This week Blackboard interviewed Melissa Stange, a BbWorld 2012 VIP blogger. To say that Melissa wears a few hats would be an understatement. In her day job, Melissa is the Title System Administrator at Shenandoah University where she runs all Blackboard products. In addition, she is working on her PhD in Information Systems Management from Walden University and teaches at Lord Fairfax Community College in the evenings.
Melissa told us she saw the blog contest as an opportunity to challenge herself and take on blogging. She tells her students to blog, and now she knows more about the process. Her blog covers information on BbWorld in addition to must-know cultural knowledge about NOLA. You wouldn’t want to travel down south and forget to eat the official doughnut of Louisiana, would you? Or not know how to pronounce it for that matter (Beignet= Ben YAY). Check out the specifics from the interview below:
Bb: How long have you worked at Shenandoah University?
MS: I have been at SU since May 2009, but I have been teaching on Blackboard since 2004.
Bb: Have you been to BbWorld before? How would you describe your experience?
MS: Yes, this will be my third BbWorld. My first was in Orlando and I also went to the one in Las Vegas last year. It was a crazy week, a complete information overload (in a good way). It is the one opportunity a year to get information from other clients. Then you go back to your school with notes and work off the list for the rest of the year. No one wants his or her organization to be a follower in the education-technology space. You try to make your school or University a front-runner with everything you learned at BbWorld.
Bb: What does being a BbWorld VIP blogger mean to you?
MS: Being a BbWorld blogger allows me to take my relationship with Blackboard and peers [other Bb admins] to a new level. Blogging for Bb pushes me to talk to people, learn more, ask questions in sessions, and communicate for the group’s benefit. Hopefully the blog will share important information that some people may have missed because of competing sessions and other activities.
Bb: What blogs do you regularly read?
MS: Must-reads are Blackboard blogs, George Hoffman, and Dr. Bonk’s class. I incorporate the lessons I learn from these blogs at work. There are creative blogging tips and techniques in addition to lessons about teaching. Blogging is great because everyone is interested in your content rather than every little aspect of your writing. People have been so friendly and supportive in this process.
Bb: What sessions are you most looking forward to at BbWorld 2012? What do you hope to learn?
MS: I am looking forward to so many sessions! The ones I have marked off right now are “How to Make Your Online Course Bloom”, “What can Higher-Ed Learn from K-12?”, and other sessions based around social learning and mobile technology. SU is a very traditional university that wants to become mobile in the coming year.
Bb: What do you think about the shift that is happening in education? How are educators adapting to fit new student demands?
MS: The active learner is a focus topic at SU. We are working on improving our mobile technology. Now that we have Mobile Learn and Mobile Central to keep students connected, students are engaged and participate more in discussion boards. The faculty is also working on ML 3.0 tests. Mobile needs to be more than a discussion. Courses should be entirely mobile-accessible. Individual programs are using various products to improve student use. The SU Nursing Program uses wikis to trade Q&A. There is much more discussion online, where students collaborate with each other and their teachers. After this collaboration, the faculty fills in the gaps during class. Social learning is starting to emerge.
We can’t wait to read more from Melissa next month at BbWorld. Melissa will join us from 4:30-5PM on Wednesday, July 11 in the Social Lounge (in the Exhibit Hall) to talk more about her blogging experience. Please stop by and say hi!