Closing Keynote: Sugata Mitra

Sugata Mitra
TED Profile

Beyond the Hole in the Wall, eBook by Sugata Mitra

According to Sugata Mitra, the title of his first few talks was “The Hole in the Wall,” after much attempts at finding a new title, nothing worked! ūüôā Thus this talk has no title.

Sugata Mitra at Blackboard World 2013

“Look at how these kids are learning because I’m not there.” ~Sugata Mitra

The teaching methodology of Sugata Mitra, “I don’t know, and I’m going away.”

The Grandmother Method: “Stand behind them. Every time they do anything say, ‘Wow, that’s fantastic, how did you do that?'”

“Can you kill a goat by staring at it?” ~Sugata Mitra

“I know British Grandmothers, more than anyone else.” ~Sugata Mitra

“The granny cloud” ~Sugata Mitra

“Let’s make some machines that don’t break, okay?” ~Sugata Mitra

Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLE), download a tool kit at Sugata Mitra’s TED Profile.

Schools in the Cloud.


Mobile Learning: It Takes a Village

Robin Robinson, Director of Education Technology and Support
Clair Waterbury, Instructional Technologist
Framingham State University

Backchannel –¬†

The Background

About Framingham:

  • 175 years in 2014
  • 20 miles West of Boston (metro West)
  • 6506 students – 4489 Undergrads, 2017 Grad Students
  • Blackboard Users since 2000
  • Liberal Arts College
  • Undergrad Laptop Requirement started in 1998
  • State University
  • Faculty Union

The need was clear, students were bringing more mobile devices to campus, and faculty were beginning to ask to use mobile devices (iPads). One biology instructor wanted to use tablets and mobile technology to be more green in her courses. She wanted to have iPads to use in class, with apps on them.

The Approach at Framingham:

  1. Assembled a team
  2. Create a process
  3. Identify resources
  4. Build support (from faculty, upper management, …)
  5. Define policies and procedures

Mobile Task Force:

  • Operations: Policy, Procedure and Support (define what a mobile device is, at Framingham it was a kindle, Android, iOS Device, and Windows Device)
  • Our Mobile Footprint
  • Teaching and Learning Environment

The Village:

The Village at Framingham

The Approach: Innovative Grants

  • Develop technology proficiency
  • Design new instructional strategies
  • Improve teaching effectiveness
  • Increase student learning
  • Limited resources

Success Stories:

  • Community Building (cross departmental communication and collaboration)
  • Integration into the Curriculum
  • Mobile Task Force
  • Tablet Breakfasts (would sit over breakfast with faculty and tablets, personal connections happened and so did sharing of Apps)
  • Innovation Grants

Mobile Presence Currently:

  • The students adopted Bb Mobile Learn before the University did.
  • FSU Go Guide
  • FSUgo – mobile web application


  • Art Education: Art teacher students will learn how to teach art with mobile devices (tablets).
  • Computer Animation: The goal was to have students do more work with their mobile devices to animate. The Mac lab is very confining, there are 5 Macs and 10 students.
  • Social Media: Victorian Literature, engaged students in victorian literature by using tablets in creative ways.
  • Graphic Novels: Original goal was to have students create iBooks in iPads. It is necessary to use the Mac to create iBooks which then can be viewed on iPads.
  • Student Engagement: Faculty Champion

The Details

iPad Pilot 2012-2013: Mobile Engagement

Fall Semester:

  • Hardcopy text
  • eBook on laptop (only a few were originally willing to use the eBook on their laptop)
  • eBook on iPad
  • Free Apps only
  • Pearson Platform

Spring Semester:

  • Instructor selected iBook
  • Institution purchased apps, Apple Suite
  • Text on CourseSmart
  • Took volunteers, everyone had an iPad in the classroom, true 1-to-1 experience

The Results:

  • Blackboard Mobile University License was purchased
  • Evernote Electronic Lab notebook
    • a faculty member purchased a one year subscription to Evernote which allowed her to share out notebooks. Pictures, videos, and images can all be added to notebooks.
  • Mobile Task Force
  • Creation on Web App: FSU Go

Tablet Grant 2013-2014: Mobile Engagement Comparison

In this grant, during the first semester, 1/2 of the students were given iPads and 1/2 were given Lenovo ThinkPad Tablets. The second semester, they allowed students to choose, and the majority of students opted to use iPads. The other technology used:

  • Camtasia
  • Poll Everywhere
  • Dropbox
  • Blackboard Mobile
  • Overdrive, links to the library
  • Study Blue flash card creation, a free web service which has an app for students to create flash cards, or find already created ones to use.


