Recently, Minnesota State System Office awarded a contract to SoftChalk (an eLearning Authoring Tool) for 500 individual Cloud licenses. The award is for a 2-year system level pilot that began July 1, 2016. About 130 individuals signed up for the pilot as of the end of spring semester in what we called the Round 1 group of piloters. 

At this time, we invite those interested in participating in a Round 2 group to indicate their interest. To qualify to receive a license, you’ll need to agree to the pilot terms listed at end of this email, complete a participation form (listed below), and attend SoftChalk training.

More information about the pilot can be found on the Minnesota State Educational Innovations page: http://www.asa.mnscu.edu/educationalinnovations/projects/SoftChalk_Cloud/educational-innovations-page.html.

To sign up for the pilot and receive a funded license please complete the form at https://mnscu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_80zlyNiMkuOE1KJ

Initial training will occur either in late September or around mid-October (via WebEx) and I’m working on the dates presently with the SoftChalk trainer. Whether you are new to SoftChalk or an experienced user (desktop or cloud), you will need to attend a training session to:

  1. Learn about the pilot and what participation means, and
  2. To see how things work in our D2L Brightspace environment, especially with regard to using the D2L Brightspace gradebook integration functionality

The training will be recorded for anyone unable to attend.

For more information about the SoftChalk product please visit: http://softchalk.com/

Pilot Terms:

  • A MnSCU-funded 2-year pilot for SoftChalk Cloud is in the works, for 500 individual licenses to begin July 1, 2016
  • Licenses can be used by MnSCU faculty or staff, as long as use is for teaching a course (credit or non-credit)
  • Conditions for using a license is agreement to participate in the pilot project includes:
    • Attending an initial training session on how to use SoftChalk Cloud as well as MnSCU-specific instructions for use (a slightly longer training is offered to new users, slightly shorter for experienced users)
    • Participation in evaluation efforts over the two year period. This will include 1 web session per year for qualitative feedback and exploration of practices and practice-sharing and completion of a survey
    • A request, but not mandatory, is your willingness to be available for periodic web sessions to share your use of and experience with SoftChalk with others in the MnSCU system, especially newer faculty coming on board.
    • Total commitment required is estimated at 8-10 hours over 2 years
  • Funding is not intended for use as a site license or to fully fund all faculty at any single institution
  • Funding has only been approved for 2 years (ending June 30, 2018) but pending pilot results (e.g., student and faculty satisfaction, usage rate, ease of workflows, successful gradebook integration), a recommendation can be made for continued funding
  • Funding recommendations go through MnSCU’s Academic and Student Affairs Technology Council and approval by the ASA Vice Chancellor Ron Anderson
  • For further information please contact blicker@so.mnscu.edu; 651-201-1413
  • New entrants welcome throughout AY 2017
  • License keys will be issued individually after signing up

Other useful information:

  • If you have been using a SoftChalk desktop version, it will be quite easy for you to upload your already created content to the Cloud. From there you can link it to any number of classes
  • If you have been using a SoftChalk Cloud license, there is no new work required to transfer your existing license to the MnSCU license. When it comes time to renew you will use a MnSCU license key rather than your campus or individual key, entering the same cloud “portal” as you always have
  • If you have been using a license through your campus purchase, please check with your campus D2L site admin (or someone they refer you to) to inquire when your campus license expires and whether they will renewing those licenses

For additional information, contact Lesley Blicker, Director of LMS Learning and Next Generation Technology, Educational Innovations for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities at 651.201.1413.