The first Blackboard users conference in the Middle East begins today! BbSummit Middle East ’07 is occurring 5–6 September in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
This conference is the first in the Middle East to bring together the CE and Vista user communities with users of the Blackboard Learning System, to network and share best practices, discuss product news and direction, and learn implementation and upgrade lessons and tips that can be brought back to home institutions and enacted immediately.
There will be 33 user presentations, six workshops and a Blackboard Certified Trainer Program. Other program highlights include:
- Opening remarks by His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Education and Chancellor Higher Colleges of Technology
- Keynote address by Michael Chasen, Blackboard President and CEO
- An Executive Forum attended by leaders from higher education institutions
The Khaleej Times online recently reported on the conference and an important development for the Blackboard Academic Suite, which probably will be one of the main topics of conversation amongst attendees: the release of right-to-left language support. Blackboard software now can better serve speakers of Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi and other languages that are read from right to left.
If you’re attending the conference and blogging about your experiences, please let me know at email@example.com. Enjoy the conference!
BbWorld AsiaPac ’07 begins this weekend in the Gold Coast, Australia, with pre-conference workshops from 9–10 September; the first-ever, dedicated Regional Developers Day on 10 September; and the main conference from 10–12 September.
If you’ll be attending the users conference and plan to blog about your experiences, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d like to link to your blog entries here.
While helping to prepare the program guide, I read all the session descriptions for the more than 50 sessions, led by Blackboard users, partners and staff members. Here’s just a sampling of the diverse set of presentation topics:
Miss a presentation during BbWorld ’07? Want to review a presenter’s slides again? Didn’t capture that speaker’s e-mail?
The available presentations delivered during BbWorld ’07 in Boston have been posted to Blackboard Connections. The materials can be accessed once you’ve created a login. And when you’re logged in, simply click on the "BbWorld Presentations Module" to view and download the materials you want.
Presentations are organized by the four conference tracks: Enabling Learning, Connect with Your Community, Managing Your System, and Measuring Outcomes & Student Achievement.
And if you’re feeling inspired after perusing those presentations, why not submit a proposal for BbWorld ’08 in Las Vegas (July 15–18)? The call for presentations is open already!
The Quiet Anniversary
BbWorld ’07 marked the first 10 years of Blackboard as a company, and more importantly the first decade of course management systems being used across campuses, in schools, and by organizations and government agencies. Learning using electronic technology certainly occurred before 1997, but only became systematic and widespread 10 years ago.
Many important accomplishments in the education technology have occurred during those 10 years, and last week the rooms and hallways of the Hynes Convention Center were filled with quiet pride. It was apparent to me that the education technology pioneers, experimentalists and entrepreneurs in attendance had established themselves on their campuses around the world. They and the use of education technologies are no longer considered odd; they are firmly part of the education strategy.
We are on the cusp of further industry advancements in which the traditionalists (the place-based people), those who cannot or will not employ technology to extend, deepen, and make more relevant curriculum, disciplines and community online, are becoming the odd ones out. Unless traditionalists join technology proponents, they are on the verge of becoming the black box technology people we once were seen as.
BbWorld ’07 in Boston was a memorable event for me and, I think, historical when viewed in a larger context. In this post, the first of a two-part series, I’ll share a few key memories:
With 2,500 hundred educators, technologists, vendors and staff in attendance, the annual Blackboard users conference held last week bubbled with activity. The gathering was particularly striking to me because e-Learning experts met and talked in person (exchanging business cards), and attended sessions designed to cover the best uses of the Internet and computers to teach and learn, train, build community, and measure and report outcomes across every sector of education.
Conference attendees included representatives from K-12 schools (some where kindergarteners logon to Blackboard software) to university systems comprised of hundreds of thousands of users with 24×7 access to Blackboard systems, to government agencies that train personnel in war zones. All these users met in Boston to discuss similar goals: accelerating learning, opening access, accounting for progress and improving quality.