Last week the IMS Global Learning Consortium
announced its certification of the Basic LTI 1.1 standard, and at this week’s IMS Learning Impact conference in Toronto you’ll hear much more from the standards organization about this new standard. For those of you not familiar, LTI stands for Learning Tools Interoperability. The LTI standard allows for third-party tool providers to easily plug their applications into Blackboard Learn and other learning management systems.
I’m a musician at heart, so when I explain LTI I often use Noteflight
as an example. Noteflight is an online music writing application that lets you create, view, print and hear music notation with professional quality, right in your web browser. Since Noteflight supports the LTI standard, a music teacher can create composition-based assignment and grade the assignment all within Blackboard Learn. That’s just one example! The LTI standard has been used by educators to integrate content from other providers into their courses creating truly rich course content.
At Blackboard we’ve prided ourselves on rapid implementation of IMS standards, and Basic LTI 1.1 is no different. Blackboard’s support of IMS open standards demonstrates a continuing commitment to creating a learning management system devoted to interoperability and openness. We continue to work with the IMS Global Consortium to expand standards support in our software and lead in the establishment of other industry standards.
As the Technical Product Manager for Blackboard Learn
much of the work I do lives behind the scenes and has minimal visual impact on day-to-day Blackboard Learn usage. Today I’m excited to write about the new Visual Text Box Editor (VTBE) and Math Editor which are scheduled for delivery in Blackboard Learn 9.1 Service Pack 10. Upon release, the new VTBE would provide state of the art web-based text editing, while supporting Blackboard Learn™ specific functionality such as mashups! The VTBE and Math editor are used by virtually every person who edits content for use in a course or organization within the Blackboard Learn platform – a big change from features which generally are behind the scenes or only impact our system administrators!
Prior to my starting at Blackboard, when I was a client and administrator, I (as I know many other clients did) held some well-founded criticism toward the ‘old-VTBE.’ It was limited as a WYSIWYG editor and presented difficult troubleshooting scenarios for our help desk. Additionally the Math Editor had compatibility issues which limited its usefulness.
The Product Management team understood these shortcomings and began to work with clients on research and development of a new Visual Text Box Editor and Math Editor. Our clients provided us with valuable input on features that would take the user experience in Blackboard Learn to the next level.
Today, I am happy to say that we plan for the new VTBE and Math Editor to either meet or exceed those requirements. We plan to deliver a vastly improved experience for editing HTML and math equation content within Blackboard Learn.
Continuing Blackboard’s support of industry standards, we are developing the new VTBE on an industry standard for web-based WYSIWYG editors – TinyMCE. The new Math Editor is being developed based on forward-looking technology provided by WIRIS. The VTBE and Math Editor would be bundled and delivered in a way that enables the Blackboard Learn solution to provide maintenance and delivery of new capabilities in future releases faster.
Try it out!
The following post is written by guest blogger Leslie Fetzer, Occupational Course of Study Biology Teacher at North Carolina Virtual Public Schools and the 2012 iNACOL/SREB National Online Teacher of the Year.
I have always been of the mind that giving a textbook to students with the instruction to read is not teaching. This is even truer online. Ebooks have their place, but not as the foundation of a good online course. Online courses should allow students to see, hear, read, and experience content in multiple ways. New Web 2.0 tools are popping up at an exciting pace giving teachers an array of options for presenting content through different media. With so much available, it can sometimes be tempting to search for or buy in to what is already out there, but the truth of the matter is that sometimes what is out there may not be exactly right for the content or for the student. In fact, it can often take longer to search for and preview pre-existing content versus creating your own content personalized for individual students.
Here are just a few tips for developing a good online course:
I met Paul Lefavi at BbWorld three years ago, so it’s only fitting that he would share his reasons for attending BbWorld 2012 with me and the rest of the ANGEL community. Since our first meeting, I have relied on Paul’s perspective many times and appreciate his involvement in the ANGEL community programs. Thanks, Paul, for contributing your thoughts, and I look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!
Guest post by Paul Lefavi, Director of eLearning Technology, Indian River State College
As I make plans to attend BbWorld 12 in New Orleans, I have been asked by a couple of colleagues why I make a point of going to this conference each year. Is it the fun and exciting places, Orlando, Las Vegas, and now the Big Easy, where the conference has been held the past few years? Is it just the allure of getting out of town? While both reasons would most likely crop up in a bulleted list of motives to attend, BbWorld is so much more than a few days away at a fun destination.
I am proud to announce the 2012 Catalyst Award Winners.
The Blackboard Catalyst Awards
honors those who push the boundaries of their educational programs and technology in order to deliver innovative and effective learning experiences. This year we had 61 submissions for the Catalyst Awards and 151 submissions for the Exemplary Course Award. This represented over a 50% increase from last year’s submissions. We changed the award structure slightly; there are Platinum and Gold Winners. For the Exemplary Course Award, there were a total of 37 courses rated as exemplary but 6 winners will be awarded the ECP Director’s Choice for Courses with Distinction.
We are excited to honor the winners and their achievement at the Catalyst Awards luncheon at BbWorld
in July 2012. Please stay tuned as we highlight the individual winners in an upcoming blog series.
And the winner are…