It’s been a little while since I was here blogging about Scholar and Blackboard Beyond. We’ve been busy talking with folks about social bookmarking in education and getting all kinds of feedback through our open beta. It’s pretty cool to see how schools are thinking about using it in teaching and learning like this briefing paper by Andy Ramsden at University of Bristol. Of course people have started using Scholar too. And what’s a blog post without some inside scoop.
Top 3 Scholar Adopting Institutions
3- Durham University (UK)
2- ROC Midden Nederland (Netherlands)
*drum roll please*
1- Grand Rapids Community College (USA) with over 300 people already using Scholar.
Based on the feedback that we’ve been getting, we’ve got some new features that provide some good shortcuts to do what you want like adding a bookmark view to your Scholar home with one click, or emailing a bookmark to a friend.
But really the thing I’m most excited about is new single sign-on with the wiki. Who gets excited about single sign-on you’re thinking? Me. Because it opens the door to users contributing to the wiki. We’ve set up a new area for Educational Good Practice where people can share what they’ve learned about how to use social bookmarking in an educational setting. It’s also a good place to share campus rollout materials.
That’s enough from me for now. I’ll let you go check it out.
That’s me—Omotayo Collas. Actually, it’s my avatar in Second Life, the massive online social network that enables users “to interact with each other through motional avatars.” In this photo, I’m sitting in a place called Real Life Education in Second Life that provides, as the name suggests: “resources for real-life educators and real-life education in SL.”
Last week we learned about the tragedy on the campus of Virginia Tech, where a shooting claimed many lives. There are simply no words to express the anguish and turmoil the entire Virginia Tech community, and the education community at large, experienced.
Virginia Tech is our neighbor and a client. On behalf of Blackboard, I offer our sincere condolences to the victims’ family members and friends, to the survivors and the larger Blacksburg community.
The strength of the Hokie spirit displayed during this past week—within the personal stories of the victims, during memorial services and candlelight vigils—has moved us greatly. Please know we stand with you in support during this extraordinarily difficult time.
Readers who would like to offer condolences, thoughts and prayers to the Virginia Tech community can do so directly on the school’s April 16 Memorial Website.
I encourage anyone able to offer financial support to visit the Web site for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund. Blackboard will be contributing to this fund and will match donations made by our employees. The fund was created by the university to collect donations in honor of the victims and to assist members of the Hokie community during their healing process.
At Blackboard we enjoy celebrating Halloween and each year we have a party and invite employees to bring in their kids to trick or treat. This year we had more than 50 kids dressed up in all sorts of costumes enjoying a magician, face painting, arts and crafts and more. Here are some photos of our recent Halloween party. Enjoy!
Blackboard rolled into the Big D Monday for the start of the Educause 2006 conference. One of my favorite aspects of Educause is seeing so many of our clients, especially the folks I’ve gotten to know over the past 7 years. It is especially nice when after months or even years of emailing with someone I finally get to meet them in person. With 7000+ attendees and more than 240 exhibitors, there are lots of clients and partners to see.
This year visitors to the Blackboard booth might notice a few new things. Our booth has a new look. We’ve updated our booth and given it a fresh coat of paint. You might also spot the fact that the Bb-ers are wearing bright shades of orange and blue in our booth – a nice change from the white and black shirts from years past. For those folks looking to sit down and chat with us we’ve brought some comfy seats and created lounges in the booth to make it easier to sit and stay awhile.
In the booth we’re focusing on the successes of our clients – how they’re changing the teaching and learning experience using Blackboard. We’ve asked folks to stop by the booth and tell us about their experiences and the outcomes they’ve achieved. Everyone who stops by and tells us their story is eligible to win a video iPod.
If you’re at Educause please stop on by the booth and say Hi!