It is a question often asked during budget season and all too often, it crops up during a conversation that involves the learning management system. I know, I’ve been there and provided an answer to one of my former provosts. But upon further reflection, did I answer his real question?
As a former head of academic computing, I sought answers to the provost’s value question in data. I tracked adoption and utilization of all services I could measure, and not just the LMS. I cross-correlated computing lab logins with LMS traffic, media classroom use with electronic reserves, bandwidth consumption with faculty digital media support volume, and so on. What the data provided was a sense of return on investment: quantifiable measures that reflected short-to-medium benefit. But in terms of value, the data didn’t get to the heart of my provost’s question.
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.
In case you missed it, Ray Henderson
blogged last week about, reflecting on 2011, looking ahead to 2012 and what we mean by “The Ocho.”
Originally posted on Ray H Blog on January 10, 2012:
Over the course of the year, I enjoy a large quantity of anecdotal feedback on how we’re doing – emails, client meetings, Tweets, etc. – but it’s our client satisfaction surveys that give me the best overall view of our progress. These are the numbers I look at to see how well we’re doing. In the spirit of 2011 review, I’ll share news of the direction in those surveys, alongside a couple of key milestones we reached this year in the digital content and open education areas. I’ll also preview some of the news you can expect from us in early 2012.
Improving the Experience
Since I arrived at Blackboard we’ve made the improvement of our product and service quality a tremendous focus. We needed to be much better in these areas, and we committed a great deal to the effort with more staff, resources and new programs. By far, this has been the biggest priority for us as a company during my time at Blackboard.
To read the full letter, please click here to jump to Ray’s Blog
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
Guest Post by Christopher Tiné, Producer, NBC Learn and EducationNation.com
“Just about every challenge in American education has been met somewhere, by somebody.” – Bill Clinton.
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to hear Bill Clinton speak about education at NBC News’ Education Nation summit
. He spoke with Brian Williams about competitiveness and cooperation, but right at the end as he was wrapping up he made a comment that has stuck with me. He said, “Just about every challenge in American education has been met somewhere, by somebody…why are we so lousy at copying the competition and adapting it to our own circumstances?”
Bill Clinton challenged the audience to look around and see where things were working, and adapt solutions to fit their own educational challenges. NBC Learn and Blackboard have tried to do just that with the Solutions in Action series. So often the focus of the education conversation is on what’s wrong with the system. Solutions in Action is our effort to spend a few minutes shining a spotlight on what’s right in education – thinkers with new ideas, effective solutions, and scalable strategies.