This week Blackboard’s Commerce Suite team is at the Campus of the Future conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. This conference is a joint effort of The Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers (APPA), the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), and the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP). With 3,600 attendees the place is hopping. We’re looking forward to meeting lots of people to talk about how Blackboard Commerce Suite can enhance campus life.
Working in Blackboard’s DC office is pretty noisy – mainly because most everyone shares an office with one, two, three, and in some cases four people. Conference rooms book up quickly so lots of meetings happen in shared offices, the hallways, and even the Au Bon Pain down the block. As a result it is sometimes difficult to find a large block of quiet, uninterrupted time to completely focus – especially for projects that require writing, creative thinking, and analysis.
This week the Product Development team began a 6 week experiment to try and push back the noise and minimize interruptions so everyone can be more productive.
It was late afternoon on what was a perfect Spring day in Washington, DC – sunny, warm (but not too warm), and no humidity. Inside the office most of us were heads down cranking through work trying not to think of the weather we were missing (and the fact that the patio at Mackey’s Bar next door was probably filling up fast).
Without warning the power went out, strangely, not all of the power. The lights were still on, our phones still worked. Just our computers seemed to be affected. Developers emerged from their offices and conferred with one another trying to assess the situation. With the fine weather beckoning, folks began wondering if there is a rule about how long they have to wait for the power to come back on before they can leave. I thought, is this like the rumored rule about waiting for your professor to show up for a lecture in college?
Just then one developer shouted out, “Sorry everyone it was me. The pizza I was grilling on my George Forman Grill in my office overloaded the circuit.”
Over the past month I’ve been meeting lots of new colleagues as they visit with us in the DC office and at conferences we’re attending together. I have especially enjoyed talking with Estelita not just because she is lots of fun, but also because she has interesting insights into how Blackboard and WebCT software are used by faculty. Estelita has used both WebCT and Blackboard software to teach classes. She presently teaches completely online credit courses in Spanish for the Tennessee Board of Regents RODP program.
There is less than one month to go until BbWorld Europe kicks off in Edinburgh on Tuesday, May 9. The Blackboard team has been super busy getting everything organized. One of the toughest assignments has been working with the Client Committee to read through the record number of presentation submissions. After much deliberation we believe we have come up with the strongest Blackboard European conference programs ever.
Some of the highlights of this year’s conference will be:
- Fred Siff, VP and CIO at the University of Cincinnati talking about issues CIOs face and steps for addressing them as critical elements in IT strategic planning.
- Gilly Salmon, Professor, University of Leicester giving a keynote about her experiences and research as Professor of e-Learning & Learning Technologies.
- Todd Gibby, EVP of Operations at Blackboard talking about the Blackboard Academic SuiteTM technology roadmap.
One of the most valuable things about conferences like BbWorld Europe is the opportunity for clients to connect with one another in hallways, at birds of a feather sessions, and over drinks. To encourage these opportunities we’ve planned a fabulous evening at Mansfield Traquair, known as the Sistine Chapel of Scotland. This promises to be a fun event in a gorgeous setting.
This year registrations are filling up fast and we’re delighted to have clients from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom attending. We hope to see you in Edinburgh!