  • Blackboard Catalyst Award Winner in 2012
  • EDUCAUSE Review Online

Graphic Novel Grant 2013-2014: Creating for Mobile

  • The first semester, the faculty member attempted to have his students use iBook author to create graphic novels. It was very difficult since iBook Author is built more for creating textbooks and not highly graphical books such as graphic novels.
  • Based on the feedback from the first semester, the faculty member used InDesign – Foliotool in CS6.

Social Media Grant 2013-2014: Mobile in Victorian Literature

  • Technology Used
    • iPad
    • Google + Communities
    • Classroom Salon
    • Puffin (browser)
    • Blackboard Mobile
  • Use of Dynamic Annotation
    • Classroom Salon, allows you to annotate over text.
    • Public and Private Annotation
    • Tagging
    • Collaboration with Carnegie Mellon
    • Commenting
    • Analytics
    • Personalized with Avatars
  • Uses of Google Communities (private group)
    • Role playing, adopting Victorian personas to use in their private Google + Community
    • Scavenger Hunt
    • Hashtags for assignments
    • Victorian Tea

What’s Next, Academic Year 2013-2014

  • Art Education: iPads for student teachers
  • Communication Arts: Computer Animation Techniques
  • English: Victorian Communities – continue to refine social media
  • Biology: lecture capture piloting Tegrity and Panopto and on-demand polling

Lessons Learned

  • Assessment is essential
  • Collaboration and Communication is key
  • Share the support
  • Embed sharing and support in Blackboard
  • Learn from others, share with others
  • BYOD is the reality
  • Students adopted Blackboard Mobile Learn (no prompting)
  • Convenient
  • Not a replacement for the laptop, yet
  • Opportunities to innovate

Make it Yours

  • There is an App for That
  • Make it fun! (Table Breakfasts…)
  • Innovation Grants (There are grants available out there! Start small…)
  • It will take a village.

The Art of Convincing Administration for More Support Staff

Adventist University of Health Sciences
Center for Educational Technology (CET)

Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.” ~Zig Ziglar

There are two focuses: conscious focus (support) and unconscious outcome (budget). It is important to focus on what you are doing well. At budget meetings, present short term and long term goals, and show your administration the “red cars.” (Laura Goodrich, Seeing Red Cars) In other words, have an intentional focus and stay on course towards an intentional goal.

Merit Awards – Over the past two years, 100% CET Staff Received Merit Awards – Are there opportunities like this at your institution?

Create Needs/Opportunities

“You know how to create needs that we can’t refuse…” ~University Chancellor

Provide excellence in everything that you do, like the Ritz Carlton.

MBWA – Management By Walking Around – Make yourself very visible.

Ask a faculty member what they need to do their job better. The chances that you will hear, “I need X, Y, and Z,” are minimal. You will more likely get, “I don’t need X, Y, or Z.” It is more helpful to ask faculty what the do in the class, what technologies are they using and how would they like to be using them better. This opens up the opportunity for you to help them find a new technology tool that might help them with their needs. Take all of these faculty needs, and then go to the administration.

“How much do you need?” ~University CFO

This is a hard question to answer, and whether it is asked directly or indirectly, we probably all hear it. Align your goals with the goals of the Administration. A tight alignment will help you be able to inadvertently ask for budget for your services/area.

“What do you see down the road?” ~University President

Try to project project staff hiring, one method is to be active and go back two to three years from when you will need that staff. In 2014, two new Masters Degree programs would be offered, following the development of the campus program, the programs would be offered online. The CET team attempted to project what that would look like in 2014, and then begin to work towards advocating for more people. As a result, one staff member was just approved to start working two days ago, and another position will become available to the CET in the 2014 budget.

“We need to clone your staff!” ~Faculty

Over support cheerfully – exceed expectations. The CET has created faculty showcases where they ask various departments and users how they use technology, and they invite these users into the faculty showcase for 15-20 minute presentations. Each presentation (every third week on a Monday) has at least on administrator present. This allows faculty to get up and say how they are using technology, that they are enjoying it, and how it is allowing them to be successful, and their students to succeed. There are always some best practices that can be shared between departments with varying teaching methods.

