Just prior to this year’s EDUCAUSE conference, Blackboard convened a forum of over 70 CIOs and senior technology leaders for a day of open discussion on top issues they are facing in a rapidly changing and challenging environment.  The conversation was driven by peer-led presentations, drawn from a variety of perspectives, from small liberal arts schools to large public institutions and community colleges.

In a session led by Susan Malisch, Vice President, CIO, Loyola University Chicago, and Kara Monroe, Assistant Vice Provost, Ivy Tech Community College, they each shared their keys to success in building alignment between IT and academic leadership at their institutions. It was inspiring to see how great things can happen when there is buy-in for a strategic plan and open communication across departments about how projects are prioritized.

The day continued with John Fritz, Assistant Vice President, Instructional Technology & New Media, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Celeste Schwartz, Vice President for Information Technology at Montgomery County Community College, sharing their approaches to using hidden data to impact student success. They provided insight into where pockets of hidden data can be found and ideas on interpreting the data to make decisions about academic quality and resource prioritization. This led to a discussion about how sharing data with students can impact their success.

We concluded with a discussion about Social Learning, a topic which many in the room and in higher education are grappling with, as they work to meet the demands of a hyper-connected campus community. This is a key area of focus for Blackboard in the ongoing development of the Learn platform. A number of schools are integrating Social Learning techniques and tools to encourage learners to co-create, collaborate and fully participate in their own learning. The group shared their experiences in meeting student demands, addressing concerns with security and managing diverse platforms, and ensuring that Social Learning is tied to academic outcomes.

This was the third CIO forum of its kind. We are creating a strong community of sharing among attendees and are looking forward to continuing the momentum at the next CIO forum, just prior to BbWorld in New Orleans, this upcoming July. If you are interested in attending and would like to share ideas for topics of discussion, you can register here: http://bbworld.blackboard.com/LP=542

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