Keynote and Opening Reception

2006 BbWorldAsiaPac Keynote

This title of the keynote was: Welcome to the New Blackboard – Blackboard 2.0
“Stepping Forward: The Road Ahead for eLearning”.

The recent merger between WebCT and Blackboard has set the stage for the next wave of eLearning. The growing global client community of educational practitioners of the combined company has a power voice in leading the next generation of innovative uses of eLearning around the world. WebCT and Blackboard clients will be presented with unprecedented opportunities to collaborate with each other, access new resources an share est practices. Kicking off our first combined conference, Michael L. Chasen, cofounder of Blackboard, will take the stage to discuss the manu benefits of the merger. He will share news on how Blackboard and its product are evolving to best support clients’ needs including new release, exciting product developments on the horizon, and major partnership initiatives aimed at helping clients “Educate. Innovate. Everywhere.” Come and hear about the exciting client innovations and collaborations from the past year that have elevated eLearning for student, faculty, and administrators across the broad community of WebCT and Blackboard users.

photo_091006_017.jpgRob Shea and the Dr. C’s (Bob Bouffard, Stephen Rehberg and I) sat together near the front row of the opening keynote by Michael Chasen (President & CEO) and Peter Segall (President of Higher Ed – Former EVP WebCt).

The conference is truly international with representatives from the Philippines, Singapore, China, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zeeland, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Michael Chasen opened and welcomed everyone.(I also saw Matt Small who is the General Council and involved in the Bb Patent.) He mentioned there is a special session on the Bb Patent at 3:15 PM on Tuesday. Peter Segall highlighted several Blackboard staff and clients that are noteworthy and will be available throughout the conference. He mentioned that Blackboard is committed to teaching and learning, fostering innovation, providing accessible learning, and adapting to the industry as it evolves.

Once example of a client that was mentioned was eWorks which is a vocational system in Australia. See:

Education Global Challenges

  1. Competition for Resources
  2. Explosion of Knowledge Production
  3. Emerging Knowledge-based Economies
  4. Lifelong Learning as a Way of Life
  5. Education as the “Ability Builder” (That is, students being able to analyze, think globally, communicate, ability to change and adapt, and to synthesize.)

Education is part of a national competitive strategy.

Linkage to Education Technology Solutions

  1. Expand Access
  2. Measure Quality and Improve It
  3. Enhance Productivity
  4. Impact Retention
  5. Develop Critical Skills

Product Strategy

  • Began with Malcom Gladwell at the BbWorld San Diego Conference.
  • Malcom is the author of “Tipping Point” and delivered the keynote at the BbWorld Conference in San Diego in the Spring.
  • The Tipping Point is essentially small changes that can create a rippling effect as a critical mass is reached.
  • Education is at the Tipping Point
  • With Web 2.0, eLearning 2.0, and Blackboard 2.0

Web 2.0

  • It’s about Rich User Experiences
  • AJAX and rich applications such as Yahoo mail that are as good as client install applications.
  • Architecture of the Experiences with mass involved applications such as Facebook and MySpace.
  • Software as a Service

eLearning 2.0

Can best be described by comparing 1.0 vs. 2.0.


  1. Courses
  2. Segments
  3. Platform Adoption
  4. Productivity
  5. Inputs

  1. Social Networks
  2. Lifelong Learning
  3. Extending the Platform
  4. Student Centered Learning
  5. Outcomes Management, Measurement, and Effectiveness

Blackboard 2.0

  • WebCT + Bb = Tipping Point
  • 3,600 clients
  • 1,000 developers in open authoring such as Building Blocks and Powerlinks
  • Millions of Users
  • Innovation through App Pack Strategies instead of monolithic installs.
  • Bb Backpack
  • Portfolio Tools
  • New DiscussioN Board
  • Bb Outcomes Student
  • Student Contribution System
  • Building web 2.0 interfaces

eLearning 2.0

  1. Social Networking
  2. Lifelong Learning
  3. Extending the Platform
  4. Student Centered
  5. Outcomes Management

What’s Next?

A universal system combining the best of WebCT and Bb. Upgrade through choices including “one big leap” and “gradual conversion”. Get involved! The Blackboard Idea Exchange will be the way to organize feedback. The unified academic suite includes: Blackboard Learning System Enterprise, Bb LS – Vista, Bb LS – CE.

Blackboard Beyond Initiative

Karen Gage, Greg Ritter are helping to coordinate. It’s an incredible opportunity for the though leaders to shape the learning process. It will include 5 web services initially. Based on: Social Networking – Connecting users across Institutions.

  1. New
  2. Student Research Tools
  3. Collaborative Benchmarking
  4. Global Learning Object Catalog
  5. ePortfolios for Life


Taking the best of both WebCT and Blackboard. Just announced is a new support site.


Blackboard values the open source initiative and provides an empowered developers network through Powerlinks and Building Blocks. Using available APSs and SDK, there are many opportunities for proprietary development. There are 1,000 developers, 150 vendors, and a dedicated conference for Building Blocks and Powerlinks. It’s about the multiplication and the amplification of innovation.

Community of Practice

  1. Announcing 5 New Blackboard Dr. C’s
  2. Resources for Community
  3. Expanding the Exemplary Course Program
  4. Expanding the Greenhouse Grant Program
  5. Expanding the Blackboard Idea Exchange

Top Take Aways

  • Broader and more diverse community with WebCT and Blackboard clients together.
  • Continue to develop, improve, and innovate.
  • Future innovation.

Opening Reception

photo_091006_016.jpgAt the reception we got to see the Ask Dr. C booth. It’s modeled after the Peanuts “Ask Lucy” booth. At the reception I talked with Todd Gibby, Jessica Finnefrock, Dan Cane, Martha Cooley, and Griffith University. Griffith University has Peoplesoft and is currently upgrading from Bb 6.2 to Bb 7.1

I also talked briefly with Tim Hill who is the VP of Global Marketing. Jessica Finnefrock invited my to a breakfast on Tuesday morning for the Blackboard Idea Exchange.

I met Catherine Finnegan of the Georgia System who knows Mark Champion at Grand Rapids Community College. She mentioned following his work and admiring his vision and views.


About ekunnen
Eric has a passion for, works to lead, support, and coordinate effective uses of technology in teaching and learning. He is an Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Allendale, Michigan. His primary role focuses on collaborating and supporting distance learning initiatives at the university while exploring future trends in emerging technologies in teaching and learning. He also collaborates to research and support academic technologies used in the classroom and in eLearning. Previously, Eric was the Emerging Technologies Coordinator at GVSU and a Director of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eric has a background in teaching Computer Science and Biology at the secondary level and a Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Educational Technology. I'm on mission to advance teaching and learning through the integration of emerging and innovative instructional technologies... More

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