WVNET Powering Teaching and Learning Commons in West Virginia

The West Virginia Network (WVNET) is one of the longest-running, research and education networks in the United States – celebrating 45 years of operation this year. Their customers include higher education, K-12 education, state government, and non-profit organizations. WVNET has gone through several changes in almost five decades of service and is currently on the precipice of another evolutionary shift.

Beginning in August 2020, WVNET will offer a Teaching and Learning Commons (TLC) to the state of West Virginia. The TLC is a new service model built on the foundation of WVNET’s current PEAK service offering.

PEAK (Portal for Education, Achievement and Knowledge) is an online portal utilizing Blackboard. This portal allows WVNET to host and administer its own Learning Management System (LMS) for professional development and online courses. PEAK provides online, on-demand faculty and staff training. It is a shared resource that provides cost savings to WVNET and their clients through reduced travel and lower personnel costs. PEAK is an ever-growing knowledge base of information. The course and training library continues to expand and will provide the backbone for the TLC.

In 2012, WVNET began providing managed hosting services for Ellucian Banner and DegreeWorks as well as the Blackboard LMS. These services include both front- and back-end support. The front-end support encompasses training and professional development, a 24×7 help desk, on-site and online training. Both services have a well-established customer base and will seamlessly roll into the TLC model. WVNET has recently acquired licenses for the SoftChalk Content Authoring Solution and the Medial Video and Audio Streaming service. These tools provide additional support to customers in a managed hosting environment. Application specialists, instructional designers, GUI administrators, along with database and systems administrators, work together to round out the team and service providers.

The TLC will include a variety of instructional modalities and utilize faculty experts throughout the state to design and deliver topics. Needs assessments will be conducted among constituents to provide a shared vision for development and implementation.

WVNET will also offer a service model for on-demand expertise. Universities will be able to contract for IT professionals to fill any gaps on their campuses. Services include Blackboard and Banner experts, database administrators, software developers, telecommunications support, web developers, and systems administrators. Contract terms will vary from short-term engagements to long-term projects.

WVNET continues to provide the educational technology services and professional development needed in West Virginia.