For those that missed the torrent of communication coming out of Blackboard recently, SP6 for Blackboard Learn 9.1 was released last week. As feedback rolls in, we are looking forward to BbWorld 2011, where we will be discussing the new service pack in detail. Traveling to BbWorld this year and looking to learn more about SP6? Stop by the Upgrade Center LIVE, Main Blackboard Booth and/or attend one of our suggested sessions. To highlight two BbWorld presentations that you just shouldn’t miss, make sure to attend “The Blackboard Community Programs That Shaped SP6” and “More, Better Faster – Effective Practices and Training for Administrators Using Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1.” Lingering after these sessions will provide a great opportunity to meet peer institutions who are planning, or already implementing, their installation of SP6. We hope to see you at the Upgrade Center LIVE, Main Blackboard Booth and our suggested sessions. Make sure to ask Blackboard employees about SP6!
Guest post by Paige Brooks-Jeffiers, eLearning Technology Coordinator, Kentucky Community and Technical College System and a member of the Ask Dr. C program, a free question and answer service for Blackboard users. If you teach courses using Blackboard, you are probably aware of the grade center and its functions. For those not familiar, the feature allows instructors to centralize their grading and student assessment digitally, while at the same time, provides students access to their progress on individual assignments in the course. All of this is well and good, but as the educators, we need a tool to help manage not only each individual grade but also to identify students who are falling behind and, sometimes, spot exceptional achievers and encourage them to push even further.
As I help our team prepare for the BbWorld Conference, I’m watching a keynote given by Sugata Mitra from Blackboard’s Teaching and Learning Conference at the University of Leeds. The conversations that stemmed from Sugata’s work have shifted educational policy and even inspired an Oscar winning film (that’s Slumdog Millionaire, btw). As BbWorld draws nearer, excitement continues to build at Blackboard, and the e-learning community at large, for the keynotes, user presentations and workshops that will be hosted this July at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. To get an idea of the increasing buzz, just search the #BbWorld11 hash tag on Twitter or join the conversation yourself. The conference will feature a keynote from Sir Ken Robinson, who, like Sugata, is an international advisor and thinker on educational policy and innovation. For those interested in the future of education, this is a speech you will not want to miss. Still haven’t registered for BbWorld? Do it now, here. It’s the safest bet you’ll ever place in Vegas.
Guest Post by Nancy Webb, Instructional Designer, College of Southern Nevada and a member of the Ask Dr. C program, a free question and answer service for Blackboard users. Often, when we think of online course instruction, and the usage of a Learning Management Systems (LMS) to facilitate it, the usage of a combination of face-to-face and online learning in the same course is overlooked. This latter method of instruction is called hybrid, or blended, learning. In short, a portion of the class is delivered via face-to-face instruction and the rest is done through an LMS, like Angel or Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1. At the College of Southern Nevada, where we run Angel, I encourage our entire faculty to explore the usage of this teaching style.
When Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) set out this spring to upgrade their learning management system from Blackboard Learn™, Release 8 to Release 9.1, they knew that communication with their faculty would be the key to success. So what exactly did they do to get faculty attention during the end of a busy spring semester? The staff at Tri-C’s Office of eLearning & Innovation created a series of animated videos that highlight new features and functionality in Release 9.1 and, at the same time, demonstrate how the new release “fixes” older issues. The aptly named “teasers” spoke to the heart of Tri-C faculty and staff.