Dr. Lim asks his team how their workload is every week. He tries to help them shift their work to ensure that each person is working on what they are most passionate about or more interested in, and as a result, they are more productive. There is also creative time encouraged for all of the CET support staff. (Their staff is small, only four people.) These little things help the support staff be cheerful even in those tough situations where they have to visit the same users time and time again.

“We like $0 contracts!” ~University President

Maximize the use of your resources. It is important to be a good steward and both use the technology you have and abandon those technologies that you are no longer using.

10 Tips for Working with Administration

  1. Don’t talk about money
  2. Don’t whine about work load
  3. Don’t appear to be too busy
  4. DOn’t threaten to cut services
  5. Don’t threaten to leave
  6. Talk about their needs
  7. Strive to make their work easier
  8. Manage the perception of stewardship
  9. Resolve faculty issues before they get to the Admin
  10. Provide expert opinions and let them decide

Blackboard Corporate Keynote

Jay Bhatt
CEO, Blackboard

David Garibaldi to start us off?!?

Paint Your Experience…

During this perfect storm of change in the educational landscape, Jay Bhatt is excited to be returning to education. There is a technology paradigm shift going on; ten years ago, we were not talking about social, mobile, online and analytics. Today, you HAVE to talk about those words, those topics when you talk about education because it relates to our students. The future might be much closer than it appears to us today.

Jay has been with Blackboard for seven short months. He began with a discussion on the future of education with the people who have insight on it, internal and external to Blackboard. We have to have a perspective to be able to build the future – Education 2020 is the document that came out of that work. The perspective was from the outside in, instead of from the inside out. Six key trends were identified.6 trends

  1. Education truly global
    In 2020, 4 in 10 of the world’s young college graduates will come from China and India.
  2. Non-traditional learners
    Traditional students are 15% of todays undergraduates. 85% (15 million students in the U.S.) are non-traditional.
  3. Consumer-preferences/alternative models
  4. Learner centric education
  5. Big-Data in mainstream
  6. Online & mobile everywhere
    Online Education in Higher Education has tripled since 2003, the growth rate is 10x that of traditional methods

The next three months, Jay broke down the company to see if Blackboard in its current state matched the future.

On the plus side, Blackboard has (1) a good set of products, (2) phenomenal people working at the company, (3) fantastic customer relations, and (4) Blackboard is the only company that looks at the whole picture from kindergardeners to adults and lifelong learners.

Unfortunately, not all of the Blackboard products work well together. Blackboard is a good citizen, but could do a lot more. Finally, there are so many creative people in Blackboard, and Blackboard is going to invest in those creative people and bring more innovation to the education technology market.

Blackboard is a product company. They will always be a product company. But, at their heart, Blackboard is a Teaching and Learning company. The core of Blackboard is Teaching & Learning.

Blackboard Corporate Keynote Theme

Ray Henderson, President of Academic Platforms

The Report CardBlackboard Report Card - Keynote 2013

There is a lot of evidence to support the rapidly rising client satisfaction. Transparency has improved as well with record level roadmap sessions. Openness has been sustained with real commitment reflected in the Blackboard roadmap. However, in quality, Blackboard is just not to the check plus level yet. Testing has improved, there are client cohorts, field trial satisfaction at record levels, but it is not yet high enough. Finally, innovation is in its first year, and there have been many new features released with immediate impact.

