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!



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:

BbWorld – Day 3 Highlights

The following post provides highlights from Day 3 of BbWorld’11!

  1. Ten over Ten – A Decade of Online Learning Strategies

    Becky Vasquez
    , Chief Technology Officer, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
    John R. Watret
    , Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Worldwide Campus

    Session Description
    For over ten years, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus has been using Blackboard to power and grow online learning. What started as correspondence courses has now become a transformative learning experience for over 12,000 students per year. Our presentation will provide information on the top ten strategies that have helped us achieve success with eLearning.

    Strategy #1 Believe
    Myths – online classes are easier… students cannot learn online… how can i teach if i am not in front of students?

    Strategy #2 Leadership
    – Leadership support is paramount as people listen to leadership // gospel
    – Need funding as it relates to mission – may need to reallocate funding.
    – Faculty and staff buy in is important
    – There needs to be college initiatives
    –  Need to convince them is an important marketing need – influential
    – Tap into influence (Sloan-C, ITC, Educause, ECAR, NSSE, Blackboard)
    – Technology makes us better – interview with president featured in student newspaper.

    Strategy #3 Have a Plan
    – Write a plan for elearning: Exec Summary, Methodology, Planning Period, Purpose, Campus Strategy, eLearning Strategy, Initiatives (current, initiative, tech required, category, impact, timeline, and resources.)

    Strategy #4 Make it easy!
    – Keep it simple keep it customer focus.
    – Toolbox optimize – make it so people say “that was really easy”
    – All courses available by default
    – Use templates
    – Instructional designers
    – Course developers
    – Student orientation
    – Bb Training
    – eLearning support
    – Center for teaching and learning effectiveness

    Strategy #5 Be Bold
    – Be bold!  Faculty senate declares that all faculty must use bb with faculty development courses, software certification, requirements for full-time faculty and directors of academic.

    Strategy #6 Innovate
    – The act of starting something for the first time, introducing something new.  live virtual classroom
    – Find faculty to bring initiatives forward to solve problems together

    Strategy #7 Quality
    – Focus on quality – need to ensure things get done well, end of course evaluations, quality managers, surveys, monitoring, oversight teams

    Strategy #8 – Evolve
    – Evolve what you are doing – “technology is not technology if it was invented before you were born” / sir ken robinson

    Strategy #9 Fun!
    – Have fun!

    Strategy #10 Believe
    – Believe some more!!! Can’t stop believing in the power of elearning and what it can do for your students and the benefits for them  “We need men who can dream of things that never were.” John F. Kennedy

    Celebrate also, at Embry-Riddle, face to face classroom enrollment down nearly -10% and online growth up nearly +5%

    Get recognition through: Bb Exemplary Course Award, UCEA Course Award, CIO 100 Award CIO Magazine, Best Academic Deployment, Quality Matters  — and market this!

    Highlight students – word of mouth!

    Presentation available here.

  2. BbWorld Keynote

    Sir Ken Robinson, Author, Creativity Expert and Thinker

    Session Description
    Sir Ken Robinson, best-selling author and internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human potential, will deliver the closing 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.Notes:
    Book: “Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative”

    3 Themes:
    1) We are living in Times for which there is no precident in human history.  No prior examples to learn from.  Driving forces include:
    2) Meeting the challenges we face we need to think differently about our talents skills and capabilities.
    3) We have to do things differently if we are to face the future.

    “To face the future we need to radically re-think the core concepts of education.” -Sir Ken Robinson

    We have to think differently about our talents…we must radically reinterpret the differences in education
    “come on…I haven’t got all minute!”

    New technologies profoundly affect *how* we think…

    Nobody knows where technology is going really… we can project but we cannot predict effects on culture.  We have always been bad about this.  Gutenberg and press could not predict Martin Luther and the reformation.

    Technologies don’t add to culture they transform the culture.

    No committee will stop technology innovation and people will use them – eg. a committee could not stop TV.

    Population growth – how many people have their been?  Nobody knows… but it is an interesting question.  There are estimates and the best is: 60 and 110 billion.  Almost 10% of them are here now.  We are the largest generation ever in the history of humanity.  We are approaching 7 billion.

    Technology has affected our sense of “possibility.” – Sir Ken Robinson

    This is a time of revolution and we are facing the future with institutional structures rooted in the past and not for the future.

    The Element – How finding your passion changes everything.  – Book
    – Cultural differences in visual perception. Some cultures people see the whole picture in western culture we see a focus in the picture and focus on individualism  It frames how we see things and what we see.  How are we perceive things we can screenout enormous areas of human potential.

    People tend to underestimate their natural abilities and talents.

    Our current systems of ed are about standardization and conformity.

    “No child left behind” is… ironic.  We are leaving millions of children behind… unintentionally because of the obsession with standardization and conformity.  Intelligence is tremendously diverse. We thrive in diversity… each person is unique.

    To be born at all is a miracle – so what are you going to do with your life.  Our educational systems are not predicated on diversity but for conformity with efficiency in mind rather.  Many feel marginalized by ed because it was not designed to meet their needs.  More and more are simply dropping out of it.  30% dropout between 9 and 12 grade this is a catatastropy.  Education is a PERSONAL process.  Each has own personal drivers, motivations, expectations, desires, interests.  Ed doesn’t engage them generally.  New tech offering like Blackboard can provide extraordinarily capabilities to personalize and to encourage creativity.

    Why is Las Vegas here… it makes no sense.  The power of imagination is the one thing that sets us apart from life on earth.  We have an edge of power to bring to mind of things are not present… creativity is applied imagination.

    This power has led us to problems and innovations.  We need ot look further ahead and more deeply.  Look hard at nature of teaching/learning and the curriculum and personalization of our assessment systems.  Tehcnology has a role but is not the whole answer.

    Tools are only valuable if there are creative minds using them.

    If the conditions are right… life is inevitable.  If the educational conditions are right and there is freedom to grow and the encouragement is there if the energy is there – they will grow.  The tech needs to be personal and the furtherance of creative thinking.

    Poet – There came a point where the pain of remaining tight in a bud is greater then the pain to flower and flourish.

