We have several courses where learners need to register for a course in Student Manager (with one set of credentials), then wait for the university’s IT team to create a different set of credentials for Blackboard. The IT team was using part of the user’s ACEware data for the new username and password, which made perfect sense to them, but not much to our users (i.e., Your username is the first part of your email, everything before the @ sign and then the first two initials of your last name and first name with your zip code, followed by .coned). You can imagine why this was challenging to figure out and even try to explain to users.
While we knew we couldn’t make people more patient (WAIT was a key word), we also knew that the separate username and credentials were confusing even if they could figure out what they were. We tried several solutions with our confirmations that included screenshots of what their username would be using a hypothetical learner name and how to login, but none worked well.
The problem was frustrating for both our learners and our main IT department that managed Blackboard for more than 20,000 for-credit learners as well. Their phone number was listed on the Blackboard site and they reached out asking us to fix their problem of getting many calls from frustrated noncredit learners daily.
ACEware programmers to the rescue! We reached out and asked for help creating a custom confirmation that pulled the user's actual new username and password, using ACEware data and send the users their exact new login credentials once they’ve registered for a course using Blackboard.
Once we tested it on a few registrations, we got even more proactive and found there were many learners who had registered but not completed the course, so we reached out to them and sent them their credentials as well. We’ve flagged the Blackboard enrollment notifications and send the Blackboard Email Confirmation every time we see an enrollment in one of the courses.
Our calls have nearly stopped, it’s shocking, and the IT department thinks we’re brilliant. Or at least not such a pain. In a time when we’re incredibly short-staffed and our learners have many more options to choose from, it’s truly been a game changer. Thank you to the ACEware team!
Contributed by Melissa Peraino, Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, Grand Valley State University
Note: Contact Melissa if you have questions or want to brainstorm!