new millennium.

As a network support specialist, Shadrake maintains the University's all-important wireless network.

One of Shadrake's first actions when arriving at MTSU was the installation of new network-related equipment throughout the University.

But technology evolved as technology tends to do, and the equipment Shadrake and his cohorts installed nearly a decade ago became obsolete.

"It was a real challenge to move over into networking,"; Shadrake said. "It's really come a long way. We've already changed that network equipment out once, and now we're back to doing it all over again. That's how fast this kind of technology changes. It can definitely be a chore to keep up with.";

Much of Shadrake's time is dedicated to wireless technology. From December 15, 2007, to the first of the year, Shadrake installed 137 wireless access points throughout the campus.

"Right now the hot topic is wireless, so we're trying to get all these new wireless access points up and running through different locations at the University, including dorms,"; the Nashville native said.

When he's not installing wireless access points, Shadrake routinely monitors the wireless system to ensure the network is running at optimal capacity.

This includes garnering public input and opinion as well.

"When I see students sitting around in a lobby, I ask them how the network is working,"; Shadrake said. "That kind of gives me a feel for any kind of issue.";

Originally from Nashville, Shadrake relocated to Smyrna in 1985. In addition to reading and researching technology-related publications such as Network World Magazine, Shadrake enjoys deer hunting, auto mechanics, traveling, and spending time with his wife, Dixye, and son, Reuben, an MTSU student.

Grading in D2L

3 Quick Tips for Grading in D2L (Desire 2 Learn)
by Jon Bufkin

1. Automatically Keep Calculated Final Grade Updated


  • Click on "Grades"; in the Navigation Bar.
  • Click on "Grades Setup"; in menu.
  • Click on "Grade Calculations"; in menu.
  • Scroll to the very bottom option and click on the last box to enable.


This keeps you from having to click "Re-calculate"; every time you modify a student's grade in order for the Final Grade to be current.

2. Calculated Columns


  • Click on "Grades"; in the Navigation Bar.
  • Click on "New Item"; in menu.
  • Give the column a name. (i.e. Quiz Total Points)
  • Choose "Calculated"; for the type.
  • Click on "Save.";
  • Scroll down and check the boxes of the "grade items"; you want to be added.


There are many different uses for adding up columns in D2L. One example is that instructors using a "Points System"; can help students, as well as themselves, keep up with their progress on large number of assignments without having to reveal their final grade or doing it by hand.

3. Weighted System


  • Click on "Grades"; in the Navigation Bar.
  • Click on "Grades Setup"; in menu.
  • Click on "Grade Calculations"; in menu.
  • Choose the first radio button to enable.


Using the D2L default "Points"; system is not preferable for some instructors. Giving certain percentages to assignments types (a.k.a. "categories";) or assignments (a.k.a. "items";) can help with organization and save time. For example, you can create a quiz category as 20 percent of the final grade with all of your quizzes as "child items"; under it. Just make sure to change this in the beginning of the semester to avoid complications with grade items.

ITD Workshops

ITD Workshops Available for Faculty and Staff

Be sure to sign up for the ITD workshops available in spring 2008

Get started with computer graphic programs such as Illustrator; edit and enhance pictures with Photoshop; get familiar with Word 2007, Excel 2007, and Access; learn to design Web pages with Dreamweaver; get trained in D2L; and more!

Registration is required (except where noted)

  • Register on the Web or call ITD at ext. 5345
  • Most workshops are offered at the ITD Training Center in the Telecommunication Building
  • Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis
  • If you register for a class but are unable to attend, please call ITD at ext. 5345 at least 24 hours before the workshop to give others a chance to register

Individual consultation for instructional technology needs can be requested by calling ext. 8189. Other workshops are available upon request. See our Web site for more information.

Network Services Update

Network Services recently completed various upgrades and installations to expand services, capability, and security.

These include:

  • Replaced the Computer Science Gigabit Ethernet switch for increased throughput and security.
  • Upgraded most of the wireless transmitters/infrastructure to "next generation"; components for greater security and manageability.
  • Replaced half of the older technology workgroup switches on campus.
  • Replaced Primary Domain Name Service and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol service with a new IP Management system for greater flexibility in managing the IP (network) address system.
  • Replaced edge router with a new router for greater throughput, performance, and manageability.
  • Provided connectivity for the expansion of fire alarm services to the James Union Building, Peck Hall, and the KUC.