Last year Blackboard announced Project Caliper, a major research and development initiative to create a product to help academic institutions plan and manage educational outcomes. (And it’s what I spent a good chunk of 2005 working on!) Because the field of outcomes assessment is going to be a continuing focus for Blackboard, we want to provide opportunities for you to learn about it at the upcoming Bb World ’06 conference.
That’s why I’m pleased that, as part of Bb World ’06, Blackboard is providing a series of sponsored workshops on assessment led by Dr. Robert Mundhenk, a leading expert in the field of assessment. Dr. Mundhenk is the former Director of Assessment and Senior Scholar at the American Association of Higher Education. He also spent many years working at Fordham University as an English professor and at Northhampton Community College as an English professor and a dean, director of assessment and vice president for academic affairs.
In his workshop, Dr. Mundhenk’s will present an overview of strategies higher education institutions can use to assess and document student learning for the purposes of improving instruction, facilitating learning, and measuring students’ progress toward institutional and program goals. The workshop is designed for all attendees; no previous experience with formal assessment is necessary. Plus, it’s free and it’s offered four times during the three-day conference.
Oh, and by the way, you’ll be hearing Blackboard talk a lot about assessment in the coming months as we start to roll out more information about the product the Caliper team is building. Traditionally, Blackboard has used the term "assessment" pretty synonymously with the term "testing," but we know that in practice assessment can involve many different approaches to evaluating student outcomes besides tests. So, as a company, we’ve got to get a little tighter in our own use of the terminology. Don’t let us forget that.