When the Blackboard Collaborate Connections Summit 2011
team began planning for our annual conference this summer in Las Vegas, we held a group brainstorming exercise in hopes of picking the perfect theme. We threw out some fun ideas such as “Viva Collaboration” and “Collaboration: A Safe Bet” and some real clunkers too, like “Cirque du Collaboration.” But after the brainstorming session ended and we had some time to take a step back to truly reflect on the goal of this year’s conference, the real theme hit us like a blackjack savant hits on a 16 – the theme obviously should be one of coming together.
If you find that conversational organization of your email makes your inbox a little easier to deal with, then you likely switched from your previous email client to something like Gmail. If you find that sitting high above the traffic gives you a sense of security and comfort on the road, then you are likely still driving that SUV, even with gas prices rising. If your day begins just a bit more pleasant at the local coffee shop than the more convenient one on your morning route, you are probably still walking that extra block to go there before work, even on a busy day.
It’s been 3 months since I last blogged and a little over 6 months since the merger – I can’t believe it. Time has flown by! In that time we have been busy merging two competitors into Blackboard and executing on the priorities I outlined after the merger:
- Customer experience – Ensuring that our customers continue to have the exceptional client experience that Elluminate and Wimba have always provided.
- United team – Bringing Elluminate, Wimba and Blackboard teams together into a single, cohesive unit so we can carry that high standard of client care forward.
- Product Roadmap – Creating a vision for how our collective solutions come together to help you better engage students to improve outcomes and save time while trimming cost.
Let me share a few recent developments:
Some have said that the sizzle has gone out of the franchise of the Virtual Learning Environment / Course Management System. They’ve held funerals at conventions and proclaimed the death of the franchise; much like the sci-fi geeks said of Star Trek after Star Trek: Nemesis. Yet these old franchises at their essence were powerful and by reconnecting to their original story and “re-booting” they have risen again. If Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and Dr. Who can do it, why not the VLE and CMS.
The acquisition of DimDim this week has set off lots of talk about the importance of Web conferencing and collaboration tools. Salesforce.com will use DimDim’s technology to enhance their Chatter platform. However, DimDim’s current customers will see their access to the service end starting on March 15, 2011.
For educational institutions who had built their courses and business workflows around realtime collaboration using DimDim, this might cause some disruption and Blackboard would like to help. We stand ready to help institutions make a switch to the Blackboard Collaborate platform made up of Elluminate and Wimba collaboration solutions. For those who’ve been using Elluminate and Wimba for a while, you know that we are dedicated to meeting the needs of educators by providing stable solutions that are supported by a clear roadmap and a dedicated team for development.