I just moved into a new role at Blackboard, working with clients on the awesome Empower Programs
we have developed to get clients heavily involved in our design and development process. In the last month of 2011, I was lucky enough to work with over 100 Blackboard clients
, partners and developers
as we kicked off our Beta Programs in preparation for the release of our newest software Blackboard Learn Release 9.1, Service Pack 8.
These beta programs are important because they allow us to get feedback on the client’s upgrade experience, test the quality of the installer, as well as help developers and partners test out their building blocks
with the new release – allowing us to help them resolve any issues prior to general availability of the software.
Christie Smith, a Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Director and the Director of Online Course Development, Lone Star College-Online recently chatted with two 2011 Blackboard Exemplary Course Program winners—Dorothy Jones and Gillian McKnight-Tutein. Dorothy teaches for Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia, and Gillian teaches for Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. This was the first time either instructor submitted a course for program review, and they both won! In addition, Gillian participated as a course reviewer to gain experience from the other end of the process.
Both faculty members had their students in mind when they decided to participate in the Exemplary Course Program. Dorothy explained that she was interested in having her course evaluated externally against established standards that indicate “value and quality to potential students.” Gillian’s goal was to receive feedback that would help her to make learning more enjoyable for her students.
When asked what makes their courses exemplary, Dorothy mentioned the overall best practices in course design that were used to redesign her course and the positive feedback she received from her students. She states, “When students enroll in my course, I often hear that it is different from many of the online courses they have taken.” Gillian says her course was built upon the Quality Matters ™ framework, a program similar to the Blackboard ECP that focuses on research-based best practices in course design. View Gillian’s Course Tour
I had the pleasure of speaking with Karen Lynden from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, a 2011 Blackboard Exemplary Course Program winner. As we begin the 2012 Catalyst Awards season
, I thought it was important to hear from the 2011 winners to find out more about what motivated them to enter their course and how the win has impacted their profession. This is the first of a series of blogs from each of the Catalyst and Exemplary Course Award Winners.
Guest Blog Post from Karen Lynden, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
It was an honor to be a recipient of a Blackboard Catalyst award
, and a meaningful professional achievement. I can’t think of a better way to close out my tenure as Distance Education Coordinator and begin my new full-time faculty member role at the college!
When I submitted the course for review
, I did not have an expectation of receiving the award. My goal was to receive feedback and gain ideas toward course enhancement. At the time, I was involved with a college initiative for redeveloping our online course template. If I was going to lead a council that influenced the foundation of our online courses, I wanted to be able to personally demonstrate best practices through the courses I developed and facilitated -AKA “walk the talk.” Though I will never know who they specifically were by name, I really appreciate all of the reviewers’ comments that were returned to me at the end of the review cycle. Their notes reinforced the positives and provided me with new ideas.
The holidays are a wonderful time of the year to take time out of our busy schedules to give back to the community. During the first week of December, a small group from the Blackboard global marketing team spent some time giving back at the Capital Area Food Bank
in Washington, DC. On this cold and rainy afternoon, the
team spent three hours sorting through thousands of pounds of donations – including food and necessities – that are distributed to less fortunate members of the community each day. Many of our gracious colleagues even contributed their own items totaling more than 150 lbs of donations. It was a great afternoon giving our time to an organization that needed the help and truly appreciated our efforts.
Last year, The Ca
pital Area Food Bank distributed 25 million pounds of food and served more than 478,000 people in need across the DC-metro area. Blackboard looks forward to returning to the food bank to give more time to an organization in need.
“These kids that are digital natives – we just need to meet them where they’re at, and the reality is technology is where they’re at.”
, fashion designer, entrepreneur, and founder of Sweat Equity Education
(SEE), an education innovation organization, is working at the intersection of education, workforce development, and entrepreneurship. At SEE, Marc uses the technology that excites kids today and combines it with real-world projects that teach real-world skills. SEE is focused on re-engaging and re-invigorating at-risk students and young adults to help set them on a path for success – in school, in the workplace, or in launching their own businesses.
I had the pleasure of meeting Marc in his New York City office: