Hello from Blackboard World, 2015, the annual conference of all things Blackboard. This year it’s being held in lovely (and somewhat sultry) Washington D.C. I hope you are following @WSUCarolyn or @WichitaStateIDT for the up-to-the-minute Tweets and live streaming I’ve been sending your way. We are trying to get you all the information we can so our time and efforts here can be multiplied across the Shocker community.
Today I went to two workshops and the keynote address. The first workshop was sadly a bust (although you might find the white paper associated with it interesting), but the second one dealt with using Blackboard to help foster online community. In fact, many of the ideas shared by Adam Voyton from Willmington University are things that we have in beta at WSU. Soon you will see some new tabs in Blackboard, and we will be pushing fresh and important information to those areas, so watch for it. If one day you log in to Blackboard at WSU and you don’t see your “my classes” area, look up to the tabs and you’ll see where to go. If you would like to see what Wilmington is doing and perhaps make some requests to us, have a look here.
The keynote address (all two hours of it) was really the big event of the day. We were told about some very exciting updates to Collaborate (a product we use at WSU). With it, students and professors will enjoy a more intuitive user interface. I don’t know when we will be adopting the changes on our campus, but keep an eye/ear out for more information and training opportunities. Blackboard is also working on improving ways to foster communication between students and students as well as students and the professor. These new tools are still in beta, but I believe we will appreciate them when they are finalized and made available to us.
I spent some time in the vendor hall tonight, and that was fun. I picked up a LOT of pens to bring back to the people in our IDT shop. If you stop by IDT in the next month, I bet I’ll have a pen for you too. Since I spend a chunk of my time trying to get professors to adopt open educational resources in lieu of publisher-generated materials, I did not pick up any swag at the publishers’ booths. Just so you know, we live our ethics when we are out and about representing WSU to the world.
Keep an eye on this space for more updates from #BbWorld2015!