At Blackboard Collaborate, we’re always boasting about our web conferencing software’s ability to foster a live online experience that’s almost as good as being there. But sometimes it’s simply nice to just get everyone together face-to-face. So we were ecstatic to descend upon Atlanta last week for our first-ever Collaborate Now one-day user event where we brought together 100 customers from throughout the Southeast to learn about best practices, tips and tricks, and innovative uses of Blackboard Collaborate. Collaborate Now featured an opening keynote and roadmap presentation, 12 customer and staff-led presentations, an Ask-the-Expert area, a birds-of-the-feather lunch, and unbridled enthusiasm.
Blackboard Collaborate’s VP of Strategy and Operations Annie Chechitelli and VP of Marketing Valerie Schreiner kicked off the day by providing an overview of our platform and roadmap. Between Annie’s jokes about how much she ate for breakfast and planned to eat for lunch, she gave a detailed overview of our global customer base as well as the demographics of the schools in attendance in Atlanta. Val then stepped to the podium to emphasize the fact that the Collaborate product team truly listens to its customers. She initially discussed a slide from 2011 showing what features Collaborate users most requested two years ago, and then wrapped up by showing how those features have all either been delivered or will be shortly – all because of the active, open dialogue between us and our customers.
Now that our Connections Summit 2012 user conference is less than a month away, it’s time to highlight some of the show-stopping presentations on the agenda.
After Blackboard Collaborate President Maurice Heiblum kicks off the conference with his opening keynote on Tuesday July 10, 2012 at 2:05pm in room 394, we all know that the biggest highlight will be the unveiling of Blackboard Collaborate v12 featuring mobility and more! This presentation, by Valerie Schreiner and Marlen Rattiner, will be Wednesday July 11, 2012 at 1:50pm, also in room 394. We strongly encourage attendees of both BbWorld and the Connections Summit to attend so they can all be dazzled by everything coming down the pike.
Immediately following the new product presentation, attendees can learn from five of their peers about the process of upgrading to Blackboard Collaborate from a former Elluminate or Wimba legacy web conferencing product. This upgrade panel will be Wednesday July 11, 2012 at 2:55pm in room 385. At that same time, attendees can attend a Blackboard Collaborate 12 Roundtable for an opportunity to ask the Collaborate Product Management team about v12.
At 4:10pm on Wednesday July 11, 2012 in room 387, join Collaborate Product Advisory Council members Jim Wolfgang (Georgia Digital Innovations Group), Phil O’Hara (Dalhousie University), and Marcel Bechtoldt (UMSL) as they talk about their roles in the advisory group and how customers help drive product development. And on Thursday July 12, 2012 at 10:15am, Rattiner and David Hastie will go in-depth about Collaborate mobile in “Here, There, and Everywhere: Mobilizing Blackboard Collaborate.”
Blackboard Collaborate Connections Summit 2012 Opening Keynote by Maurice Heiblum
Tues July 10 at 2:05pm in room 394
Join Maurice Heiblum, President of Blackboard Collaborate, as he talks about the platform’s most recent year under the Blackboard umbrella. He’ll discuss the launch of Blackboard Collaborate 11, share customer success stories, and give insight into what’s coming down the road.
Introducing Blackboard Collaborate 12 with Mobility and More! by Valerie Schreiner & Marlen Rattiner
Wed July 11 at 1:50pm in room 394
Join Valerie Schreiner and Marlen Rattiner from the Blackboard Collaborate Product Management team as they unveil the brand new Blackboard Collaborate 12 with mobility and more!
Blackboard Collaborate Upgrade Panel
Wed July 11 at 2:55pm in room 385
Unsure about how to upgrade from Wimba or Elluminate Live to Blackboard Collaborate 11 or 12? Listen to our panel of experts as they share their experiences about their upgrade processes.
Blackboard Collaborate Connections Summit Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Client Appreciation Event
Wed July 11 at 6pm at Generations Hall
Join us for food, fun, drinks, and awards at our Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Customer Appreciation Event at Generations Hall during which we will induct the second class of our Blackboard Hall of Fame for Excellence in Collaboration.
Here, There, and Everywhere: Mobilizing Blackboard Collaborate by David Hastie & Marlen Rattiner
Thurs July 12 at 10:15am in room 387
This session will provide a detailed look at our first mobile web conferencing application, as well as how instructors can quickly and conveniently make recorded sessions available to students in MP3 and MP4 formats for viewing from virtually any device.
At the 2011 Blackboard Collaborate Connections Summit, Blackboard Collaborate President Maurice Heiblum kicked-off the event with a keynote speech that focused heavily on theme of togetherness. After all, last year’s user conference was the first time since Blackboard’s acquisition of Elluminate and Wimba in 2010 that both companies and their former customers had come together as one. During his keynote, Heiblum remarked about the surprising ease with which the organizations came together and how the Collaborate team was able to release its new product so quickly. Though that was only 11 months ago, it feels like it could have been 11 years.
What a difference a year makes.
In Heiblum’s next keynote – on Tuesday July 10, 2012 which kicks-off our 2012 user conference – he will touch on the countless changes and improvements we’ve seen since we all last got together. From our newly planned products, to customer satisfaction data and amazing use-case examples, Heiblum is chomping at the bit to share tantalizing tidbits of the past 12 months. But in addition to looking back and our second great year together, he’ll recount our future plans and goals as he paints a vision for where we’re headed – with you, our customers!
Maurice can’t wait to see you on July 10 as he welcomes you to our conference in New Orleans. As we’ve been saying all along, collaboration is music to our ears!
At the beginning of the past school year the New York Times’ Tara Parker-Pope wrote an article
diving into what she argued is one of the biggest shortcomings of school curriculums today: life lessons. The article explores research into what children are actually learning and argues that:
“The ever-growing emphasis on academic performance and test scores means many children aren’t developing life skills like self-control, motivation, focus and resilience, which are far better predictors of long-term success than high grades.”
As summer sets in, it’s worth it to take the time to sit back and evaluate how we can all go about incorporating goals of education for life, and not just for education’s sake, into our daily routine. We already know that modern learners
have different needs and require an atmosphere of engagement, but what else can we do to set our students up for success?
I want you to close your eyes and think back to nearly a year ago—July 2011 to be precise—when we here at Blackboard Collaborate unveiled our brand new web conferencing platform. Based on feedback from then Elluminate and Wimba customers, the new platform improved upon the best of both products. Most notably, our new product’s redesigned user experience made simple things easy and advanced things possible. To this day, Blackboard Collaborate™ web conferencing exceeds Elluminate Live! and Wimba Classroom because it features a new-and-improved user interface, an object-oriented whiteboard that makes sessions more interactive and is interoperable with Blackboard IM, multi-point video that follows the speaker, and tabbed, private, and supervised chat.
While many schools jumped at the chance to upgrade from their legacy products to our new web conferencing capabilities, some have remained reluctant for a variety of reasons. Some schools had other technology initiatives that took priority while others were simply happy with their existing products. So, while there’s no pressure to upgrade to Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing immediately, we think that this summer would be a perfect time for schools to start the upgrade process.