This past year has been an extremely positive one for Blackboard. We are changing in a way that’s right for our company and having an impact on the education industry as we’ve renewed our emphasis on innovation and the learner. In recent months, you have seen and heard about this in the creation of Blackboard Labs, the launch of the Bb Store, updates to our learning environment, and our acquisitions of MyEdu and Perceptis. And there is more game-changing news coming out of BbWorld in Vegas this week.

Taking on this work has led us to think, in a broader sense, about what we’re really trying to do as a company. What do we want Blackboard to stand for? How do we achieve that vision? What do we aspire to be? We know we want to improve education and make it better. We knew that in order to do this, we have to create tools and foster ideas that will make learners more successful. And we know that ultimately, we want to have an impact on the world beyond education.

But we realized that if we are going to achieve these goals, we need to be clear about our vision and mission. I don’t want these to live only within the walls of the company or in a vague press release boilerplate. I think it’s important to share them with you, the broader community, so everyone understands what we’re striving for in our work every day. And I invite you to tell us if we aren’t living up to them.

Our Vision: A World Inspired to Learn
We want to have a lasting impact on the world through the work that we do. Inspiring people to learn and to have a passion for life-long learning will not only create a more educated world—it will leave a powerful legacy and a lasting impact on society.

Our Mission: To Reimagine Education
We will challenge conventional thinking and help advance new models of learning. We will create and deliver the technology and services solutions that change the way education is delivered and experienced.

Our new mission and vision is what will guide the next generation of Blackboard. And our new identity is already taking shape. For those of you who are more visual, here is a video to help illustrate the new Blackboard:

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As you can see, we’re not aiming for small changes or little improvements. We want to completely reimagine the educational experience into one that is connected to learners and what they need to be successful, both personally and professionally. We want to work with schools to redesign the way education is delivered and supported.

Answering this mission requires broad, new thinking. It requires big ideas. It requires real innovation. It also requires an environment that brings the industry together in the kind of collaborative way that generates meaningful answers to big questions, like “What’s hype and what’s reality?” “What knowledge and insight do I need to navigate this student-led shift?” “How do I stay relevant in a demanding, digital-native world?” “What does success look like now, and 10 years from now?”

BbWorld has been designed to probe these questions and address the needs of students, faculty, administrators and other members of our industry. I couldn’t be more excited about our together time here in Vegas. Our theme this week is “Reimagine Education” and I hope you will join us in doing just that. Follow the conversation at #BbWorld14. You can find me at @JayBhattTweets.

 

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  • Mark@AUT

    I applaud the comment about leading the student-led change, but when are we going to see Bb develop as a student-centric system? I have been a user/admin/staff developer for the use of Bb since about 1998, and have been crying out for more student autonomy within the Blackboard activity tools. I know we have evolved blogs/wikis/journals, but these are still very much under the control of lecturers setting them up and setting the parameters. There is still no way for students to contribute to course content apart from things like discussion board posts.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Bb has made great strides in many aspects over the past three or four years, but I think there is still a big shift required in opening up access for students to have more power in their contribution to course delivery

  • http://www.etale.org/ Benard Bull

    Mark – I am not sure if I understand the specific types of student autonomy that you are describing, so I would love to learn more about the types of contexts and cases that you would like to support. So, the following comments may miss the mark. I know there is ample room for BB Learn to grow in the area of features that further support and empower student-directed learning, but I see many current and emerging features that do add more of these affordances, things like the features in the grading tool that now allow the course to be set up for peer assessment. In addition to the wiki feature that you mentioned for student shared knowledge creation, there is also the Google Apps integration, allowing for collective essays, individual and small group collective knowledge generation, etc. Then we have the addition of MyEdu, which provides a place for students to collect, curate, and display their work in their way…something that stays when them even after they leave a given institution. Add to that the portfolio, another place where students have a fair amount of autonomy. I also don’t see anything keeping us from experimenting with assigned rights for students in part or all of a given class (unless that something is the set of policies established at at given school). The biggest shift that will support my student-centered learning is the increased openness to integrations. As BB moves more in that direction over the upcoming 12-24 months, I expect to see a myriad of options to further support student-directed learning.