Dr. C’s – Sightseeing in Melbourne – Day 3

Well it’s the last day, as tomorrow morning (Saturday) we have to begin the long day of travel back to the states! This morning, after breakfast we took the City Circle Tram to Carlton Gardens, the Royal Exhibition Building, and the Melbourne Museum. The museum was really nice. We spent some time with the guide and she gave us a complete tour and it was interesting to listen to various aspects of the museum.

After that we went to a few gift shops. We had lunch at a neat salad place and then headed back to the hotel. We separated after the hotel and after checking my email I proceeded out and went to Federation Square where there were some very neat pieces of art right along the river such as the “Tree of Life” in Africa. I think walked by the Victorian Arts Centre. And then onto the various arcades such as The Block. We finished our stay by a nice closing dinner at Club Crown.


Dr. C’s – Sightseeing in Melbourne – Day 2

Today we had breakfast and then road the Circle Tram to Victoria Market. Spent some time looking for some gifts and then had lunch at a Brew pub and proceeded to Fitzroy Gardens and Cook’s Cottage. We also walked through the Treasury Gardens.

Dr. C’s – Sightseeing in Melbourne – Day 1

Yesterday was the first free day.

We went to breakfast at Automatic (we saw Matthew Small), walked past the Rialto towers, rode a trolly where we saw many artwork displays and a stadium, we went to the Melbourne Gaol and learned about Ned Kelly, walked by RMIT, did some shopping for gifts and went to an AFL store, chocolate store, passed by the Melbourne Train Station, went to lunch, went to the royal botanic gardens, stopped off at the pick way and bought a coke and shop lindt truffles, came back to the hotel and talked with Young about Educause, and finally went to the Red Emperor for Chinese food. We had some great food in a chef’s choice mode. That is, we didn’t really order anything… they just brought some great food! Scallops, Beef, Prawns, Rice, Duck, and for desert Chinese pancakes with custard and red bean. It was a great time!

Special Blackboard Patent Session

Special Blackboard Patent Session


Matthew Small, General Council for Blackboard Inc.
Michael Chasen, Blackboard President & CEO

1. Context

  • Patents 101 – How Patents Work
  • The Blackboard Patent
  • Intentions

2. Questions & Answers

Blackboard Patent Web Site: http://www.blackboard.com/patent

This session goal is to be fully informed about the Blackboard Patent.

What does a patent cover?

Some confusion about the Bb Patent. One example is that Bb is patenting eLearning. That is not accurate, Bb is not claiming to invent eLearning. What Bb invented was very specific functionality. When you look at a patent, it is very long and complicated.

Is the patent any good?

More complicated analysis. Prior art comes into play here.

The Bb Patent

The Bb patent has 44 claims. 2 of them are independant #1 and #36. One is a method and one is a systems claim. The other 44 claims are dependent claims. A course management system for the purpose of delivering where an individual user may have different roles. Bb in the mid to late ’90’s treated each course as an island in and of itself. While there was some databasing to connect things, there wasn’t a system whereby you could be a TA, instructor, student or another role without logging in as a different user. So there were some limitations with having a central space where you could move from course to course and have different roles and move from course to course without logging out and logging in as different users. Blackboard Courseinfo 2.0 had this. More scalable and student centered, enterprise grade software. Filed for patent in 1999. Fast forward to January 2006 the patent was issues.


Desire2Learn’s action. There were months of due diligence. It is one of the first lawsuits in this space. In the software space Bb is asking for royalties. Not focusing on open source. Open systems are very important to Blackboad. For example, Building Blocks. We know at the end of the day that Blackboard will be judged by it’s actions.

Town Hall coming up at Educause

Using Blackboard for Staff and Student Professional Development in a University

Using Blackboard for Staff and Student Professional Development in a University

Geoffrey Crisp, Associate Professor, University of Adelaide


This presentation will highlight how Blackboard is being used for non-course specific programs such as health and safety for staff, writing and speaking at university, staff career development and performance reviews. Examples of design principles, quizzes and discussion boards for these wider applications will be given.

What a small world we live in.  This session was delivered by Geoffrey Crisp of the University of Adelaide.  About 3 or 4 years ago, Geoffrey visited Grand Rapids Community College.  He was touring many Blackboard schools during his visit in the United States.  We talked about how GRCC was using and leveraging Blackboard in teaching and learning.  It was impressive to hear from his perspective now how the University of Adelaide is using Blackboard for Student and Staff Development.

The session talked about using Blackboard in various ways “outside of the classroom” to encourage online communication and promote the building of online collaboration opportunities.

Geoffrey referenced the Educause eBook resource “Education the Net Generation”  which talks about 1) social networking, 2) connected students, 3) engaged students, 4) experiential learning, 5) working in teams, and 6) focusing on things that are important to students.

The University of Adelaide using Blackboard for student orientation and staff orientation.  In fact, in the staff orientation, all employees are required to take a mandatory survey inside of Bb at the end of their oreintation experience.

Opening up discussion boards for student orientation helps students feel comfortable by allowing them to ask questions of their peers.  Also I thought it was really clever that they were using Blackboard for student technical support questions and forums.

The University is also doing some very unique things with pre-populating courses with templates that include surveys for faculty on learning styles and also course evaluations.

It was really nice to see Geoffrey again as it truly brings home how small the world really is… even though it did take me 26 hours to get from Michigan to Australia! 🙂

Social Networking: Pronto InstantMessenger and Wimba Podcaster for the Blackboard Learning System

Social Networking: Pronto Instant Messenger and Wimba Podcaster for the Blackboard Learning System

prontowindow.gifSteve Watt, Business Development Manager, NetSpot/Horizon Wimba

MSN Instant Messenger, blogs, wikis, podcasts…this session looks at taking up the challenge for educators in the light of the range of social networking tools used by students. Announcing “Pronto”, a free, integrated, instant messaging and voice chat tool pre-populated with LMS class lists and introducing the “Wimba Podcaster”.

Pronto will be a free instant messaging application that will include audio and chat. There will be a plus (pay) version that will include whiteboard and application sharing and video.

The slick part of this instant messaging tool is that it is easy and also opt-in. So there isn’t the concerns around student privacy if students are opting in. Also, the nice part about the integration with Bb is that the buddy list is automatically populated based on course enrollments.


The Wimba Podcaster will work with the Voice Tools application to allow instructors to easily create and distribute podcasts using the built-in audio tools that Wimba provides. There will even be integration with the already powerful Voice Board capability, allowing podcasting to occur in this tool as well.

HorizonWimba has some pretty impressive technologies coming to a Blackboard course management system near you soon!

I think that Pronto is a significant step forward in providing a robust collaborative environment for students and instructors. Instant communication capabilities extend the boundaries of the classroom, enabling learning to take place anytime anywhere. Students can stay connected and continue to build relationships while expanding their learning within a social context.

The Ask Dr. C’s are IN!

Recently announced at the WebCT !MPACT Conference in Chicago, Illinois and the BbWorldAsiaPac 2006 Conference in Melbourne, Australia, the WebCT Ask Dr. C program has been expanded to include moderated client support forums for Blackboard!  Faculty, students, and administrators can post questions that range from technical to pedagogical and how to questions for both Blackboard and WebCT.

For long term WebCT clients, you have been familar with the Ask Dr. C booth.  Well… there is a new one for “down under” at the BbWorldAsiaPac conference in Australia!!!  Here are some photos:

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Visit > http://www.blackboard.com/communities/ask_drc/ for more information about the unique assistance available through the Ask Dr. C program for Blackboard and WebCT!