    “If we do this right we will create a future we want to live in.”

  3. Ask Dr C Booth – Eric Kunnen participated in the Exhibit Hall as an ask Dr. C.

BbWorld – Day 2 Highlights

Today is an action packed day with the Bb Corporate Keynote and a wide array of client led sessions.

Here are few highlights from the day:

  1. Breakfast Meeting – Szymon Machajewski, Bill Faber, Garry Brand, and Eric Kunnen met with John Fritz from UMBC at breakfast.  UMBC is a pioneer and well respected college that uses iStrategy, Peoplesoft, and has developed an analytics system.  GRCC plans to work with UMBC to extend the bbStats Blackboard Building Block as well as continue to work together to share ideas and best practice in connecting student activity with levels of engagement and success.
  2. Session:  A Year in the Life: One School. One Year. One Blackboard Partnership

    Misty Cobb
    , Director of Distance Education, Jacksonville State University
    Jim Johnson
    , Strategic Account Executive, Blackboard
    Kerri Reese
    , Distance Education Specialist, Jacksonville State University
    Carey Smouse
    , Instructional Designer, Jacksonville State UniversitySessionDescription
    In less than one year, Jacksonville State University went from considering other learning management systems to licensing four of the five available Blackboard platforms, establishing BamaBUG, hosting an e-learning symposium with Blackboard, participating in the BIE and Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1 Upgrade Cohort, , and ending up summarily pleased with Blackboard. This presentation will share our story of how our relationship has grown from a typical client/vendor relationship to a true mutual partnership.

    – Through extensive campus communications and support through JSU’s administration, the college has managed to increase the critical strategic value of Blackboard.
    – Involvement from the president’s office as well as technology areas and student life contributes to a shared responsibility for success in the deployment and advancement of Bb.
    – The key learning is that it is important for a collective advocacy for advancing education through technologies such as Blackboard.

    Implications for GRCC:  Administrative involvement and the sharing of what Blackboard provides to our campus needs to be more effectively communicated.

  3. Session:  Walking the Walk: Using Adaptive Release in a Faculty Training Program

    Karin E. Readel
    , Director, Instructional Technology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

    This talk will highlight the use of Blackboard’s Adaptive Release function in University of Maryland Baltimore County’s (UMBC) Alternate Delivery Program, a training program for faculty interested in converting face-to-face courses to hybrid format. Faculty must complete a series of assignments in order to proceed through the program successfully. Access to these assignments is controlled via Adaptive Release rules, providing faculty with the same experiences and challenges that their students might face in their own courses.

    UMBC uses an online faculty development model where an instructor self-enrolls in Hybrid Course Design organization site in Bb and the first step is that the faculty member posts in the discussion board.  The facilitator is subscribed to the forum and in turn welcomes the instructor to the training.  Adaptive release is used to guide the participants through the learning.  Marked reviewed is used and a Doodle poll to setup a meeting and also the assignment tool is used to submit a letter of approval for the development of a hybrid course.  “Ten Questions for Course Redesign” is used and the participant submits their responses to this using an assignment.  Instructor then reflects on their own Bb usage based on the UMBC stats in comparison of other instructors. Then there is a F2F interview setup using the quiz tool.  Then view adaptive release rules make available the videos of presentations of effective practices from other instructors.  The participants are then asked to present: “10 minutes of Fame” where they pose pedagogical problem, show how Bb solved the problem, discuss student/peer feedback, describe next steps and then time for Q&A.

    Implications for GRCC: This strategy could be used for our online training and also may dovetail nicely into the OHCC course.

  4. Session: Faculty Helping Faculty: Collaborative Strategies for Supporting the Blackboard Learn™ Solution

    Shayle Adrian
    , Instructional Designer, Seton Hall University

    This session will highlight some of the strategies that Seton Hall University has used to help faculty share pedagogical ideas, answer questions, and solve problems with their Blackboard courses. A weekly “Tech Tips” blog has been very successful at proactively educating the community about new tools and techniques in Blackboard. Other tools include a new crowdsourcing website encouraging community support of Blackboard, and a weekly webinar including instructional designers and faculty discussing Blackboard.

    Notes: The Tech Skills Course was developed with Articulate.  They developed a Tech Tips blog that combined IT support, Center for Teaching and Learning, instructor designer.

    Implication for GRCC: Expand Faculty Best Practice blog to bring in IT, CTE, DLIT into one place for sharing information with faculty.

    Seton Hall revamped their tech website with a goal to help faculty help themselves.  These included print and video tutorials and also a Twitter feed “@shutechhelp” to promote.   Seton Hall also created a Bb organization site that included WebEx recordings for Online Teaching and Learning.

    Implication for GRCC: Leverage Bb organization sites and web and blog and Twitter for consistent messaging.

    Bb Voice is a monthly webinar/conference call through WebEx and faculty led the presentation and sharing, these sessions included FAQs, etc.  They also launched a crowd-sourcing website:  Overall this session has some great ideas for GRCC to review to consolidate, promote, and advocate self-help resources.

    Presentation is available here.

  5. Lunch with iStrategy and Blackboard Analytics – GRCC met with Blackboard representatives to discuss the value of data, reporting, benchmarking, and data warehousing.
  6. BbWorld Corporate Keynote
    Michael Chasen, President and CEO, Blackboard

    Ray Henderson, President, Blackboard Learn, Blackboard

    Michael Chasen and Ray Henderson will deliver news and updates on corporate announcements and initiatives from the past year and provide an overview on plans for the future.


    About the Conference
    – 2,300+ in attendance
    – 70+ partners
    – 750+ institutions
    – 70+ partner orgs
    – 300+ partner attendees

    The Education Cloud
    – Cloud computing (software to scale for performance and users, scale to usage dynamically, scale for cost)
    – 3,000 institutions running Bb
    – 1,500 on 9 and 9.1
    – 1/3 is hosting
    – 2,000 locally

    Bb Collaborate 11 – Best of Wimba and Elluminate and most advanced architecture.
    Bb Connect 5 – Mass messaging for professors but also scale to entire campus.
    Bb Mobile – Full cloud based architecture to custom mobile applications,
    Blackboard Managed Hosting – Software as a service and support.
    Blackboard Student Services (Presidium) – Providing student help desk support and other services.
    Digital Learning Content – Question:  What is the relationship between learning management systems and learning content – what is the synthesis?
    1) Digital Texts – CafeScribe (eFollet), nookstudy (Barnes and Noble) have Building Blocks. And with CourseSmart Bb announces a new partnership.
    2) Digital Courses – McGraw-Hill connect and create products.   Pearson is now a partner with Blackboard. Mastering and MyLab products.  Increase student retention and letter grade improvement for outcomes.  Cengage Learning with products CourseMate and MindTap (PLE – Chris Vento from WebCT and Michael Feildstein) are now partners with BbWiley with products Wiley plus are now partners with Bb as well.  Further, Macmillan with products CompClass and PsychPortal are now partners. This brings 98% of the digital content in the market integrated into Bb.  This will speed the benefit of learning outcomes.

    Administration – Measure learning outcomes and achievement. Blackboard Analytics provides a comprehensive vision of goals and strategies.  Data warehousing and reporting tools provided by iStrategy.  Blackboard Analytics for Learn provides a good view of assessment strategies with insight into Bb.

    Enterprise Survey for Everyone will be a new tool surveys across the institution standard feature!  Blackboard is serious about improving the quality of insight of learning and business outcomes.

    The focus is on the “efficacy” and “fidelity” within the product.

    The Fundamentals – Bb’s Report Card with Ray Henderson
    – Author John Wooden highlights the fundamentals and these are really important before improvement begins.  Bb is focusing here.
    – Support improved 7 day ticket resolution by 30% last year.  1 day resolution rate 60% improvement.  100,000 tickets were received last year.
    – Transparency – A new Connect decisions to strategy and Ray has blogged about these.  Product roadmap was shared more than ever.  Ticketing and issues and support have redesigned “Self Service / Community Resources / Bb Support”.  A new admin panel provides software updates that are intelligent for Learn updates and Building Block updates.
    – Openness – Bb OpenDB (850+ institutions taking advantage), Blackboard Building Blocks, Common Cartridge, Learning Tools Ineroperability (LTI), Learning Information Services (LIS).
    – Quality – 2x improvement in bug fixes within 1 service pack over the past year.  Blackboard Bug Squad with over 1,000 clients have been involved. (Opensource can’t compete here.)  Cohort upgrade programs are very important for helping institutions along. 75% of participants have successfully upgraded.
    Quality Matters Program and Blackboard now have a partnership.  Codeveloping a new series of strategic consulting offerings with everyone that is a trainer at Bb is being certified in QM.

    The Road Ahead with Michael Chasen
    – Improving social learning
    – Customizing course environment
    – Content focus

    Product Roadmap includes:
    – System feeds, live rep for help, My Blackboard tab provides new feed is an completely revamped:  what’s new, classmates online instructors online, bb trends discussion.  Stream of messages, new calendar features, my places…
    – There is a brand new welcome to course wizard, course themes, managing course dates and date rollover feature, include standards for assignments, new wysiwyg editor, due after student starts for adaptive release, sharing repository, single sign on to google docs with editing options on screen with passed authentication, twitter integration,
    – Mobile platform, now has search feature for courses and favorites, new discussion tools provide threaded, supports attachments,
    – Blackboard Mobile Portal – Bb Mobile Central, Bb Mobile Analytics and a new development kit for onscreen builds.

  7. Introduction to the Blackboard Analytics™ Solution
    Jim Chalex, Senior Product Manager, Blackboard

    In this feedback session we will seek your perspective about a new product under development – Blackboard Learn Analytics – to understand how you would like to leverage longitudinal Learn data to inform data-driven decision making. More specifically, we will discuss the use of Learn data to inform student retention, performance reporting, activity trending and analysis, and curriculum design.

    – Blackboard Analytics for Learn (in Development)
    – Educational Analytics and Reporting
    – Pre-built integration
    – Library dashboards
    – Advancement (in Development)
    – iStrategy Products include: HR, Finance, Financial Aid, Student Management

    Implications for GRCC: Currently bbStats and Project ASTRO provide a robust set of reports.  However, the Bb Analytics for Learn product seems to take a very deep dive using the power of the iStrategy platform as the basis.  It will be interesting seeing the collision between the open and free products and the solution that Bb is planning to release.

  8. Extreme LMS Makeover
    Chris Borales, Senior Manager Technical Product Marketing, Blackboard
    George Kroner, Technical Lead, Developer Programs, Blackboard


    How cool would it be to have Podcasts and Google Docs integrated with your courses? Do you have a favorite Web 2.0 tool you like to use but wish it just worked better within your Blackboard course? Good news is that instructors just like you are using these things in their Blackboard courses today. This session will introduce you to the world of Building Blocks and how you can extend your course environment.

    – Bb is an Open Platform: authentication, Building Blocks, Open Standards, Open Database, SIS Integration, CSS/Themes, Web Services, Developer Community — Project ASTRO GRCC bbStats highlighted.

  9. Softchalk Reception – Several members of the team attended a reception sponsored by Softchalk. GRCC is evaluating the use of this application for courseware development to support the expansion and growth of Distance Learning.
  10. Blackboard Collaborate (Wimba) Dinner – Several members of the GRCC team had a great discussion about the collaboration potential of the suite of tools provided by Blackboard. These include: Blackboard IM (formerly Wimba Pronto), Blackboard Voice Tools (formerly Wimba Voice Tools), and also Bb Collaborate 11 (which is a best of both plaforms product, combining Elluminate and Wimba Classroom.)

Looking Ahead to BbWorld 11

Every change I get a free moment, I think about the Bb World Conference next week. I’m looking forward to being in Las Vegas and spending time with the Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies team. I also have a number of specific things I am looking to learn more about through sessions.

Course Quality – A major part of my position is to assist faculty in developing high quality fully online courses. I have been taking advantage of the virtual tours of this year’s exemplary course award winners, and I’m hoping to learn more about the rubric and process for 2012 at the conference. Here are a few sessions on this topic that have caught my eye so far:
  • A Successful Journey to Exemplary Courses – Course makeover program at the University of Nevada, Reno
  • Evaluating Online Courses – A look at the various rubrics out there today and the rubric Wilmington University developed prior to submitting a course to the Bb Exemplary Course Award.
  • Breaking Down the Barriers of Course Design & Development: A Tale of Two Schools – evidentally, according to this awesome description I should “Walk away with sample training agendas, course design guides & tips, and steps for creating exemplar course shell templates. Learn how to easily implement a course development process in which your teachers can design and develop courses with ease and minimal training.”
  • Exemplary Course Winners Share Their Lessons Learned – Perhaps this may be the most important of all these sessions – hearing from the winners and their lessons learned and best practices.
Wimba Pronto – or shall I say, Blackboard Collaborate, the enterprise instant messaging tool? How can we assist in adoption and best practices for use in online courses at GRCC? This session may shed a bit of light:
  • Meet Me Pronto! Adoption and Deployment Strategies for Pronto – Ivy Tech Community College, the world’s largest Pronto user will present.
Mobile Technologies – One of my favorite topics, mobile technology, specifically how to leverage the devices that students current have or want and use them in the learning process. Here are a few sessions that look interesting:
  • Mobilizing the Classroom: ACU’s Digital Classroom Experiment – Abilene Christian University – need I say more? They were one of the first universities to put mobile devices in the hands of their undergraduate students. This presentation will actually discuss the use of iPads in a Microeconomics course.
  • Engaging Non-Traditional Students with Mobile Learning: CUNY John Jay and Cleveland State University – I believe it is important to understand that non-traditional students use mobile technology in different ways. With their busy schedules, it might be a great tool for them in their learning. Plus, John Jay’s students did pilot the use of HTC EVOs and I have one!
Lastly, I am uber excited for the opportunity to see Sir Ken Robinson live and in person at the keynote session Thursday! In a Presentation Zen workshop I co-facilitated a number of times in my previous life, we used Sir Ken’s famous Ted talk, and I still enjoy watching it.

Stay tuned! I am hoping to post many ponderings, creative ideas, and musings from the conference next week.

BbWorld’08 – Notes and Highlights from the Conference

BbWorld’08 – Blackboard Users Conference

Las Vegas, NV
July 14-17, 2008
The Palazzo Tower at the Venetian
Conference Website

NEW! Conference Presentations and also the Developers Conference

Monday, July 14

Monday is the start of the Blackboard DevCon (Developers Conference), which is focused on Blackboard developers, vendors, and institutions that customize and create external applications that integrate through Blackboard’s open APIs. Monday also includes preconference sessions on a wide array of topics. I wasn’t able to attend the keynote of at this conference as I was prepping for my preconference session with Kevin Reeve from Utah State University. Luckily the Mike Wesch’s keynote was captured on video. (It was captured using the Echo360 technology.) Here is another version of the keynote that was delivered at the University of Manitoba “A Portal to Media Literacy“.

Monday also included a collection of BbWorld preconference sessions.

Preconference Session: Podcasting – From the Desktop to the Enterprise

Kevin Reeve, Utah State University
Eric Kunnen, Grand Rapids Community College

In this interactive “show and tell” session, we will explore podcasting with a focus on providing a look at desktop and enterprise solutions for the creation, management, hosting and delivery of podcasting. Portable Audio Recorders, Microphones, and USB audio devices will be used to demonstrate how several software programs can be used to create podcasts.

Enterprise systems that integrate with Blackboard products will also be shown. We will explore Enterprise Podcasting and Course Casting Solutions like Podcast LX, TechSmith Camtasia Relay and Wimba. Participants will learn the format for creating the RSS (Syndication) feed using XML and will leave with a 30+ page resource guide for podcasting.


  • Kevin and I created an online resource ( that we referred to during the session.
  • We also provided a 45 page booklet to the participants that covered many of the live demonstrations and products that we discussed in the session.
  • I noticed a participant blogged about the session on her Blackboard World Tour blog… I hope it was valuable! 🙂
  • Here is our opening Powerpoint slideshow we used for the session:

Tuesday, July 15

Tuesday is the second day of the Blackboard DevCon conference. Preconference sessions continued on Tuesday. The main BbWorld conference began in the evening with a keynote speaker and opening reception in the vendor hall. The reception also included a display of conference poster sessions. Bill Vilberg from the University of Miami recorded some of the poster session presenters, among other conference highlights in his LMSPodcast.

Innovations in the Greenhouse Grant Program – Panel Session

Project ASTRO

Project ASTRO, Advanced System Tracking and Reporting
Eric Kunnen, Grand Rapids Community College


  • Goal – To build an open source community based advanced reporting tool and Blackboard Building Block that will empower institutions to become more accountable and able to use data-driven decision making to enhance, optimize, and advance Blackboard Academic Suite usage in teaching and learning.
  • Purpose – To collect system activity information and provide reports on how Blackboard is being used by faculty, staff, and students which will inform stakeholders and provide data to improve the engagement of end users, increase adoption, and encourage deeper use of the Blackboard Academic Suite by faculty, staff, and students.
  • Key Functions
    • Track – Automatic tracking (via Blackboard Building Block) of system activity including courses, organizations, users, and tools.
    • Report – Easy point and click access to advanced reports.
    • Discover – Ability to measure trends and analyze usage.
    • Share – Capability to embed data, share reports, and inform key stakeholders.
    • Act – Features to identify, target, and engage users via email notifications.

Integrating Social Software into Windows Vista

Naomi Augar, Deakin University


  • Goal is to pilot and evaluate social software for teaching and learning.
  • Integrate appropriate tools into Blackboard Vista using PowerLinks.
  • Awarded 2007, pilot already underway.
  • Focus of grant was to code develop and implementation of MediaWiki and Drupal-SMF integration.
  • Developed a script to work with Stephen Vickers’ Login2 WebCT PowerLink.
  • MediaWiki and Drupal-SMF integration went live on July 2.
  • Review of integration scheduled for December 2008.
  • Production support for Gallery2.
  • Development server for future research.
  • Demo: MediaWiki, DSMF

Blackboard Greenhouse Grant for Virtual Worlds

John Fillwalk, Ball State University


  • SecondLife for virtualization.
  • The aesthetic camera is the unit/curriculum that would be the focus for leveraging a virtual environment.
  • Design and produce a virtual filmmaking technology that mirrors functionality in real life.
  • Hands-on instructional equipment.
  • Streamline student experience in both SL and Bb. SL orientations would take place on university islands, plan to use Bb Adaptive Release, and ensure secure and automate course management and assessment.
  • BSU virtual campus in SecondLife had to be built.
  • Build all the equipment first and had to program the usage of the equipment.
  • Provide both asynchronous and synchronous interchanges.
  • Associate Bb and SL authentication information.
  • Develop a strategy to eliminate the navigation frame loss in Blackboard upon switching back and forth between Bb and SL.
  • Maintain security while passing information handled by a custom Bb Building Block.
  • Create a best practice model for instructional design within virtual worlds.
  • Generate best practice land management model and community standards.
  • Building Block to include class enrollment object (LSL avatar sensor script will collect and associate SL avatar names with actual student names automatically transmitting it to Bb and pairing them within Bb.), and SL class list administration. (Access Avatar name from within Bb, LSL script to query for authentication to confirm and sync SL avatar course enrollment information.)
  • Public chat capture and archive. Records public chat typed passes archives file to tagged Bb discussion.


BIE Steering Committee Meeting


  • Covered by NDA and therefore unable to be posted.

Keynote: Steve Wozniak

Venetian Ballroom

Steve Wozniak is a silicon valley icon and philanthropist for the past 3 decades, he helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products and influenced the popular Macintosh. For his achievements at Apple Computer, Steve as awarded the National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States in 1985, the highest honor bestowed on America’s leading innovators.

In 2000, Mr. Wozniak was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and was awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for “single-handedly designing the first personal computer and for then redirecting his lifelong passion for mathematics and electronics toward lighting the fires of excitement for education in grade school students and their teachers.”

Making significant investments of both his time and resources in education, Mr. Wozniak “adopted” the Los Gatos School District, providing students and teacher with hands-on teaching and donations of state-of-the-art technology equipment. Mr. Wozniak founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and was the founding sponsor of the Tech Museum, Silicon Valley Ballet, and Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. Mr. Wozniak’s autobiography iWoz: from Computer Get to Cult Icon, was published in 2006.


  • Michael Chasen opened the conference.
  • The goal is to improve education by leveraging technology in teaching and learning.
  • There are 1800+ in attendance with over 208 attendees at the Blackboard Developers Conference.
  • Steve road in on a segway.
  • Raw power isn’t the most important thing. Human intellect is.
  • He would build a computer and rebuild a computer trying to use fewer parts, make it better, make it faster. Need to make the most out for the least in.
  • He would read every computer book or magazine he could.
  • Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation… Just enjoyed investigating computers.
  • Did some work in Fortran.
  • He built a television jammer out of a transistor purchased from Radio Shack. He used it in his dorm as a practical joke.
  • A friend of his had a key to the lab and used to run programs in the middle of night.
  • He did everything he could to work with computers. Also tried to do more.
  • Worked for a year and programmed a computer. He would go in at night and run programs.
  • He kept getting put down exploring and developing his own capabilities. One day he told an executive that he designed computers in high school but could never afford to build them. Then he meet Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs talked about making clay action movies in high school, he always envisioned himself doing something that makes a difference.
  • HP35 scientific calculator, the first one that replicated the slide rule. And every engineer needed one. Something like $3,000 in today’s money.
  • Steve then started working on designing calculators at HP. He was involved in dreaming up products. Bottom up driven not marketing driven.
  • When he came home from work he would work on his own projects. He started a dial a joke service in the bay area.
  • Bowling alley he went to and he say a game called Pong. And he went home and made his own game.
  • Steve Jobs didn’t go to any of the pre-reqs at college. He went do to some work at Atari. Atari wanted to by Pong from Steve. He designed a game called Breakout. He stayed up 4 days and nights and they developed the popular Breakout game.
  • Steve Jobs and him went to visit a friend to work with a teletype system of a guy that was playing chess on a computer across the country. This was ARPAnet. Steve went home and designed a system to place letters on the TV screen, he built a modem and ended up selling his teletype like system because it was smaller and cheaper than existing teletypes.
  • He used his knowledge of the calculator programming to create the interaction of the keyboard with a processor… all other computers at the time had switches that had to be set for 1’s and 0’s.
  • He gave the plans to the club. Steve Jobs came along and noticed his schematics. Then he said these people don’t have the time to use blueprints to create this… so Jobs said let’s build a board with all needed parts. Then Steve went to HP and they said they weren’t interested.
  • Newton under the Apple tree.
  • HP turned his design down 5 times.
  • First computer where you typed on a computer and you saw your words on a TV screen.
  • Apple 2 was more than anyone expected. Nobody expected graphics. Nobody expected sounds, colors.
  • They talked to Commodore and Atari turned them down.
  • He wanted to stay at HP and finally he decided to leave and they started Apple.
  • Later that year they went to the Las Vegas consumer electronic show. He worked everyday to create a floppy disk because a cassette tape was too slow.
  • Ted Wraskin was a humanist that you can design a computer to make it easy to use. The human is more important than the technology… so you don’t force the human to change their behavior.
  • Eventually he had a family and did some work with schools and computer labs… give yourself and your time to something you believe in. Main class goal… didn’t want to teach about how to build computers… but to how to apply and solve it with a computer.
  • A student should have a computer they can use at school and at home.
  • Networking was also an interest. See a server. AOL was around and the kids would start talking to others around the world.
  • Bring fun in with the work… you will appreciate the work that much more.
  • Photos and videos in the class.
  • Teachers didn’t learn quickly like the kids. The teachers were a little bit slower… he wishes he would have taught teachers more.
  • If students didn’t get a concept he would reteach it.
  • In a large class he was disappointed because he could reach 19 well but not 30. What if students could teach…
  • The more a computer seems like a human the more attracting it is to kids… it’s a friend.
  • Early Internet came… he wanted to create a Blackboard like software, he is glad to be a part of it.
  • Steve always felt the 1 to 1 is the right way to go.
  • It’s not as important WHAT you teach but that you MOTIVATE them to learn… so if using the computer is moving to a student. Motivation is more important than content.
  • Testing methodology… ask a question and the right answer is only 1 thing. It because like intelligence is agreement less than individual thinking to solve a problem.
  • Why don’t we give a problem and then asking why is this answer wrong… instead of what is right.
  • Schools have a big problem with money… too little money… Propostion 13… more taxing for better schools.

Welcome Reception and Poster Sessions
Exhibit Hall

Project ASTRO

Eric Kunnen, Grand Rapids Community College
Santo Nucifora, Seneca College

Wednesday, July 16

Wednesday was the first full day of the BbWorld conference with an opening keynote, following by an entire day of breakout sessions.

Take the Mystery out of Digital Content Management

Content Sharing, Communities

Embarking on a digital content management at your institution with the Bb Content System? Working on maximizing its adoption at your institution? Take away the mystery of how to leverage a content management solutions and learn how your colleagues have paved the way for success. Join us for a lively and informational discussion about the Bb Content System and how it can benefit faculty, students, and staff. You will leave with lots of good ideas to put into action.

Rob Bobeldyk, Calvin College
Erik Dearholt, Tulane University
Wayne Twitchell, Grinnell College


Challenges and Needs

  • Education department and the need for accreditation and eportfolios
  • Faculty using learning objects in multiple courses.
  • Downloading and modifying files in content areas.
  • ePortfolios needed to be tied to the learning system.
  • Versioning is a needed tool.
  • Access to content without email attachments.
  • Network storage and access to resources remotely and web-based.
  • Reusable and shareable content.
  • Workflows are needed.
  • Permissions can be managed by end users.
  • Mapped network drives enabled quick content updates in courses.
  • Calvin is using the ePortfolio for transcript, teacher evaluations, recommendations etc. sharing with external potential employers.
  • Collaborative learning and teaching. Enabling the ability for faculty to easily share files and content with each other.
  • Ability for faculty to upload once and update once by linking to a single instance of content.
  • WebDav – Xythos Drive is what Grinnell is using. – WebDrive is what Calvin is using.
  • Institutional content includes a folder for each department. User directories. Department/Division/Program folder. Roles can be used also for permissions from an SIS.
  • Student web space and public urls, My Website Building Block
  • Student services for special needs. Staff can place files and share them.
  • Reduce load on IT department.
  • Florida State – is using the system administratively a lot.
  • University of Cincinnati is using the BbCS ePortfolios for faculty tenure, promotion, and performance review. In addition for composition classes to assess student work in developmental writing programs.
  • Can access campus files remotely. Using the web as the network.
  • *** Tulane has a Flash Video on benefits of the Content System.
  • Archives? Library? Learning Objects? Training/Adoption for Students?

The Power of Web 2.0 Used within Blackboard Software

Innovative tools for learners, student engagement.

Stacey Campo, Poway Unified School District

Join us to explore free interactive internet tools, which are used to empower and engage learning beyond the classroom walls. Using the resources of Web 2.0 technology, the ISTE National educational Technology Standards for Student (NETS) and good teaching practices, participants will embark upon a learning journey that weaves standards, technology and the love of learning together to expand the learning process beyond the bell. You will receive a list of Web 2.0 tools that are compatible with your Bb system, as well as curriculum ideas for implementation.


  • ISTE – Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools Book
  • What is Web 2.0 – Web-based tools, interactive, social, rich navigation, unique apps, creating, connecting, potential and profound impact on Education.
  • Use (concept map) in class to capture ideas quickly, brainstorming, etc… immediately place in Bb.
  • Received a Web 2.0 Youtube clip while in the session via Twitter from @gbrand:
  • Steve Hargadon ( 1) New Publishing Revolution, 2) A tidal wave of information, 3) Everything is becoming participative, 4) The New Pro-sumers, 5) The age of the Collaborator, 6) Explosion of Innovation, 7) flatter world, 8) Social World, 9) Long Tail, and 10) Social Networking.
  • What should you do? Learn IT, Lurk in IT, Participate in IT, Digest IT, Teach IT, Talk about IT, Help Build the New Playbook.
  • Communication, Collaboration, Create
  • Here are the presenters resources: (No handouts… on purpose!)
  • PageFlakes – Public collections of feeds and widgets
  • Google Pages – Easy create web site
  • – Cartoons
  • Student Communication – Blogs via
  • Student Collaboration –,,,
  • A lot of K12 schools use messages feature in Bb because of email liability with under age kids.
  • Microsoft Photostory – Still images and music in a video clip.
  • Audacity – Audio recording tool.
  • TeacherTube – California Gold Rush was created with Photostory and it was a composition of stills and had student voice overs.
  • – Graphic tool for creating banners and graphics for Bb.
  • – Good banner creation tool for Bb.
  • Adobe Photoshop Express – editing photos.
  • Jeopardy game in PPT, “Tech Fortress Teacher Technology Blog”
  • “Web 2.0 for the Classroom Teacher”

The New Wimba Pronto – Eric Kunnen, Grand Rapids Community College

Exhibit Hall

  • Discussed how Pronto can meet the needs of educational institutions by better connecting faculty, students and staff.
  • Challenges:
    • 15,000+ students that all commute, study, have jobs , and in many cases families.
    • Tutorial lab hours are limited.
    • Scheduling conflicts occur for out of class experiences and student group activities and assignments.
    • Students cannot regularly attend face to face faculty office hours.
    • Effective and timely library support and other campus student services for students is difficult with a geographically disperse campus.
    • Student engagement and retention are top institutional concerns.
  • Opportunities:
    • Blackboard and Wimba Pronto is an effective way for faculty and students to remain in contact, collaborate, and to build online community.
    • Online tools can provide: motivation, flexible scheduling, repetition, confidence through practice, an increase on time on task outside of the classroom, individualized active learning experiences, more effective use of class time, saves time, and new capabilities such guest speakers from around the world.
  • For Faculty and Students
    • Video Conferencing
    • Application Sharing
    • Queued Chat for Tutoring and Office Hours
  • For the Campus
    • School Tab with Help Desk Functionality
    • Institutional Notifications
    • Reporting
  • Fall 2008 Rollout Planned

M-Learning: The Use of Podcasting to Enhance Online Academic Instruction

Texas Tech University
Health Sciences, School of Nursing

Innovative tools for learners, student engagement

Mobile learning through podcast technology enhances student learning experiences and shortens the miles in distance education. With the help of this innovative technology, academics bring the classroom to the student. M-learning assists educators to promote direct lines of communication through streamed audio and video-casts. Methods of podcasting, benefits, barriers, and hints of enhancing deliver across the generation gap will be shared with participants.


