I came across an interesting discussion on the Educause CIO listserv yesterday, around the topic of how IT can drive innovation. The discussion featured a post from the CIO of Bowdoin College, Mitch Davis…
“For IT to drive innovation, it must first be made a strategic priority by the Trustees, Senior Officers, Faculties and the Institution. This usually starts with the creation of a CIO position that is a Senior Officer, CIO and in charge of creating a culture of technology that spurs on innovation.”
“Scholar? What’s that?" you say. While you were finishing up holiday shopping, Scholar, the first property from the Blackboard Beyond Initiative, went live in open beta. Scholar is a social bookmarking service, customized for education, and integrated with Blackboard Learning System. We launched quietly as most folks were on holidays. We’ve got some plans to make more noise about it later this month, but, as you might expect, attentive bloggers like Scott Leslie at EdTechPost noticed it and started writing about it.
Like Scott, you can check Scholar out at http://www.scholar.com for a little hands-on exploration, and even subscribe to RSS feeds of various bookmark views. But a lot of the cool stuff that’s the "customized for education" part requires a Blackboard Building Block or PowerLink to be installed on your Blackboard Learning System. So since you can’t see it all from the public site, I’ll describe it a bit here.
About a month ago, we convened the Product Development Partners for the first development project of the Blackboard Beyond Initiative. We’ve already covered a lot really useful ground in a relatively short amount of time, including some high level discussions like product strategy and design reviews, right down to individual feature names and other more detailed topics. But some of the most interesting conversations that we’ve had seem to come to the same conclusion of, "we’re not in Kansas anymore". What I mean is that the web properties coming out of the Beyond Initiative are really going to be quite different from prior Blackboard product adoption experiences, and it seems that we don’t fully realize how deeply ingrained expectations may be based on some of those past experiences.
Here’s one example of what I’m talking about.
Hi – my name is Neil Allison and this is my first post to the Blackboard Educate Innovate blog. I joined Blackboard a few months ago as a Director in the Product Marketing Group focused on the upcoming Blackboard Outcomes System.
If you haven’t heard about the Blackboard Outcomes System, you’ll be hearing a lot more over the next few months as we prepare to launch this exciting new solution.
For now, I wanted to pop in on the blog to introduce myself as a new poster and give a quick summary about a thought-provoking seminar Seton Hall University hosted with Blackboard last week on a topic of key concern to our clients – outcomes assessment.
The session took place in the Chancellor’s Suite at the University Center on Seton Hall’s South Orange campus – just 14 miles from New York City in northern New Jersey. Leaders from a dozen colleges and universities in New Jersey and New York joined executives from Blackboard on campus for the discussion.
Like Jan said, I too have always found the fun of Educause to be in catching up with old friends and colleagues. And of course this year was no exception on that front. But what made this year’s conference special for me was that I was finally able to start talking with folks about our plans for the first property coming out of the Beyond Initiative. While we were at the show we unveiled our plans for a social bookmarking service, customized for education, and integrated with all of Blackboard Learning System products. It’s an exciting new way for students, faculty, and staff to find educationally valuable resources on the web.