Just last week I tuned in to HBO to watch the induction ceremony of the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012. Since I hail from Cleveland – the hometown of the Rock Hall – I always try to watch the induction ceremony as it contains a who’s who of modern music history performing numerous classics. As I sat on my couch watching the likes of Donovan, the Beastie Boys, and Guns ‘N Roses perform their celebrated hits from the last 25 years, I couldn’t help but think ahead a couple of months to when we here at Blackboard Collaborate will induct our own Class of 2012.
Now an annual tradition, the Blackboard Collaborate™ Hall of Fame for Excellence in Collaboration
celebrates educators around the world who have shown exemplary innovation and creativity in their use of the Blackboard Collaborate platform. In fact, last year we inducted six schools from across the globe into our hallowed halls.
While there are no specific categories, inductees will have demonstrated excellence at a college, university, district, or school in using Blackboard Collaborate to accomplish any number of the following:
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 Kenneth Rogers. Kenneth has served as the Blackboard Administrator at University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) for the past three years. With over 7 years in the E-Learning Industry, Kenneth has a passion for emerging technologies and seeing how technology can enhance education.
Almost three years ago, I was at Blackboard World in DC with a co-worker when Blackboard Mobile was first unveiled. As soon as we returned to San Antonio, we continued the dialogue with the Mobile team and proceeded with the first phase of UIW Mobile.
A short three months after we signed our agreement, UIW v.1.0 was live in the Apple App Store. Download our app to check it out here: Android: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.blackboard.android.central.incarnate&hl=en Blackberry: http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/6768 iOS: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/uiw/id347428414?mt=8# Others: http://m.uiwtx.edu/
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:
Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference 2012
Last week, I had the unique opportunity to join a large contingent of Blackboard clients and colleagues at the Blackboard Teaching and Learning Forum in Antwerp, Belgium. I arrived on Sunday morning in Antwerp trying to shake off the jet lag (I live 9 time zones away in Portland, Oregon) and enjoyed the sights, sounds and tastes of Antwerp – a beautiful northern European city known for chocolate, strong beer and diamonds.
On Monday I moderated the first ever Blackboard Collaborate Forum and Workshop at this conference. The aim of this session was to provide attendees with a fundamental understanding of the Blackboard Collaborate platform
, hear success stories from a couple of clients, have a go at using the software and of course, ask questions of the team. We had a broad range of attendees – representing Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
In the initial overview session we talked about Blackboard Collaborate’s capabilities and use cases, and we spent a good deal of time talking about LMS or VLE integrations. Blackboard Collaborate provides seamless, open integrations
across all of our capabilities – web conferencing
, enterprise instant messaging
and voice authoring
to enable greater student engagement and expand access to programs for students who may not otherwise be able to attend class. I felt this message rang true with the audience, as many of our European clients are looking for ways to expand the reach of their academic programs beyond the physical bounds of their classrooms.