BbWorld Day 1 Highlights

BbWorld is the premier event for everything Blackboard.  From system administration, to support, to advancing teaching and learning, this conference provides an excellent array of sessions, vendor exhibits, and opportunities to connect with peers, colleagues, friends, and thought-leaders who are all on mission to transform education through technology.

BbWorld provides the ability to:

  • Connect with other users and colleges.
  • Network with peers who share similar interests and who are approaching common issues.
  • Discover best practices and emerging technologies and teaching techniques.
  • Explore and identify new products and services that can advance the servcies we provide at the college.
  • Engage and participate in informal discussions and panel sessions around key themes and topics impacting education.
  • Hear inspiring keynotes from thought leaders on the intersection of technology and education.
  • Learn from innovative speakers and thought leaders that approach the next generation of teaching and learning with technology.
  • Interact directly with Blackboard representatives.

Stay tuned to this GRCC’s BbWorld Conference Blog and the also check out the live Twitter stream for the latest updates. Blackboard also has a new Facebook page here.

July 12-14
Las Vegas, NV


  1. Symon Machajewski and Mark Nordblom attended the Bb Developers Conference and Open Source Daywhich was held on Sunday and Monday.

    Szymon Machajewski pictured at the Ocelot OpenSource Day discussing with Blackboard Staff bbStats and other development at work at GRCC.

  2. At the Bb Developers Conference GRCC’s bbStats Building Block was featured in a keynote.

    John Fontaine and George Kroner from Blackboard Inc. highlighting Szymon Machajewki's development and work on the bbStats Building Block. (The photo in the background is the DLIT team and office.)

  3. During the closing keynote, Szymon Machajewski was presented the Blackboard Catalyst Award for the Innovative Development category for his work on bbStats, the XID Building Block, and other community involvement. Here is a video clip of Szymon being presented the award:
  4. Eric Kunnen attended the Blackboard Idea Exchange Steering Committee meeting.  The themes discussed at the meeting centered around Blackboard’s testing strategies for releases, user experience research findings, enhancements to the Blackboard support portal, and information about partnerships such as the Bb and McGraw-Hill integration.
  5. Eric Kunnen, Garry Brand, and Bill Faber were invited to attend the Blackboard Mobile luncheon and discussed how GRCC is currently using the Mobile Learn platform to enable iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android device access to GRCC’s Blackboard system.  GRCC would also benefit from investigating the Mobile Central solution.
  6. Eric Kunnen, Garry Brand, Bill Faber, and Szymon Machajewski presented a session at the conference, entitled: “Leveraging Academic Analytics in System Administration, Professional Development, and Course Improvement”.  Here is the session description: Identifying, collecting, reporting, and using system activity data from Blackboard is often a challenge. Come to this session to learn about a series of free Building Blocks that are available (such as BbStats and Project ASTRO) that enable you to collect, generate, and leverage reports of faculty and student activity in Blackboard.  There was good interest in the session and the room was full of system administrators, CIOs, faculty, and vendors.  Here is the presentation:
  7. BbWorld Opening Keynote

    • Michael Chasen – President and CEO of Blackboard opened the session.
      • There are over 2,800 in attendance at the conference.
      • Over 75% of the sessions at the conference are client led.
    • Speaker – Steven Johnson, Author, Technologist and Social Critic
    • Session Description – Steven Johnson, best-selling author of “Where Good Ideas Come From,” “Everything Bad is Good for You,” and “Emergence,” will deliver the Opening Keynote at BbWorld 2011. A social critic, technologist and a three-time TED speaker, Johnson is noted for his ability to see emerging trends and explain why they are relevant to both personal life and work. At BbWorld, Johnson will discuss the genesis of ideas, exploring the types of environments and systems – including institutions, communities and disciplines – that propagate creativity and innovation.
      • Notes:
        • Need to create spaces for better ideas and for innovation.
        • There are common themes and patterns to these spaces.
        • The “slow hunch” often leads to innovation.
        • “Eureka” (lightbulb) moments are almost always a myth as the innovation hung around for a long time through a hunch.
        • The goal is to keep the hunch alive so that it can mature and emerge as sometimes the world isn’t ready for the innovation because they need to catch up sometimes.
        • The trick to innovation is to encourage diversity and provide for the proximity of ideas (space), allow for time, provide the ability execute.
        • Innovation is about fully exploring the “adjacent possible”.
        • Ideas can bounce off from each other and often results in success – the “coffee house space” provides this space where diverse interests can collide.
        • Don’t build walls around our ideas!  There is a price to pay … an innovation tax!
        • Connect ideas as well as protect them.
    • Implications for GRCC around this topic is the space in 125M.  It is most noteworthy to mention that the proximity and mix of ideas between distance learning, instructional technologies, information technology, and support ideas combine and collide with our roles: administration, professors, instructional design/technology, support, system administration, engineering, etc.  There should be a focus to maintain the integrity space in 125M, continue the side-by-side and integrated/embedded office spaces of IT (Szymon and Mark) and DLIT (Eric, Meegan, Garry) and encourage more of this activity!
  8. Blackboard Analytics Reception – Szymon Machajewski attended the Bb Analytics reception and met with key representatives from Blackboard such as Jim Hermans and Mark Max, VP of Bb Analytics.  Data warehouse topics were discussed that include: Collegenet R25, Peoplesoft CS, and Bb Learn data and analytics.
  9. Blackboard Ask Dr C Dinner – Eric Kunnen met with the Ask Dr C group for dinner and connecting with the other Dr’s as well as Blackboard representatives.

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

4 Responses to BbWorld Day 1 Highlights

  1. Pingback: GRCC Employees Representing College at BBWorld Conference « GRCC Today

  2. Nancy Forrest says:

    Looking forward to hearing about the lasted cool Bb “stuff”. have fun….not too much.

  3. cora says:

    Eric – any enhancements that support the use of videos in mp4 format in Bb?

  4. ekunnen says:

    Hi Cora – I did think there was supposed to be an announcement about Kaltura integration at the conference. But nothing specific on the mp4 format side of things was mentioned.

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