There is less than one month to go until BbWorld Europe kicks off in Edinburgh on Tuesday, May 9. The Blackboard team has been super busy getting everything organized. One of the toughest assignments has been working with the Client Committee to read through the record number of presentation submissions. After much deliberation we believe we have come up with the strongest Blackboard European conference programs ever.
Some of the highlights of this year’s conference will be:
- Fred Siff, VP and CIO at the University of Cincinnati talking about issues CIOs face and steps for addressing them as critical elements in IT strategic planning.
- Gilly Salmon, Professor, University of Leicester giving a keynote about her experiences and research as Professor of e-Learning & Learning Technologies.
- Todd Gibby, EVP of Operations at Blackboard talking about the Blackboard Academic SuiteTM technology roadmap.
One of the most valuable things about conferences like BbWorld Europe is the opportunity for clients to connect with one another in hallways, at birds of a feather sessions, and over drinks. To encourage these opportunities we’ve planned a fabulous evening at Mansfield Traquair, known as the Sistine Chapel of Scotland. This promises to be a fun event in a gorgeous setting.
This year registrations are filling up fast and we’re delighted to have clients from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom attending. We hope to see you in Edinburgh!
Rod Murray, a self-described "longtime Blackboarder" and Director of Application & Web Services at Thomas Jefferson University, wrote recently to let us know about Rod’s Pulse Podcast, an education-oriented podcast he launched last month. ("Pulse" is TJU’s local brand for their Blackboard implementation.)
Rod conducted some interviews at BbWorld ’06, that are now up on his blog, including
- An interview about the Blackboard Content System with Blackboard’s own Peter Van Tienen. Peter is Director of Solutions Engineering here at Blackboard. Before joining Blackboard, he was Director of Academic Technology at Seneca College in Toronto.
- An interview with Wes Barnes, a systems engineer with Anystream, about Anystream’s product, Apreso Classroom. With Apreso Classroom, instructors can capture multimedia lectures and quickly publish them online. Anystream is a member of the Blackboard Developer Network and has integrated Apreso Classroom’s publishing capability with the Blackboard Learning System.
If you’re doing cool stuff related to Blackboard, you can write us and let us know, too.
On Thursday afternoon when Bb World ’06 was over I stood in the San Diego Convention Center and thought about how quickly time had passed. I thought about all the new things I’d learned, the wonderful people I’d met, and the fun times I’d enjoyed.
Looking back on the conference it is hard to say what I enjoyed most because there was so much to choose from but these are some of my highlights:
The Innovation Pavillion at Bb World’06 has over 70 booths and my personal favorite is the Blackboard Building Blocks booth. At the Building Blocks booth we’ve got a couple of demo stations and a Networking Lounge to encourage folks to sit and stay a while, check email and connect with fellow clients. Our ploys for attracting visitors worked and it has been non-stop demo action:
- Malcolm Murray (Durham University) stopped by to show off his Building Blocks Blog
- Mark O’Neill (Dartmouth) also spent some time in the booth talking with Paul Erickson (University of Nebraska – Lincoln) about the Podcast Building Block project from the Open Source Building Blocks developer community.
- No Bb World would be complete without having the team at USF stop by to demo their latest Building Blocks (which they promise to share with the Blackboard community when their pilot is complete).
- Wayne Twitchell (Grinnell College) stopped by to say Hi and ended up doing a bunch of demos. He has done some very cool stuff with the Blackboard Community System. He and Glen Parker (USF) are going to collaborate to see if they can create some Building Blocks to share.
- Matt Elton (VLE Genius) flew in from Manchester at the last minute to network at Bb World ’06.
- Clients from the Netherlands, UK, Australia, and all over the US stopped by to say hello, ask questions, and see demos of various free and open source Building Blocks. Bob Alcorn talked non-stop for hours answering technical questions about APIs, Blackboard software, standards and everything in between.
If you’re here at Bb World ’06 please stop by the booth and say hello!