I get excited around this time of year because I know that our annual user conference, BbWorld, is around the corner. Everyone (and I do mean EVERYone) here at Blackboard is working diligently to get things ready. Our customers, partners, and guest speakers are fine-tuning their presentations. It really is exciting.

As a tech guy, I’m of course keenly interested in two things: DevCon and BbWorld’s IT & Academic Tech Track. These address the topics that System Administrators and IT professionals are most interested in:

  • Deeper dives into products and tools
  • Data analytics
  • SIS integrations
  • Best practices
  • Tips and tricks

This year’s Call for Papers was amazing—so many great submissions. I won’t lie—it was tough to decide which ones to move forward with. We used customer feedback as our guide, and I’m thrilled with the line-up we have in store for you this year.

I was asked to distill the list of final sessions even further—a “top 5,” if you will. While I can’t choose favorites, I can spotlight a few sessions with topics that were in high demand, based on customer input:

DevCon Sessions

 “Creating real-world Building Blocks for your institution”

Michael Bechtel, LMS Administrator, Indian River State College

This two-part workshop will help a developer navigate the Blackboard Learn developers’ resources to gather the current correct information needed to get started with building real world example Building Blocks. First, they’ll walk through the basics in setting up the developmental environment. The rest of the session will then focus on building a real world example: IRSC Off Campus Application Process (OCTAP)

“DIY Data Analytics and SQL Runner Tool for Blackboard Learn”

Letitia Andrews, Technical Trainer/Program Manager; Congwu Tao, Learning Management Developer; Corrine Griffin, Learning Management Developer; University of Texas at Dallas

This presentation focuses on the typical usage of database tables in Blackboard Learn 9.1 for data analytics based on their specific requirements — using Blackboard Learn 9.1 for both eLearning and eTraining. They will discuss specific requirements, analyze the major relationships of database tables, retrieve useful information from the key tables, as well as present some examples to display how they utilize what they have found in their own building blocks. They’ll also share their experience for developing a SQL Runner Tool and how to use this tool in daily technical support.

“Blackboard Architect Round Table”

Mike Mast, Senior Director, Blackboard Product Development

Our very own Mike Mast will lead a panel of Blackboard Software Architects to close DevCon 2016. There will be question boxes around the space, allowing for questions to be placed throughout the conference. Attendees are encouraged to submit questions for the team that designs Blackboard products and get answers directly from the source.

BbWorld Sessions

“Increasing technology adoption and optimizing technology investments in higher ed”

Philippos Savvides, Manager of Online Learning, Arizona State University

There are more than 3,000 educational technology products available to instructors and instructional designers to use in their courses. In this session, you will explore the educational technology landscape and have a conversation around the questions below:
– How do we know what products work and in what context?
– How do we work with third-party companies to build educational technology products that benefit students, instructors and the institutions?
– How do we evaluate these products at scale and examine their effect on instruction?
– How do we integrate and increase adoption of these products in Blackboard? 

“From self-hosted to managed hosting migration & planning for SaaS migration”

David Corral, Director of Application Services, California State University, East Bay

California State University, East Bay (CSUEB) has been using Blackboard Learn for more than ten years, experiencing both functional and technical issues. The decision of migrating Learn from Self-Hosted to Managed Hosting was driven by our desire to stabilize the application and to provide continual service improvement for students and faculty. Migration started in March 2015 and completed in June 2015. As part of the continual service improvement journey, CSUEB made the decision to start the planning to migrate to SaaS deployment by June 2016. The process and lessons learned will be shared and discussed among panelists and attendees.

These sessions are sure to provide fascinating insights that you can bring back to your institution. Check out other great sessions for DevCon and the IT & Academic Track for BbWorld. We look forward to seeing you.

Join us at BbWorld to learn, connect, and advance the future of education

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