This year BbSummit Asia was merged with the eLearning Forum Asia ("eLF2008") and held on 29–30 May in Singapore. Over 140 delegates attended the forum, from mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Taiwan.
Following the success of BbSummit Asia last year, Blackboard was fortunate to be approached by the executives of these universities and invited to work with them to create a single event with a program that would be deeper in subject matter and broader in coverage than either event could have individually.
The theme for the forum this year was "It’s a Small World After All." For details about the program, which focused on online pedagogy and the role of leadership, see the NTU website.
The opening keynote address was delivered by Dr. Xu Erming, a professor of management and the deputy dean for the School of Graduate Studies of Renmin University of China. His presentation was titled "Online Learning Pedagogy: Strategies and Approaches for Effectively Applying ICT to Support Learning."
Dr. Xu was joined by two of our Blackboard colleagues from Cerbibo, our joint venture company in Mainland China: Shao Cheng, VP of Sales and Zhang Hao, marketing manager. At the event Dr. Xu discovered that the Premier Wen Jiabao of China had his own Facebook page, and he was determined to set up his own, helped by Vikki Yip, who recently joined the Blackboard International Marketing group.
I’m very pleased that Blackboard was able to sponsor the forum and help by taking an active role in helping to plan and facilitate at every level:
- Madeline Neylon and Zach Johnson both participated in the program committee to help shape the overall program
- Paul Grist presented the Blackboard NG roadmap – and the excitement around NG was palpable in the room and at the meal breaks
- David Wilson also presented and highlighted how the Blackboard Services teams work with clients to help them succeed in meeting their goals
In an interesting twist on the day, a presenter who was speaking live from Perth, Australia via video-conference dropped off the screen, and a mobile phone was held to a microphone so he could finish his presentation. (A lesson in “Always have a plan B.”)
A half-day leadership seminar followed the main forum. Thirty people participated in the seminar, which was led by Paul Gagnon of NTU and Zach Johnson of Blackboard. The seminar used research conducted by Gordon Freedman to outline five key challenges faced global education leaders.
In breakout groups, participants discussed how these challenges specifically affect their institutions, then verbally reported their findings to the group as a whole, and even recorded and shared their insights using discussion boards.
In the second part of the leadership seminar, participants followed a similar approach to examine and discuss eight critical pathways to successfully overcoming these challenges. Participants seemed extremely pleased with the frank and thorough conversations.
For now, it is on to Korea, where our partner Tomato Systems has organized an eLearning Forum with KUACE (the Korean University Alliance for Cyber Education) this week.