I was fortunate to attend an excellent panel discussion at Bbworld a few weeks ago entitled, “How to Build a Virtual School.” The panel was made of up five virtual learning experts, including Tambre Tondryk of Clark County Public Schools’ Virtual High School, Jack Hawkins and Doug Renfro of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools’ Virtual School, and Linda Schriver and Ruth Paine of Clay County Public Schools’ Clay Virtual Academy.
While each virtual school represented came about for unique reasons and through various state legislation, they all have a common denominator: “It always starts from the top.” Every panelist agreed that in order for a virtual school to be successful, the first step is to get buy-in from executive administration. From there, you’ll receive the financial, technological and institutional support required to get your program off the ground and running.
Win a $100 AMEX Gift Card by becoming one of the first Blackboard Sys Admin Superstars!
Did you know? 75% of students use course content from at least one of these four leading publishers: Cengage, Wiley, Pearson and McGraw-Hill. And the way students are consuming this course content is dramatically changing. In just the last 4 years, we’ve seen a six-fold increase in digital content sales in education globally and most experts suspect that we are still at the shallow end of the growth curve. Faculty and students increasingly want their course content, assignments and grades built right in to their Blackboard course in order to be more efficient, save time and focus on what is important to them – teaching and learning.
And YOU have the ability to make this digital content readily available to those who need it most this fall! With the publisher building blocks, faculty will have an opportunity to integrate digital content from Higher Ed’s leading publishers in to their fall courses. When you download these building blocks, we know you will be dubbed as a Sys Admin Superstar on campus and Blackboard would like to make sure you are recognized as a superstar and MORE!
To become a Blackboard Sys Admin Superstar and win $100, all you need to do is download and install at least 3 of this fall’s hottest Blackboard building blocks from our partner publishers: Cengage, Wiley, Pearson and/or McGraw-Hill. Then, fill out your name and email address here. The first 25 superstars will be awarded a $100 AMEX gift card because here at Blackboard – we know everyone in education is busy this time of year. And that’s not all! We will also celebrate your superstardom on the Twitter-sphere so that you are recognized by all of your peers! So make sure to follow our Blackboard blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Official contest rules can be found here.
Want more details on how to become a Blackboard Sys Admin Superstar? Follow these steps:
Guest blog post written by Siobhan Stynes
Siobhan Stynes is a professor of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Integrated Science at Seneca College in Toronto, Canada. Spending time in the hands-on laboratory as well as in an interactive classroom has enabled Siobhan to re-evaluate the focus and methodology of her teaching, bridging the two learning environments. Her goal is to provide interactive learning experiences for her students so they can work together and develop a deeper foundation in science. Siobhan is on facebook and twitter @siobhanstynes.
Since I started teaching at Seneca College of Applied Arts of Technology in Toronto, Canada back in 2008, I have always struggled in engaging students with their work outside of the classroom. In my integrated science classroom, they were great! They would pay attention, do theoretical problems & calculations and get in to it. But, once the end of class came, the books & laptops were packed up, not to be opened for the purposes of studying science until our next class. When our institution adopted a Wiley textbook with digital content, called WileyPLUS with online homework, assignments, quizzes, tutorials, animations, audio files, students became more engaged outside of the classroom. They were eager for more assignments and more practice on their laptops and iPads (any excuse to use those cool devices, right?).
It’s hard to believe – but summer is winding down! Still planning how you’ll go active in your classroom? Laying the groundwork for a great new year is important for any age group – but keeping active learners engaged after a summer outside the classroom can be a challenge. Activities that emphasize social learning and other engaging tactics can help keep things moving. Just in case you need some help- here are some lesson plan ideas for digital natives to get you started this fall:
- Make Your Own Lesson Plan. Easing students back into the classroom groove is always a challenge – why not start the year off by showing them that their education is in their hands? Ask them to make a lesson plan that would help show their peers what they learned over the summer. Showing the active learner that you know that their education doesn’t end in the classroom is a great way to encourage them to continue learning from life.
- Focused Small Group Discussion. Since active learners have the world at their fingertips they often have a lot to say about a lot of topics. Break your students into small groups when discussing a topic that is content rich and ask them to brain storm together to identify key points. Encourage them to work together while using mobile devices to provide some supporting material – a perfect way to integrate mobility into the learning framework.
In his BbWorld 2012 keynote address, Ray Henderson, Blackboard’s CTO and President of Academic Platforms, provided his annual report card on how Blackboard is doing against the fundamentals. Ray gave the Client Support fundamental a check plus, meaning we’re honoring the commitments we’ve made and we’ve made significant forward progress in improving the client support experience. Ray cited our improving close rates (fulfilling a promise from three years ago to bring them up to the level of ANGEL Learning), the benefits of the Upgrade Cohort Program for helping people with change management, and rising client satisfaction scores.
But that’s all our quantitative perspective.
The more important thing is: What do Blackboard clients think from a qualitative perspective? The pervasive opinion that we heard throughout BbWorld is that you agree; Client Support is fundamentally better than it was two or three years ago.