Get to know the Blackboard Learn Experts in preparation for New Orleans.
BbWorld is so jam-packed full of great sessions, discussions, and fun times that it helps to plan ahead a little bit. The Learn team and I thought it would be fun to give you a roster of ‘who’s who’ on the team so that you can locate the right people for your needs at BbWorld. Many of these product experts will be doing cool product demos and min-sessions of favorite workflows in Blackboard Learn (even some future functionality). They will be available at the Blackboard Learn booth for discussions about software or to discuss the Amazon, VW Vans, and how King Edward II lost his wife! Let’s not delay – meet the experts who can give you answers to the questions you have about Blackboard Learn. (In order to not overwhelm you, there will be additional experts introduced in follow up posts – stay tuned)
The following post is from guest blogger, Craig Chanoff. Craig is the GM of Blackboard Student Services.
To say that students today are demanding consumers is an understatement. Studies tell us that 60% of students say school does not meet their technology expectations and even more say higher education doesn’t provide a good value for the money. All institutions recognize that there is a new kind of student, teacher, and parent that we must service today in ways that are beyond current capabilities. When you have constituents that are used to the service levels they get from the Genius Bar at their nearby Apple store, expectations are clearly high. Facing a generation of students who grew up with information at their fingertips is a daunting task. These students have multiple devices and seemingly endless demands. They want to “plug in,” get instant information, and go about their day. When those needs can’t be met they go someplace else. Or they escalate their poor experience using mobile social networking applications to alert their friends and colleagues.
Case in Point: Embry-Riddle Worldwide
I’ve had the opportunity during my career at Blackboard to get to know our clients very well. I learned that just three years ago, the team at Embry-Riddle Worldwide was in this very position. Potential students with a passion for aviation wanted to know more about the programs available to them. They wanted information instantly. Having to wait on hold or in a line to talk to an enrollment or financial aid advisor simply wasn’t acceptable to them. For Embry-Riddle Worldwide, every Monday started with 40+ calls in their support office voicemail box and hundreds of waiting email inquiries. Student demand for information was at an all time high, but the institution’s ability to meet that demand was at an all time low. And the reality is that Embry-Riddle Worldwide was not alone in today’s education environment.
Blackboard Learn’s official release strategy has been to reserve odd-numbered service pack releases to maintenance and patches, but Blackboard Learn 9.1 Service Pack 9 changes up the model a bit. Service Pack 9 includes some features and enhancements that system administrators, other support staff and faculty will appreciate.
These features and enhancements include: support for the Common Cartridge 1.2 standard, a new Administrator Console, security and privacy enhancements as well as an update to the rubric feature.
Common Cartridge 1.2
I’m usually the guy that touts Blackboard’s continual support of LMS industry standards. With this release I’m proud to announce that, as of Service Pack 9, Blackboard Learn will support the Common Cartridge 1.2 standard. Common Cartridge 1.2 allows users to export their course content including Basic LTI integrations and standards aligned content.
Before joining Blackboard, I was a teacher, and it will always be in my blood. That is why I am fascinated with the “flipped classroom.” This model has been around for quite some time, but has people talking. The flipped classroom model has students watch pre-recorded lectures at home in preparation for the next day’s assignments, and then students complete “homework” assignments in-class. Teachers are incorporating technology into their classrooms by compiling pre-recorded lectures online or on DVD’s that students watch on laptops or other devices with internet/DVD access.
Woodland Park High School in Colorado made an important observation that shifted their thinking when they recognized “the time when students really need educators to be physically present is when they get stuck on homework questions and need individual help.” This realization initiated their switch to the flipped classroom model. Not only did it initiate change, but they also have seen a continual increase in test scores since they switched to the model.
Time and resources are growing scarce in K-12 education. Many successful programs are losing budget money and are not getting it back (see these stories about schools in Chicago
, Fort Worth
, and Las Vegas
). These stories are disappointing for teachers, students and families; however, the commonality that unites each article is adaptability. Educators, students, and parents are adapting to their circumstances, no matter how abysmal. How do we keep teachers in their jobs, cut costs of individualized education, and promote student success?
Blackboard has partnered with Learning.com
in order to provide free (and fee-based) education resources to make students more successful without breaking the bank for school districts. A great lesson should be focused on the student. The teacher should have time to teach the class and help with individual students’ needs. We want to focus on student success rather than the amount it will cost. With the new Learning.com content portal building block in Blackboard, educators will be able to teach students by using quality lesson plans from premier providers (NASA, Smithsonian, USA Today…) as well as other educators. Learning.com is happy to share their vast catalog of quality resources in K-12 education with Blackboard Learn. These sources are accessible and easily implemented into Blackboard course plans. What is the point of reinventing the wheel if there are already great educational resources out there?
But the 200,000+ resources aren’t even the best part of the Learning.com building block. The most helpful aspects of the partnership are easy organization, implementation of Learning.com content into course tools, and catered lesson plans for the active learner. Teachers will be able to easily organize numerous lesson plans and information while accommodating the technological needs of students born in the millennial generation. Some of the features that cater to the active learner include online quizzes, multimedia, and textbook content. Educators will also be able to effortlessly track student progress. Find out more about how our partnership with Learning.com
will help students engage in their coursework and give K-12 teachers quality resources for the classroom.