The energy at BbWorld 2016 is tremendous. Each year, I’m amazed by the passion, optimism and creative ideas I find at BbWorld, and this year is no exception.

The most exciting part of the conference for those of us who work at Blackboard is finding ways to match the energy our customers bring to the event. During Tuesday’s keynote, our CEO Bill Ballhaus made several big announcements that proved to be very popular with the 2000 attendees from 30+ countries who are here in Las Vegas. Those announcements added to the feeling of enthusiasm and positivity at the conference.

Bill told the crowd (40% of whom are attending their first BbWorld) that the highly anticipated Blackboard Learn Ultra experience is now available for production use. Bill and the team also unveiled the groundbreaking Bb Planner mobile app that will give students a new way to plan their educational journeys and prepare for career success. And he announced the availability of Blackboard Predict, our newest analytics technology to help institutions with recruiting, retention and maximizing student success.

During his remarks, Bill also reiterated his focus, and our commitment, to holding ourselves to the highest standards in the industry as we strive to develop best-in-class products, communicate in an open and transparent manner with our customers, and deliver world-class service and support.

This week’s product announcements were just the latest fruits of our labor. As a company that invested $350 million in research and development this year, we never stop ideating and creating. We are committed to partnering with institutions to put meaningful, innovative solutions in the hands of students, faculty and staff.

We’re able to deliver these solutions thanks to the unmatched breadth of our portfolio and our relationships with thousands of institutions, not to mention over 100 million users globally. We garner unique insights from the billions of interactions people have with our technology each year as well as our rigorous-yet-empathetic research process. This allows us to build solutions that other companies simply cannot.

Of course, attendees at BbWorld 2016 hear much more than our latest news. This year’s agenda is packed with 200+ sessions, many of which are led by experts and thought leaders from universities, school districts and Blackboard partners. These sessions cover topics as diverse as blended learning, competency-based education, gamification in education, mobile learning technology, increasing student persistence, and providing greater access to students with disabilities.

If our last day of BbWorld 2016 is anything like the first two, it’s going to be an enormous success. I’m looking forward to the keynote from NASA astronaut Mark Kelly who is sure to have an out-of-this-world perspective on learning! And I’m excited to check out the Dreamit Innovation Hub to learn about hot startups that are disrupting education.

BTW, if you missed Bill’s keynote or other presentations, please check out BbWorld LIVE online at http://bbworld.com/bbworldlive/.

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