I am a Senior Product Manager here at Blackboard and today I am extremely excited to tell you about our newest product release, Blackboard Drive™! Blackboard Drive is now part of the Content Management Module license and today we are releasing Blackboard Drive for Windows® . Blackboard Drive is the simple, user-friendly way to work with file based content in the Content Management module. I know it is really going to benefit users and the IT staff and I am looking forward to hearing what clients think. Let me begin with why we are launching Blackboard Drive in the first place. The Content Management module can provide users with increased efficiencies through centralized management of content in the learning system and anytime-anywhere web based access. To leverage these benefits at scale you need to overcome the hurdles of user adoption. With Blackboard Drive we think we found the solution. It is simple and intuitive for users (which will drive usage) and provides a more consistent and reliable experience than we were able to achieve with WebDAV or Web Folders.
Recently, I had the opportunity to create a few recorded demonstrations for our Collaborate website. I must be a true Collaborate geek, because I REALLY enjoyed doing it. It will not come as a surprise to those who know me, but I tend to be a bit long winded. I like to talk; I can’t help it. So when I was instructed to make these recorded demos 2 – 4 minutes long I knew it would be a challenge. Luckily, I have incredibly intelligent colleagues who wrote an effective and concise script that helped me get close to the length. In my first attempt, I simply loaded the PowerPoint file and did the demo from scratch. Meaning, I turned on the talk button, record button, launched the desktop share, etc. all manually. That one was 6 minutes. In my second attempt I just talked faster and did the same thing – it was still 6 minutes! What? Are you kidding me? It was not the content that stretched the recording beyond my time limit, as I said the script was built for a perfect 3 minute recording. Instead, what was eating away at the clock was the process of building the recording and simply looking around the UI to find the various menus and actions.
Last week, the Connect team was on-site at Prince William County Schools in Manassas, Virginia to train its users on the new Blackboard Connect 5 interface. We met with administrators and educators from schools and departments across the district to demonstrate the new features and functionality. In the breaks between training sessions, we gathered reactions and received feedback from training attendees.
Last week the K-12 marketing and sales teams delivered an Executive Symposium in partnership with the Cobb County School District, a strategic K-12 client for more than 11 years. The event featured 30+ clients and prospects and more than 30 members of Cobb County’s senior administrative staff. Blackboard organized symposia in the K-12 market have become a successful model for gathering district leaders together for a discussion of top challenges, models for accelerating online learning and how Blackboard’s host of solutions power K-12 educational opportunities. Blackboard officials learned the practical ways school systems use their platform and gathered feedback on what instructional and operational needs will need to be met in the foreseeable future. Representatives and educators engaged students from Allatoona High School Sept. 21, to gain a better understanding of how students perceive and use technology. To read the full recap of the event, please check out this great post on CobbCast.
Why are you here? How did you get here? Since you work together, do you live together? It’s not every Friday that I have the chance to meet with an excited group of first graders with tons of questions about who I am, what I do, and why on earth I would give up my lunch to come and teach them. Fortunately, for five Fridays in May and June, I had the opportunity to be a first grade teacher and play a small role in the education experience of students in my neighborhood. As Blackboard employees, we are committed to getting involved with the education community and giving back, really helping to build a better education experience, around the world and around our neighborhoods. Earlier this year, a group of Blackboard’ers participated in the Greater DC Cares 2011 SERVATHON, the first ever event for the Blackboard Education Corps, a new program that enables every full-time employee to spend a full workday working to improve education in their communities. Check the blog post by Stephanie Weeks and learn about her experience. By stepping out into our local communities, we are broadening our reach and the impact we have in our community.