To add to my post from yesterday
, Blackboard Collaborate™ Connections Summit is in full swing.
Yesterday was our first day of sessions, which are going great. I’ve heard high praise from attendees on the quality of their peers’ content. Sessions have been jam-packed. One session – by Sandra Mancuso of the University of the Cumberland – was so crowded the events staff had to add an additional 15 chairs.
Valerie Schreiner and Annie Chechitelli gave their product presentation yesterday during which they unveiled and demoed the new Blackboard Collaborate 11
, which combines the strengths of both Wimba and Elluminate in one powerful collaboration platform. Audience reaction was terrific with regular eruptions of applause. One tweet even said, “Either they’re really good actors or this is the best example of two companies coming together.”
And just for fun, and back by popular demand, we added a night of good clean fun to the agenda, with ping pong and air hockey to round out the day.
Keep following along on Twitter with #bbcollab
Yesterday, we kicked off the 2011 Blackboard Collaborate Connections Summit, welcoming both the Wimba and Elluminate communities into one event for the first time ever. The day was jam-packed, our team was all buzzing, and we officially announced the launch of Collaborate 11
– our newest platform for collaboration that combines the strengths of the Elluminate and Wimba products. As you may know, we’ve been talking about this launch for some time since many people have participated in the development of the product over the past 10 months. In fact, during Maurice Heiblum’s afternoon keynote presentation, he noted that 85 institutions helped shape the new Blackboard Collaborate 11 with their advice and feedback.
It’s finally July 11! Just a year ago, Blackboard announced the acquisitions of Elluminate and Wimba. Then in October 2010, at Educause, we told our customers to expect Phase 1 of Project Gemini this summer – a new take at what a collaboration platform focused on all facets of the business of education – teaching, learning, and administration – would look like. It would inherit traits from both Elluminate and Wimba but it would be simpler, it would seamlessly integrate with the core learning management system at an institution, and it would fit the needs of educators rather than educators needing to bend their teaching style to corporate meeting tools.
Guest Post by Jim Wolfgang, University System of Georgia
I am Jim Wolfgang, Director of the Digital Innovation Group. The DI Group is a collaborative effort of the University System of Georgia’s Faculty Development Office and Georgia College. The focus is to “Enhance the Learning Experience
” through the innovative uses of technology. Note that this is not the “academic experience.” We take a comprehensive look at what the opportunities are in the full spectrum of campus activities. Although primarily focused on higher education in the USG, we also work with private institutions, K-12, corporate partners, communities and anyone else with an idea.
A question I occasionally hear is “why can’t we just use our web conferencing service for live online learning?”
The question is certainly a reasonable one. After all, web conferencing services that were little more than teleconferencing with slide push have improved. The good ones even support video, chat, and slide annotation.
But the focus of general-purpose web conferencing is not on learning outcomes. These low cost/no cost on-demand meeting services are built for quick, informal get-togethers. Enterprise-level meeting systems are designed primarily to cost-effectively sell products and services. An educational mission is different. While universities and K-12 schools do have to watch the bottom line, their needs differ from those of commercial sales. Just ask anyone who has both given a sales presentation and stood in front of a classroom.
So just what will make web conferencing work for online learning?