BbWorld11 – Summary

BbWorld 2011 was the best conference yet, combining more than 2,300+ attendees from over 750+ institutions.  The event provided opportunities to:

  • Attend over 150 sessions (presentations available here) by experts and leaders in the field from colleges and universities.
  • Connect and network with peers, colleagues, and Blackboard representatives.
  • Discover best practices, emerging technologies, and teaching strategies.
  • Engage and participate in formal and informal discussions around key themes and issues facing educational technologies.
  • Learn from innovative speakers and thought leaders around the next generation of teaching and learning with technology.

Spread throughout the conference were themes around ensuring the Blackboard networked learning environment is of highest quality, state-of-the-art and innovative, and a system with best-in-class support which provides an extremely aggressive competitive advantage in the market.

This video clip was played at the Blackboard Corporate keynote and it highlights the reality of today and the potential of the future of the Blackboard environment…


  • Sir Ken Robinson, Author, Creativity Expert and Thinker
    • Sir Ken Robinson, best-selling author and internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human potential, delivered a keynote address at BbWorld 2011. Robinson has authored two New York Times best-selling books about the intersections between education, creativity and the challenges of the 21st century: “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything,” and the recently re-released “Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative.” His famed 2006 TED Talk has been downloaded more than 5 million times and is one of the most favorite TED videos of all-time. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for decades of service to education and the arts, Robinson currently works with governments in Europe, Asia and the United States as well as international agencies, cultural groups and Fortune 500 companies to address creative challenges facing education in today’s global economy.
    • Here is a video clip from the green room at BbWorld:
  • Steven Johnson, Author, Technologist and Social Critic
    • Steven Johnson, best-selling author of “Where Good Ideas Come From,” “Everything Bad is Good for You,” and “Emergence,” delivered a 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 discussed the genesis of ideas, exploring the types of environments and systems – including institutions, communities and disciplines – that propagate creativity and innovation.
    • Here is a video clip from Steven Johnson from the green room at BbWorld:

Blackboard announcements:

  • Blackboard Report Card – Each year, Ray Henderson, President of Blackboard Learn provides a report card on the topics of: support, transparency, openness, and quality
  • Blackboard Collaborate – This is a new platform from Blackboard that combines the Elluminate and Wimba companies that were acquired.  This solution makes up the only dedicated synchronous tool (Collaborate 11) for education along with the only instant messaging tool as well (Blackboard IM).
  • Textbook Publisher Partnerships – In addition to an existing partnership with McGraw-Hill, Bb adds partnerships with Pearson, Cengage, Wiley, and Macmillan which provides nearly 98% coverage in the digital content market.
  • Quality Matters – Blackboard announced a partnership with the Quality Matters program.
  • Product Roadmap – The future of Blackboard is as innovative as it gets in the course management system market, coming soon are features such as:
    • Blackboard Analytics – A new solution from Blackboard driven by the acquisition of iStrategy in February.  This will provide a suite of dashboards, data warehousing, and reporting capabilities.
    • BbDrive – A way of accessing files and editing them and saving them directly through the browser.  This will provide an outstanding workflow for faculty to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of grading.
    • VTBE – A brand new visual text box editor will be more powerful and include features that provide a better “paste from MS Word experience”.
    • True Student View – So that faculty can better test and check their courses and content from the student perspective, Bb will be providing a new student view that is more accurate.
    • Enterprise Survey Tool – Blackboard will be including at no extra cost a robust campus wide survey tool to make it easier for campuses to gather data.
    • My Blackboard – A new feature that provides a better view of the updates in a course.  This is completely revamped from the What’s New feature that exists today and provide a better news feed (or stream) that is similar to Facebook.  This will include social media as well such as Twitter.
    • New Course Wizard – Upon entering a course for the first time, a wizard screen will appear to guide the faculty member in the building of their course.  This will include course themes as well as pedagogical configurations such as: lessons, modules, units, social learning, lab based, constructivist, lecture based, and activity based.
    • New Calender – A brand new calendar will offer enhanced tools for faculty and students to better stay organized and keep on top of due-dates.  This will also include a “date rollover tool” for faculty to transition from semester to semester more efficiently.
    • Google Docs – Integration with Google docs will be provided to better streamline the use of Google’s features for sharing and access.
    • Administrative Tools – New in Service Pack 6 for version 9.1 is a version checker that provides system administrators with the ability to easily check for version updates for Building Blocks and the product versions.
    • eTextbooks – In addition to partnerships already announced (CafeScribe and Nook Study), Bb announced integration with CourseSmart which is another vendor in the electronic textbook space.
    • Bb Mobile Portal – A new GUI based editor will provide easier editing of the Mobile Central apps.  This will provide colleges with more timely and easier app updates for their mobile initiatives.  In addition there will be an analytics view of mobile access to better track usage of the mobile deployment.
    • UI Enhancements – The entire user interface will be streamlined and cleaned up to provide a more uncluttered and streamlined view.
    • Built-in Standards – In the creation of assignments, Bb will provide built-in standards to better link assignments to outcomes.
    • Here are a series of photos taken at the corporate keynote the provide some visuals of the highlights to come:


  • Grand Rapids Community College participated in the national BbWorld 2011 Blackboard conference at many levels.
    • GRCC attendees included: Kevin O’Halla, Eric Kunnen, Meegan Lillis, Garry Brand, Bill Faber, Szymon Machajewski, Mark Nordblom, Fred Bauman, Diane Sparks, Tricia Siegel, Deb Vilmont, Ann Alexander, and Tim Koets.
    • 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”  The presentation is available here.
    • Symon Machajewski and Mark Nordblom attended the Bb Developers Conference and Open Source Day as well.
    • Szymon Machajewski was presented the Blackboard Catalyst Award.
    • The GRCC team took notes, blogged, and used Twitter to capture the event and to provide information back to the campus.
      • The GRCC team authored over 46 posts and a complete set of notes gathered at this event, please see:
      • Also, there were more than 4,845 tweets at the conference with the GRCC team (Eric Kunnen, Szymon Machajewski, Meegan Lills, Garry Brand, Fred Bauman, Mark Nordblom, and Bill Faber) providing more than 420 based on data gathered from and  The latest GRCC DLIT tweets are available at:

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

One Response to BbWorld11 – Summary

  1. Pingback: A Recap of GRCC’s Involvement in BbWorld 2011 « GRCC Today

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: