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!



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.)

Bb Learn Product Roadmap

Brad Koch, Director, Product Management, Blackboard

This session started with a grade report. Bb gave themselves a B+ on features delivered. Here’s an outline of the Service Packs (SP):

SP 6 (June)

  • Automatic Assessment Submission
  • Grading Rubrics
  • New SCORM Player
  • SIS Integration Evolution
  • Institutional Hierarchy
  • Evidence Collection

SP 8

  • Auto Regrade
  • Reporting (Activity and Performance)
  • Course Relationships
  • HTML Editor (Tiny MCE)
  • Negative and Weighted Marking
  • Themes and Course Structures
  • Authentication Updates
  • Easy Edit and Blackboard Drive

SP 10 (2012)

  • LO Repository
  • Individualized Learning

SP 7 (Middle of Traditional Semester) and other odd SP will be for maintenance and enhancements! Some things coming in the “My Blackboard” future:

  • Streams
  • Profiles
  • Social Learning Spaces
  • Presence & Instant Messaging
  • Learning Object Repository (e.g. shared assessment questions)
  • Improvements to Portfolio (e.g. APIs for integration and portability of artifacts)
  • Assessment Updates (e.g. group aware time limits, better question editors, better assessment reporting)
  • Assignment Grading Workflow (e.g. Needs Grading expanded, opening documents in native application and save back)
  • Course Evaluations and Enterprise Surveys
  • Rubric Criteria Aligned to Standards
  • SIS Grade Export
  • Relative Date Management Systems (e.g. changing all due dates by establishing an “offset”)
  • Calendar Updates (e.g. recurrence, due dates connection and exporting)
  • Student Preview and make submissions to the Grade Center
  • API Updates