  • The Course Analyzer – in development – the Exemplary Course Rubric is being put into a tool to help all course designers think about the key elements that improve course quality early.
  • Assessment Design – available now – instructors have much more control over when and how you can share feedback with students. Additionally, the ability to easily add test availability exceptions. (No more work arounds – an elegant onboard way to add exceptions to your course assessments!)
  • Safe Assign – in development – The¬†plagiarism¬†detection tool will become part of the overall design of the product, not a special, separate tool as it is now.
  • Video Everywhere – available now – faculty and students can make short clip video to add warmth,¬†immediacy¬† and a greater sense of community in the online environment. This is open, entirely free to everyone, reasonably future proofed, and does not fill up anyone’s disks, because it is all built around YouTube.
  • Blackboard Meeting Room – in development – Everyone will get this bundled in, for free! A lite version of the full flagship version of Blackboard Collaborate. You will be unable to record sessions or use telephony, application sharing or other advanced features. However, you will have a visual, technically¬†compatible¬†version to use on your campus even while upgrading to the full version of Collaborate on portions of your campus. For full suite users – all courses, instructors, will have permanent rooms. Telephony will come built-in, too!
  • Polls by Blackboard – in development – instant, live, classroom collaboration using mobile devices. No installation of new hardware, and no sending the student to purchase special hardware (clickers).
  • Mobile Learn – in development – More tools will available in the future to¬†further¬†personalize the information about your course. Also, a reading¬†experience that will make reading better in Mobile Learn.
  • Grade Center – in development – A number one priority at Blackboard to make this less painful. Two modes! Item view and grid views!! Infinite scrolling, no more paging! Look ahead searching to swiftly navigate to specific students for grading. Change¬†grade book¬†columns¬†simultaneously¬†with one move.
  • Open Badges & Achievements – available now – Just shipped! Supports Mozilla Open Badges, learners can share and keep their badges outside of the classroom. The OpenBadge standard has been integrated with Blackboard and once students earn a credential, they can move it outside of¬†Blackboard¬†into a badge backpack.
  • Analytics – Bridging the silos of data, Blackboard, SIS.
  • The Retention Center – available now – Behavioral data is now available so faculty can see performing, at risk, and excelling students.
  • Investigate Your Course – in development – The next step after the retention center, this will allow instructors to view behaviors and data across their entire course.
  • xpLor – available now – Share materials outside of an LMS, that works with multiple LMS. Creative Commons is embedded in xpLor to help the humans and machines know what rights go with what content.

Katie Blot, President of Education Services

Online & Mobile Everywhere – For this presentation, online is everything from hybrid courses to fully online programs.

There are a lot of external pressures happening on education. Students are now value shopping for their education. Increased accountability. (“What happens after the learner gets their degree?”) Learner expectations, anytime/anywhere access. Right now, 26% of 3rd to 5th graders (in the U.S.?) are interested in taking an online course.

Currently, 13% of schools offer MOOCs, and 46% of schools plan to offer MOOCs by 2016. The term MOOC was coined back in 2008 by Dave Cormier.

Open Access > Experimentation > Showcase

Drum roll please…. Blackboard will be providing free of charge to any Blackboard client a free MOOC platform. (Free, Hosted and Scalable) This platform will be familiar to Blackboard users, innovation available right when the latest tools and technology are available, bridge experiences between your MOOC and your enterprise application through xpLor, and a fully supported platform hosted by Blackboard hosting and supported by Blackboard. The platform will support over 40 million users. Today, 15 new schools will be using Blackboard for their open learning platform.

Remember, MOOCs are just one piece of the bigger picture of the online continuum.

MOOC on online learning continuum
Back to Jay for the wrap up with these new innovations:

  • Mosaic¬†–¬†the new Blackboard Mobile Central
  • TipTxt¬†– (K12 – a free product to help tackle the problem of bullying)
  • Innovation at Ottawa University
  • Next Generation Teaching & Learning Tools – how to invest ahead of the movement, rethinking credentialing across the entire continuum of ones life.

accelerate . integrate . innovate

P.S. Welcome to twitter Jay Bhatt!


Opening Keynote: Clay Shirky

Clay Shirky

Blackboard’s new CEO, Jay Bhatt,¬†introduced the opening keynote speaker, Clay Shirky, an internet idol or icon, a forward thinker with education and media. Shirky wrote the best selling non-fiction book, Here Comes Everybody.

“Here comes Clay Shirky,” introduces Bhatt.

Clay Shirky at BbWorld13

Education has always been collaborative. We produce and publish things in education to get a conversation going. There are new ways of doing things in education, but we don’t know how to use those ways yet. The new resource for bringing people together in new ways to learn things is cognitive surplus.

It took 100 million hours of human thought to create Wikipedia.

How big is that compared to television?

200 billion hours go into TV watching, in the US alone, every year.

We spend a Wikipedia amount of time watching TV commercials in a single weekend. (WOW!)

