I am Carrie Singer from Blackboard’s Product Marketing group. I’ve had the pleasure of working for Blackboard for eight years now but my favorite role to date is the one I have now managing the Upgrade Cohort program. I’ve heard from clients that making the transition to Release 9.1 sometimes feels like a daunting task and a complex undertaking. It requires careful planning, preparation, training and timing, the right equipment, the right resources and most of the all, the right kind of support. That’s why we encourage clients who are in the midst of planning their upgrade to join our Release 9.1 Upgrade Cohort program.

It’s a chance to connect with others moving along a similar upgrade path, to share ideas, resources, review upgrade plans and strategies. It provides the opportunity to learn from those who have gone before you, so you can plan more efficiently to better avoid pitfalls, recreate their successes or get ideas for training faculty or implementing a pilot program.  And it’s a direct line to Blackboard experts and resources so you can feel more confident in your understanding of the product, Blackboard’s commitment to quality and knowledge that you have the right tools and support to help make a smooth transition.

Blackboard has created many upgrade related resources to help with the transition, the Upgrade Center, the Upgrade Readiness tool, the On Demand Learning Center to name a few; but, I think one of the best things to come out of the Cohort program is the exposure to the vast array of client-created upgrade resources that are out there. Resources to help train and prepare faculty, for example, Kathy Saville from Marshall University’s created a CE/Vista 8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1 Feature Comparison Chart or John DiGennaro from Baldwin-Wallace College’s Quick Cards. Leveraging these Blackboard and client-created resources can help you save time and costs associated with your upgrade. After all, why re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to?

Upgrade planning and change management can be quite an undertaking, but with the right support and resources, in the end, the results – as seamless and smooth a transition as possible – can make it all worthwhile.

To hear what clients are saying about the Upgrade Cohort, check out this video.  Kelly Dempsey-Little from Skidmore College in NY and Maria Keckler from Shadow Mountain in CA talk about the benefits of participating in the program and how it better prepared them for the transition.

If you’re planning an upgrade this year, I encourage you to join one of our upcoming Upgrade Cohorts. To learn more and register visit blackboard.com/cohort.

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