I spent my Junior Year Abroad at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Thinking back to the friends I made, the crazy Aberdonian accent I picked up and the Northern Lights that brightened the long dark nights…my year in Aberdeen was the highlight of my undergraduate years. As a result, I can’t help but smile when I talk to Jerry Dowds on the phone and hear his fabulous Glaswegian accent.
Jan Poston Day: What do you do at Blackboard?
JD: I’m a Solutions Engineer for our European, Middle East and African clients.
JPD: Where are you based?
JD: I’m based in sunny Glasgow, Scotland.
JPD: How long have you been at Blackboard?
JD: I joined the company just over 4 years ago.
JPD: I understand that you won’t be able to attend this year’s Bb World in San Diego. What are you sorry to be missing at this Bb World conference?
JD: Apart from stepping onto the USS Midway, I would have loved the opportunity to meet our fiends from around the globe and to get some insight into some the innovations which are taking place both in the USA and all the corners of the globe. Having covered the EMEA region for a number of years it is always a pleasure to hear about what initiatives are developing elsewhere.
I would very much liked to have attended the keynote by Chris Thomas on using cutting edge technology to revolutionize mobile e-learning. The case study approach to this presentation seems very compelling. Having a Masters degree in Applied Artificial Intelligence I like to keep abreast of new technologies and their application.
Overall though, I think the client focused approach and theme running throughout looks very exciting.
JPD: What kinds of changes have you seen taking place in Education?
JD: Within the EMEA region there has been an amazing development in the industry with some territories within the region now becoming very mature and leading the way globally in some areas.
There has been an emphasis in student centred learning and problem based learning in the last couple of years and the main focus shift, given the maturity and prevalence of e-Learning in some areas, towards content management. We can see the result of this in the number of clients with the Blackboard Content System.
At the moment there is a lot of discussion on developing models for the intra-institutional sharing and development of content and a desire to collaborate with similarly focused institutions both nationally and internationally.
JPD: Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why?
JD: My favourite teacher at school was my English teacher who was great at motivating the class and firing the imagination. This teacher had a project centred approach while providing very observant and constructive feedback.
JPD: Tell us something about yourself that someone might not know from simply reading your resume or professional bio?
JD: I have been moderately successful as a singer and guitarist with a touring indie-rock band. I hope to resume this hobby although the musical output might be somewhat milder by that stage in my life!
I try to keep myself in shape (with limited success) by attending a kickboxing gym twice a week and playing soccer.
Nothing works better for me though than a glass of fine Scottish malt whisky on a Friday night with my old buddies.
JPD: Thanks Jerry! We look forward to seeing you at the Bb World Europe, May 9-10 in Edinburgh, Scotland.