Shirky introduced An Xiao Mina, who studies memes and uses Instagram to share her research. (

Here is a story about these little plastic discs, or CDs, and the rise and fall of Napster. Napster went from zero to 80 million users in 18 months, and it was killed overnight. The music industry took control back, but still lost control of distribution because it was impossible to unbundle those bundled albums on CDs.

music distribution services
Let’s bring it back to Education with the story of a student at Ryerson University, Chris Avenir, Chemistry 101, and how a Facebook group led to a¬†$10 Million Lawsuit against Ryerson University.

  • The first MOOC from Stanford¬†– students in the MOOC started a MeetUp to fill the social void that was not present in the MOOC, but was necessary to learn and succeed in the course.
  • Devlin’s Angle – there is now no reason to have a distinction between textbooks and class notes
  • BibSoup¬†– collaborative filtering of books and libraries

We now use music we like to find other people that we would have something in common to talk about. With BibSoup, we can filter through data related to books and research.

Education is becoming a demand driven environment. The educational landscape is about to be transformed by student demand.


Blackboard Keynote

Everything we will hear about this morning is being driven by active learners – digital natives.

This is the largest BbWorld ever held. 1,000+ institutions are represented. Over 280 partners are here as well.

An explanation of Blackboard in simpler terms like Social Media Explained.

It was a big year.

The Vision: Choice, Innovation, Access

  • ProjectXP – Developing technology that will work across all elearning platforms which will also benefit from being
  • xpLor – learning object repository will be released in Beta this Fall. It will work with all the open industry standards.


    Blackboard’s new Learning Object Repository: xpLor

  • All Khan Academy resources are already uploaded into xpLor.
  • xpLor can be accessed directly from any LMS, but also directly from the web.
  • Individual learning objects and collections are brought up in search results.
  • This will revolutionize how easily materials can be shared across courses and institutions and even further. Content can even be shared across different learning systems at the same institution!
  • You can even create the content direct in xpLor and add robust meta data.
    xpLor meta data
  • Other products will be rolled out along these same open lines, e.g. xpCalendar.

Access has gone beyond just the major publishers in higher education to K12 partners, and vitalsource. McGraw-Hill, Wiley, Pearson, and Cengage will not only integrate with Blackboard, but with all learning management systems. The building blocks are free. They are available on the Blackboard Administrator Panel.

The Fundamentals – Ray Henderson

  • The rollout of new products, service packs, and upgrades will be more transparent.
  • Quality Investment
  • Client Satisfaction This year’s report card: Younger releases are being put into production faster, earlier than ever before.
“Don’t confuse activity with results.” – John Wooden
  • More confidence in user interface design came with Ocho.
  • Item Analysis for assessment questions will be available this fall.

    New Item Analysis coming this Fall in Blackboard.

    Enterprise surveys will be made available FREE to all Blackboard users. In addition, you will not only be be able to survey those on your campus now, but alumni who are not using Blackboard anymore!

    Enterprise Surveys
    Improved text messaging – FREE text & text-to-voice notifications and *new* two-way messaging bundle via Blackboard Connect.

    Text Messaging for Blackboard Notifications
    Collaborate goes mobile! Instructors will be able to add a new Collaborate session more seamlessly without having to jump back and forth between multiple systems.

    Blackboard Social will be part of course delivery and community this fall. It will be free to those who have community now, and those who do not can add that system.

    Once a person creates their profile, then they can network with others using People.
    Social spaces will then be available for students to create their own space completely outside of the classroom and independently to collaborate and network. This could be used for student organizations and ad hoc study groups.

New Services РKatie 

University of California Online – a new partner with Blackboard – they will be delivering fully online courses and degrees

Two years ago, Blackboard partnered with University of Southern Mississippi doing the exact same thing. USM now is operating Eagle Learning Online

Developmental Education

Results of Blackboard Developmental Education Initiatives

Mobile Showcase РKavon 

Mobile Central – Now has robust mapping abilities to let students know where buildings are located on campus.

Mobile Learn – mobile testing has been an area of significant development. Students can take native tests on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

Push notifications has just been released.

Blackboard Push Notifications

Students can get notifications when there is a new announcement, new content item, new course, new grades,

Push Notification Types

End users will now be in control of the mobile experience.

end user license

Institutions can license the mobile product as well to subsidize the cost, and receive two additional benefits. Integration between Mobile Learn and Mobile Central, and webOS and Blackberry support. This will be taken into effect in September 2012.