As we gear up for BbSummit Australasia, Blackboard is again excited to host – in partnership with James Cook University – a regional Developer Day event. This event is offered at no cost on Monday, 13th September. It’s an opportunity to get answers to your technical questions, updates on recent openness improvements, and guidance on the design of customisations or development projects that you may have in mind.
Having studied abroad at the University of Wollongong, I experienced firsthand the unique characteristics of Australian technical, further, and higher education. In Australia alone, there are over 100 Blackboard developers who have customised their Blackboard LMS in dozens of different ways to meet these unique needs.
While at the conference, explore some examples of what other institutions are doing. Queensland University of Technology is speaking about a Building Block they've developed to auto-provision course content across institutions. University of Santo Tomas will present on enhancements they've made via Building Blocks to enhance the mobile experience and essay marking. There's also a panel session, "Enhancing Blackboard to Work the Way that Your Institution Requires," that will provide multiple client perspectives on how best to develop and implement customisations.
If you are considering a customisation or development project for your Blackboard environment, please consider attending DevDay or speak with me or a fellow Blackboard expert while at the conference. We want to give you the drum on what you need for your project to come good.
The 2010 Blackboard Developer's Conference started early this morning at 8am. We have over 275 attendees, which is the largest DevCon attendance ever! To kick this year's conference off, we invited Anya Kamenetz, a passionate writer from NYC to discuss her thoughts on transforming higher education from her latest book DIY U. Normally, the DevCon keynote is much more technical in nature, but Anya quickly explained that system administrators, developers, and other IT staff have important roles in shaping the minds of faculty and students to understand what is possible from a technology standpoint. These roles are not only important but are growing in influence as technologies are rapidly becoming available and many faculty may not be aware of these new tools to develop more effective learning practices.
Anya's presentation was close to 45 slides and grabbed immediate attention with large images to make her point. She started off by explaining that today's graduation rates at typical 4-year institutions are decreasing and the availability of learning content on the web and tools to socialize on the web are dramatically increasing. This led her into a conversation that universities need to adopt new models of openness to give students more choices to develop their own learning paths and outcomes. The old model of come to a university, get a diploma, and get a job is not working as well as it once did. Today, students go to a university to gain academic information and skills, but they also supplement that learning with internships, mentors, free online learning centers, and help from peers to develop a portfolio of skills that will enable the desired job. Anya then showed off many examples of free online learning opportunities and rich communities of like minded individuals collaborating about their portfolios of work. In closing, Anya urged the audience to all think about how we can increase our graduation rates by adopting and encouraging a more open, flexible learning environment.
It was a pleasure getting to know Anya and learning from her inspiration presentation. Blackboard will continue to develop innovative enhancements for all Blackboard solutions and we will always keep in mind the importance of not only open systems but also of open learning paths.
I'm very pleased to announce that Anya Kamenetz (aka @anya1anya, author of DIY U and journalist for Fast Company will be the keynote speaker at this year’s annual Blackboard Developers Conference. Anya’s keynote will challenge us all with a presentation on the future of the Virtual Learning Environment and Educational Institutions in the world of DIY U and Edupunk. She will share her insights into the learning tools being used by students and instructors in the world of web 2.0 and social networking.
I hope her comments will provide us with some insight challenges and inspiration for members of our community working to develop next generation tools.
When I first joined Blackboard five years ago, I noticed everyone was
talking about "BUGs". Being in software for many years, I thought
that a bug was your run-of-the-mill software glitch. Then I heard about
different types of BUGs – like miBUG, CSBUG or
I even heard that we were actually sending Blackboarders to these BUGs! So I
realized pretty quickly that this was definitely not your typical
"software bug" and I better get to the bottom of this. Lo and behold,
I found out that Blackboard facilitates a plethora of BUGs – which stands for
Blackboard User Groups.
Over the past year, there has been a lot of invigorating conversation about what "openness" means to learning technology. Opinions on the matter are wide-ranging, and here at Blackboard we are focusing now more than ever on creating a learning platform that is easily extended and powerfully interoperable with a wide range of external systems. Whether you are interested in connecting to Web 2.0 sites or authentication and enrollment systems, this year's Blackboard Developers Conference again showcases the maturity and capability of the Blackboard Learn platform through examples from Blackboard's client community.
Topics featured in this year's sessions include open standards, developing mashups, virtualization, performance, CSS/themes, and advanced reporting. This program features 4 tracks, including a refined system administration & integration track, designed to meet the needs and expectations of a technical audience.