As the U.S. Peace Corps celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, my husband and I were fortunate enough to spend it with our great friend, Sheila, who is now working as the Country Director for the Peace Corps program in Romania. Sheila and I met ten years ago on our flight to Ukraine to serve as Peace Corps Volunteers ourselves. Little did we know we’d be back in the same part of the world a decade later continuing to fulfill the goals of the program John F. Kennedy started half a century ago. For those less familiar with the Peace Corps, it has 3 simple goals: 1. Bringing technical skills to interested countries through volunteer service 2. Promoting a better understanding of Americans in the countries where volunteers serve 3. Promoting a better understanding of other countries and peoples through volunteers
Originally posted on www.rayhblog.com Corporate Update: After months of media coverage about a potential go-private transaction for Blackboard, last week we closed the deal. Blackboard is once again a private company, owned primarily by Providence Equity Partners. Net effect? Our ownership is made up of a much smaller group of people who share a much more closely aligned idea of where we want to go as a company. A First Strategic Impact – Blackboard deepens its K-12 bench: I’ve noted in an earlier post that one of the things that attracted us to Providence was their experience investing in education companies. One area of particular interest to us was Edline, a highly regarded purveyor of K-12 education platforms in use at over 20,000 schools in North America. Our team had actively sought a partnership with Edline to assist us in our own growth in K-12. We’re big fans of Edline’s learning community management platform, and its excellent school portal and parental communication tools. And Providence has been seeking to extend Edline to support more advanced learning management, online collaboration, and mobility support. This is the basis for our first major event as a private company. With assistance from Providence, Edline is now a part of Blackboard and significantly strengthens our K-12 forces and offerings. More importantly, we’ll improve the value of the Edline offering to our K-12 clients sooner and with greater quality than could have otherwise occurred.
Just because a platform is proprietary doesn’t mean it can’t be open, and Blackboard Building Blocks™ are a large part of Blackboard’s openness strategy. Building Blocks give Blackboard Learn users the ability to customize aspects of the user experience to cater to institution-specific needs. Building Blocks have been provided to Learn users through our network of partners and open source developers since 2001. You too can join this dynamic developer community! But, without the right guidance, getting started with Building Blocks development is often a daunting task. As Mike Fudge, one of our presenters at DevCon 2011, noted, “85% of my time was spent looking for resources.” This video will show you all of the resources you need to get up and running with Building Blocks development.
Steeped in technology throughout my career, I came to Blackboard eager to marry my creative and technological sides together into one Technical Product Marketing Manager. As the new guy here on the team, I’ve been trying to come up with some interesting ways to promote Blackboard Learn’s open technology. Since I know first impressions are often the strongest impressions, I wanted to make this post count.
BbWorld in Las Vegas was a whirlwind of activity for Blackboard Clients, Partners and Employees alike. It was extremely difficult to pick a favorite moment out of a week spent at OSCELOT Open Source Day 6.0, DevCon 2011 and BbWorld 2011. There were certainly a few that stuck out. Dr. Chuck’s Blackboard tattoo and Matthew Small in a wedding dress with a Blackboard tattoo of his own certainly made for interesting conversations in the halls of the Venetian. From a Blackboard Partnerships perspective, the announcement of new and/or continued partnerships with all the major publishers, the Blackboard Developmental Education announcement and a new Premier Partner in Kaltura were surely highlights. That said, I am a self-proclaimed computer geek and the Blackboard Sponsor for TechBUG, so I wanted to take a few moments to recap our first meet-up in Sin City.