Top 5 Blackboard Conference Highlights #BbWorld17

One of the best conferences of the year is the national Blackboard users conference “BbWorld“. This year, the event was held in New Orleans, LA.

In addition to the in person conference, there were also sessions streamed LIVE via “BbWorldLive“. Further, the conference was cohosted with “MoodleMoot” and was proceeded by the largest ever developers conference “DevCon“.

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Pictured Left to Right: Eric Kunnen (associate director, eLearning), Colleen Cameron (systems analyst, eLearning), Szymon Machajewski (affiliate instructor, CIS), Vince St. Germain (eLearning and instructional technology specialist, eLearning)


Highlight #1 – GVSU Professors receive Blackboard Exemplary Course Award

Congratulations to Grand Valley State University’s professors Szymon Machajewski and Cheryl Kautz! These GVSU professors earned recognition from education technology company Blackboard Inc. as recipients of the “Exemplary Course Award” through the Blackboard Catalyst Award program. The winners were recognized during the a special reception at the conference.

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Associate Director of eLearning, Eric Kunnen (middle) receiving Cheryl Kautz’s Exemplary Course Award with Tim Atkin, Chief Client Officer, Blackboard Inc., and Bill Ballhaus, CEO and President, Blackboard Inc. (right)

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Szymon Machajewski, affiliate instructor in CIS, receiving his Exemplary Course Award from Tim Tomlinson, Chief Product Officer, Blackboard Inc.

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Szymon Machajewski, Affiliate Instructor, in the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU received a 2017 Blackboard Exemplary Course Award for his CIS 150 – Introduction to Computing Course

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Cheryl Kautz, Affiliate Instructor, in the School of Computing and Information Systems at GVSU received a 2017 Blackboard Exemplary Course Award for her CIS 238 – Internet Media and Programming Course.

 

 


Highlight #2 – Keynotes and General Sessions

There were a wide array of sessions offered at the conference. Eric Kunnen blogged at the conference, capturing 10 sessions. Here are a few noteworthy keynote sessions:

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  • BbWorld General Session – Thursday’s general session started off with the Catalyst Awards winner presentation followed by Blackboard’s charitable giving program. Then, Dr. Mae Jemison, former NASA astronaut, engineer, physician & education advocate takes the stage to deliver an inspirational keynote address.
  • BbWorld Blackboard Opening Keynote – “Join us as we kick off BbWorld 2017 with Bill Ballhaus, Blackboard CEO and Katie Blot, Blackboard Chief Strategy Officer. Then, hear from lifelong education advocate, and former Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden.”

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  • BbWorld General Session: How to Partner for Success – “Join us in the general session theater as two panels take the stage. You’ll first hear from clients about how they are overcoming challenges around student access and student success. This will be followed by a panel discussion on the intersection between technology, education and policy as we work to understand what the future holds.”

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Highlight #3 – GVSU Staff Presentations

Eric Kunnen, and Szymon Machajewski presented at the conference in the following session:

  • DevCon: Managed Hosting, Does it work? Will I get access to my data? – “University of Illinois at Chicago adopted the managed hosting environment in 2012 and has been successful in important user support improvements and stability of operations. While employing GAs and undergraduate students in the support structure the resolution time for Blackboard tickets was reduced from two weeks to a few hours. Deep integrations have been created for event driven user synchronization. A number of OSCELOT projects are being sponsored and developed in a staging managed hosted system. The experience and collaboration with managed hosted team allowed for strong support of Blackboard Learn adoption on campus. The panel will include representative from Grand Valley State University, where initial deployment to Managed Hosting was later reversed to again become self-hosted.”

Szymon Machajewski presented at the conference in the following sessions:

  • Course Design Patterns: Latent Class Analysis with Opensource BbStats – “Fostering the adoption of teaching and learning technologies requires taking stock of how faculty use the LMS through a process that is reproducible, reliable, and affordable. Studies in student activity patterns, such as the recent Patterns in Blackboard Learn tool use: Five Course Design Archetypes, help us to understand evidence of use. But what about the ways that faculty design courses before any student activity takes place? This session will explore a case study at University of Illinois at Chicago in which course design patterns in Blackboard Learn were derrived using BbStats and Latent Class Analysis.”
  • Gamification in Blackboard Learn – “Gamification is an important movement in business management, but also in higher education.  Projects like the GradeCraft LMS, funded at $1.8 million dollars at U of M, demonstrate that designing student experience in learning is a top priority for major educational institutions.
    • Considering enrollment limitations and changes in population profiles, motivating students into program completion and into high employability STEM programs may provide a competitive edge for academic organizations.
    • Before switching to a fully gamified LMS, faculty, designers, and administrators should consider the capacity in Blackboard Learn  to support gameful pedagogy.  Gamification has the potential to motivate both the students and the faculty, especially in introductory courses.”

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Highlight #4 – Product Roadmaps

In addition to keynotes and general sessions, there were a wide array of sessions offered at the conference. Eric Kunnen blogged at the conference, capturing 10 sessions.

Here are a couple product roadmap sessions from Blackboard, to showcase what is coming in future releases:

  • Blackboard Learn Product Roadmap – “We invite you to join our product management leaders to hear about the short and long term plans for Blackboard Learn. This session will cover both the Original experience (aka Learn 9.1) and the Ultra experience.”

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  • Blackboard Collaborate Roadmap – “We invite you to join our product management leaders to hear about our short and long term product plans for Blackboard Collaborate.”

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Highlight #5 – Watch BbWorldLIVE Session Recordings

There are 9 sessions available to watch on demand through BbWorldLIVE.

Here are a few of the topics:

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