  • Podcasting definition – rss enabled access to digital files, on the go technology
  • 2000 Adam Curry pioneered podcasting.
  • 2003 Broadcasting
  • 2004 Podcast domain registered
  • 2005 iPod video, oxford dictionary, podcasting books
  • 2005+ growing and exploding
  • Legal implications and intellectual property, fair use, etc.
  • Microphones – built-in, 1/8 inch, USB, dynamic, condenser. (Samsung USB mic)
  • Garage Band
  • Articulate Presenter
  • Positive Elements of Podcasting: future integration – use audio/video resources again, flexibility for students and faculty, time friendly, green friendly, repeat information, enhancement, transformation, discovery learning, distant students
  • Need to consider how long a podcast runs…chunking content.
  • Visitor lectures…



  • Sat next to Michael Chasen’s father and had some good conversations of the impact of elearning in higher ed, synchronous tools, teaching, etc.
  • Discussed various projects with Szymon Machajewski around new Building Blocks that we would like to develop. From trend data and whos online like functionality via the activity accumulator as well as strategies to link Peoplesoft and Bb Gradebooks.

Keynote: Blackboard’s Next Generation

See: for a series of videos covering the direction of the next generation of learning via Blackboard.

Michael Chasen, Chief Executive Officer, Blackboard
Russ Carlson, President, North America Higher Education, Blackboard

Join Blackboard co-founder and CEO Michael Chasen and Russ Carlson, President North American Higher Education for an update on all the news from Blackboard, headlined by a live preview of Project NG, our multi-release effort to build the next generation of Bb’s teaching and learning platform. With its emphasis on an improved, Web 2.0-sinpired user experience, expanded openness, the best of Blackboard and WebCT and more student-centered tools, Project NG promises to deliver Bb’s most powerful, yet intuitive and easy to use, solution to date.


  • Approximately 1,800 clients and 400 Blackboard staff in attendance at the conference.
  • Opening video like a mac… the old Bb and Project NG.
  • [Michael Chasen]
  • Michael Chasen is on Twitter. – he will twitter while delivering the keynote.
  • Today’s Discussion
  • 1. Evolving Together
    • 2200+ attendees – 28 countries – K12/HigherEd/Corporate/Professional Education
    • How to bring a traditional course… fast forward… support the entire ed experience with technology.
    • eLearning (Academic Suite), Commerce (Commerce Suite), Communication/Connection (Bb Connect)
    • Blackboard Learn | Blackboard Transact | Blackboard Connect
    • New Mexico selected Bb to support K12 statewide
    • University of North Carolina and the NC Community College system announce statewide selection of the academic suite.
  • 2. The Client Experience
    • [Russ Carlson]
    • Advancing e-education initiatives and strategy.
    • Dr. Joel Hartman at UCF – 10 years of assessment data and the impact of student success, satisfaction, faculty and student… need less classroom.
    • Dr. Jon Mott at BYU – Mature deployment, large courses and faculty using Bb, assessment engine used for realtime comprehension and maximize classroom time.
    • Chris Folkerson at ELON – Online courses throughout the summer at-a-distance for student retention, success, less housing needed.
    • SENA – Government of Columbia – Workforce training is delivered through more than 1,000 municipalities with learning labs with satellite.
    • Better Support – Tire 1 support, well trained, tenured support staff, Southerland Global Services. Tire 2 team
    • Expanded Hosting Infrastructure
    • Proactive Client Success Services – AP2 Upgrade Team, Back to School Program, BIE
    • More Community Engagement – CommunityLINK 3,500 global institutions to help clients find each other through profiles.
  • 3. Project NG
    • Another neat apple type video… with the OLD vs new Bb. See:
    • [Michael Chasen]
    • Web 2.0 – Engaging User Experience,
    • Best of Both WebCT and Bb
    • Open Platform
    • Multiyear, multirelease effort. Release 8 Grade Center, SafeAssign, Bb Scholar
    • Release 9 will be the first combined codebase.
    • Blackboard X
    • NG
    • Institutional portal page, prospective students, drag and drop modules, alumni, fully customizable.
    • Bb Themes, Bb classic, Bb Vista, etc.
    • Add modules and tools or even external modules like facebook, other rss feeds.
    • Courses Tab – Dashboard view of all courses, tasks, announcements, calendar, what’s new, aggregated view, subtabs (courses homepage, instructor dashboard, student dashboard).
    • Opened up APIs for Sakai, Moodle so you don’t have to have separate username passwords or whatever backend system that powers their courses… the APIs allow a central access point.
    • Instructor Dashboard – What’s New (discussions, announcements, etc.), Needs Attention (ungraded assignments), Alerts (past due, late homework) – email or sms alerts.
    • Student Dashboard – What’s New, To Do.
    • Course – Welcome to your Course (first time welcome message wizard, tools, buttons, links, textbook content (pre-filled content)
    • Course Homepage – Announcements, course updates, course menu, discussion activity, instructor area = control panel, my groups/student study groups, folders, items, lesson plan, materials, self and peer assessment, video, “edit mode/read mode”, Build/Assess/Communicate/Mashup (YouTube, Digg, Kadoo, TeacherTube, Flickr) and Discover Content(resusable objects via Content System).
    • Items have dropdowns… for quick editing, rubrics, adaptive release, standards can be linked to (Bb will ship with all the state standards and/or add your own standards, teachers can add their own standards and get reports from the system)
    • Quick change of content and course themes (Bb classic, NG, brushed metal, K12, and custom)
    • Drag and drop menu and content items. But the application is still accessible for Section 508.
    • Blogs – Project NG create course level, groups can have blogs, and users can have personal blogs, subscribe to blogs.
    • Journals – One to one dialog and reflection, can exist outside of the course. These tools could be run in Sakai, Moodle.
    • Groups – Dedicated spaces for students, which include group project workflows.
    • Instructor area / control panel – drag and drop reorder, 20 question types, insert visual elements (section breaks, etc.). Evaluation section includes the new Grade Center, “Switch Grade Center” button.
    • Built-in plagiarism detection.
    • K12 lesson plans include standards, lesson time, activities (pre-populated content according to the lesson), assessment procedures, resources and they can be shared between teachers or across the institution.
    • 15 languages are built-in, with a Language Pack Editor
    • Community – social learning spaces (students can create their own groups), Facebook, Merlot.
    • Content – share files, collaborate, virtual hard drive, versions, comments, workflow, institution content area, library rules or policies to manage copyright, double down arrow for quick actions.
    • Portfolio – best of both portfolios, comments, artifacts, reflections, sharing, link to assignments.
    • Outcomes – institutional level assessment, plan/measure/improve at all levels of the institution, survey is deployed from the course but it is viewable by system wide.
    • Scholar – faculty and student connect over resources.
    • Bb Connect – outreach, survey, emergency messaging, target messaging via map or other parameters. [This was sent live to all participants.]
    • Transact – student ID card, students can within a single login, commerce online, balance.
    • Admin – drag and drop modules, eduGarage direct links, behind the blackboard.
    • My Places – quick link to courses.
    • Sync – allowing students to access notifications, alerts, and updates in Facebook. Keeping students informed and engaged.
    • Bb for iPhone – Under development a custom view of Bb courses.
    • Bb for Cell Phones – SMS and other technologies for cell phones will include crisis messaging
    • Bb for MyYahoo – updates inside of Yahoo.
    • Bb for iGoogle – updates inside of Google.
    • Another video…old and new Bb and Sakai and Moodle “friends”.
  • 4. Final Thoughts

