Hello everyone! My name is Lauren Krznaric and I’m thrilled to be the newest team member on the Program Marketing Team at Blackboard. The Fall is already shaping up to be packed with many great community programs including our Exemplary Course MOOC! I’m excited to also be a part of the Catalyst Awards and Exemplary Course Program. The 2013 program will kick off in early December but over the next few weeks I will be highlighting some of the 2012 winners.
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the 2012 Blackboard Exemplary Course Award Winners, Elena Pravosudova. Pravosudova wears many hats at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) – a school with roughly 18,000 students and 900 faculty. She is an associate professor, an undergraduate advisor, and a University Curriculum Committee chair. The winning course, Principles of Biological Investigations, is a team effort between herself and instructional designer, Alina Solovyova-Vincent. The course also earned one of the coveted six spots for Directors’ Choice for Courses with Distinction.
The National University of Ireland – Galway (NUI Galway) offers a wide variety of academic disciplines to more than 17,000 students. With each passing semester, the university looks for new ways to incorporate technology in an effort to help students with their careers after graduation.
Four years ago, NUI Galway implemented the Blackboard Learn™ platform campus-wide. Staff members quickly began using Blackboard, increasing the appeal of and demand for technology in the classroom. With this increase in usage came other challenges, the biggest of which was managing video on campus. Staff members wanted to use video in the classroom, but the university didn’t have the proper storage capacity.
Imperial Valley College, a member of the California Community College system, has chosen Blackboard Learn as its new learning management system (LMS) for Fall 2012.
The decision comes after a thorough evaluation of alternative enterprise learning systems, and was driven after a comprehensive round of strategic planning at the College.
“We are really striving to be an exemplar among the California Community Colleges,” commented Todd Finnell, Vice President for Informational Technology. “When we sat down to implement our strategic vision for our institution, it became apparent that a review of our current e-Learning systems was necessary.”
Guest blog post written by Siobhan Stynes
Siobhan Stynes is a professor of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Integrated Science at Seneca College in Toronto, Canada. Spending time in the hands-on laboratory as well as in an interactive classroom has enabled Siobhan to re-evaluate the focus and methodology of her teaching, bridging the two learning environments. Her goal is to provide interactive learning experiences for her students so they can work together and develop a deeper foundation in science. Siobhan is on facebook and twitter @siobhanstynes.
Since I started teaching at Seneca College of Applied Arts of Technology in Toronto, Canada back in 2008, I have always struggled in engaging students with their work outside of the classroom. In my integrated science classroom, they were great! They would pay attention, do theoretical problems & calculations and get in to it. But, once the end of class came, the books & laptops were packed up, not to be opened for the purposes of studying science until our next class. When our institution adopted a Wiley textbook with digital content, called WileyPLUS with online homework, assignments, quizzes, tutorials, animations, audio files, students became more engaged outside of the classroom. They were eager for more assignments and more practice on their laptops and iPads (any excuse to use those cool devices, right?).
In his BbWorld 2012 keynote address, Ray Henderson, Blackboard’s CTO and President of Academic Platforms, provided his annual report card on how Blackboard is doing against the fundamentals. Ray gave the Client Support fundamental a check plus, meaning we’re honoring the commitments we’ve made and we’ve made significant forward progress in improving the client support experience. Ray cited our improving close rates (fulfilling a promise from three years ago to bring them up to the level of ANGEL Learning), the benefits of the Upgrade Cohort Program for helping people with change management, and rising client satisfaction scores.
But that’s all our quantitative perspective.
The more important thing is: What do Blackboard clients think from a qualitative perspective? The pervasive opinion that we heard throughout BbWorld is that you agree; Client Support is fundamentally better than it was two or three years ago.