Earlier this year my colleague Craig Chanoff posted to EducateInnovate about measuring all aspects of our clients’ experiences. This is a big challenge and many of you have asked how we’re going to do this.
One of the first steps we took was to ask a group of our clients from around the world to help us, and with these clients we formed the Client Experience Advisory Group. I asked the members of this group, representatives from K-12, Higher Education and Professional Education institutions to tell us about their experiences as clients – the good, the bad and the painfully ugly. They didn’t hold back.
To the Advisory Group feedback, I added the feedback from Client Support tickets and from Blackboard staff members to get a comprehensive list of areas in which Blackboard needs to work to improve the Client Experience. It was a long and detailed list. So, to figure out where Blackboard should start working, I asked the Advisory Group to prioritize the items in the list. It took a couple of meetings, but together we organized the list into core areas and priorities within them, and defined a baseline set of metrics that we may use to measure progress in each of the areas.
Have you ever written a letter to a company to compliment them or complain? Over the years I’ve written to many companies including Hershey Foods, the Washington Post, local restaurants, and most recently Shutterfly.com. I’ve told them what I’ve liked and would like them to improve and in each case I’ve gotten a response back.
A few years ago I wrote to ask Hershey if they would make more dark chocolate candy. In response they sent me some dark chocolate bars they were testing and asked me for my feedback. Last year when I emailed my unsolicited advice to The Washington Post.com editor he invited me to be on their design committee to evaluate new designs for their website. Two weeks ago when I emailed Shutterfly.com tech support some feedback on new product ideas I soon found myself participating in their new photo gallery social network now in beta.
Why do I do this?
A few weeks ago I was slightly jet lagged but delighted to be stepping out on a crisp December morning to walk from my hotel to the Durham Users Conference. The weather was cold and frost lay thick on the ground but the welcome at the Durham University Business School could not have been warmer.
The theme of this two day conference was Connectivism. A core element of Connectivism is the use of a network, its nodes and connections as a metaphor for learning. Additional principles include that nurturing and maintaining connections across the network is crucial to facilitate continual learning. Also, knowing something currently may not be as important as knowing where within one’s network one can get the information.
Hello World! I have been waiting for this day to arrive for a long time. Why? Because after months of hard work by a dedicated team, today is the day we’re launching EduGarage TM. EduGarage is the new website developed specifically for developers and is the latest release from the Blackboard Beyond Initiative TM.
EduGarage is the home of the Blackboard Developer Network, a community of more than 2000 developers who create and share tools, applications and services for teaching and learning through Blackboard Building Blocks (R), Blackboard PowerLinks TM and Blackboard Language Packs. Now there is one central website for this community to interact and collaborate.
The website is based on the feedback of the developer community. Members said they wanted:
- a site that didn’t require a login and was open to anyone who wants to read information
- a wiki-based site that allowed for easy contributions and editing
- discussion forums where developers can ask questions and search for answers
- a way to connect with other developers to collaborate on projects
- a place to discover and contribute best practices, tutorials, documentation and other technical resources
- a site that was integrated with the Blackboard Download Center and Support Knowledge Bases
- a place to contribute and store sample code and open source code to share with the community
Welcome to EduGarage, a website and a community for everyone that developers can access and add to the content and communication, and then share all of that knowledge and experience with the rest of the education world.
Please visit the site. If you have questions, drop us a line at email@example.com.
If you are in Seattle for the Educause 2007 Conference please stop by the Blackboard booth, see a demo and enter to win a new iPod nano.
Yesterday The Washington Post had an interesting article about how college professors are getting more creative in the way they’re designing courses to engage their students. The article explored how one professor is teaching philosophy with help from episodes of "Star Trek" and another is teaching physics by exploring the physics in the world of Harry Potter. While the article doesn’t mention Blackboard or the Blackboard Greenhouse Exemplary Course Program specifically, the information included in the article covers many of the very points that our Blackboard Exemplary Course Rubric is designed to do.
The freely available Blackboard Greenhouse Exemplary Course Rubric is designed to help instructors create well-constructed courses that engage students in different ways and at different levels. To learn more about the Rubric and download a copy for free, visit the Communities Web site. You might also want to check out some tips for building an engaging course from experts interviewed by The Washington Post.