Camtasia vs Captivate Smackdown

Patrick Crispen, California State Unversity Long Beach.

  • Bb LS, CS, Community – 9,700 courses per semester, 37,000 users.
  • Presentation available at:

Thursday, July 17

Thursday was the last day of the conference with an entire day of breakout sessions, followed by a closing client appreciation party.

Keynote: Donna Shalala, President of the University of Miami


  • We are all fellow revolutionaries, everyone that is working with Bb is on the cutting edge, we are shaping the university of the future, we are not sure how the journey will turn out
  • Now and in the future we (technologists) have a lot to do with the quality of the education
  • Lead and transform institutions that are not rationale
  • Universities are very complex to lead since there are not as hierarchical
  • Higher ed leadership is not for control freaks
  • Tug boat captains… pulling the huge institution along
  • Harvard dean quoted – changing the curriculum is like moving a cemetary…
  • U of Miami, Bb have been partners since 2000.
  • Donna uses Blackboard as a faculty member. She is using chat rooms, podcastings, discussions, and blogs.
  • Donna uses Bb to transform the class into a “living” document and resource. She doesn’t give student hard copies of course information, syllabi, etc. The students realize that the syllabus may change and it is dynamic.
  • The course is interactive… they are not required to come to class but they never miss a class.
  • Students can be up-to-date easily.
  • Bb allows us to improve the student centered learning goal. Bb allows colleges to be student-centered.
  • Donna has students ask questions online through discussions create a more rich and collaborative face to face sessions.
  • Assessment is a big challenge in higher ed.
  • In higher ed, what we are doing is critical to the country… we need to be creative and willing to change.
  • We need to be on the cutting edge in shaping our institutions, we are challenged to prepare students for their 3rd job, not their first job. Ensuring students can learn to change, adapt, and learn.
  • The test of a great education is whether or not they are prepared for their 3rd job, ability read/write well, adapt, change, work with technology.
  • We are 3 to 5 years away from massive technology adoption.
  • Integration of social networking into educational products.
  • What the students do with each other through blog assignments by correcting each other and make fine tuned adjustments… sort of like a coach. A coach doesn’t worry about the semester, they each day, make small adjustments.
  • The student experience is going to be increasingly team based.
  • Donna’s students send me emails in the middle of the night, I send them back in the middle of the night and the students are shocked.
  • Donna’s central interest in the classroom, and that will be improved with social networking.
  • Institutions will shape the views of themselves using YouTube, MySpace, Facebook. Yale University is an example. This is where students are. Blackboard is integral in helping us get there… to a student centered campus.
  • We are all content producers and publishers.
  • We need more leaders and administrators at institutions IN the classroom, teaching.
  • Hybrid looks likely as the classroom of the future, with the transformation being online resources and connection through Blackboard along with effective face to face professors, lectures, and interactions.
  • Donna says K12 needs to prepare kids for higher ed by using more technology in teaching, interaction, and learning.
  • Using Bb is more than just throwing up your syllabus… as opposed to seeing it as an opportunity to create and interactive and collaborative course.
  • Donna has an iPhone… and is interested in all new technologies. A president’s got to have the gadgets, tools, and technologies that provide modeling, extend leaderrship, connect with students, etc.

iTunes U and Blackboard

University of South Carolina

The team at USC is implementing iTunes U authentication with an established implementation of the Bb LS. This session will showcase integration and offer several possible scenarios that include internal coding solutions and vendor-based or collaborative Building Blocks. Public viewing and private login concerns also will be addressed.


  • USC Podcasting past included a series of web sites without categories.
  • iTunes could offload content and bandwidth from campus.
  • Private and public views of content.
  • Mac use has doubled on campus.
  • Usage reports from iTunes U
  • Access requires iTunes client, however, an iPod is not required.
  • Building Block from Vanderbilt is being used by USC.
  • Credentials – Admin and Instructor (details in PPT)

Exhibit Hall

Client Appreciation Party