I attended my first BbWorld last year in Washington DC,
about one month after I learned I would be working at Blackboard and about two
months after the ANGEL/Blackboard merger and the ANGEL User Conference in
Chicago.  Needless to say that first BbWorld was a bit of a
whirlwind.  I was connecting with ANGEL clients, learning all I could
about CE/Vista clients, meeting new colleagues from around the world, and
dancing my way into the early morning.

Much of the discussion that was around me in Washington DC
was about the cultures of the two (now one) companies.  People were
curious if the ANGEL ethos could make its way into the larger Blackboard, and
ANGEL clients were hanging their hope on Ray Henderson.  The two words I
heard most were “cautiously optimistic.”  I also heard about some of the
challenges that clients were facing with Release 9.0 and I heard about “parity”
from the CE/Vista crowd.

This year in Orlando, I felt a real positive vibe around
me.  I heard, both in client meetings and in dinner conversations with my
colleagues, about how things are changing at Blackboard.  We all listened
to Ray’s report on the rising support stats and how Blackboard is delivering
higher quality products, but, even more important to me, I saw clients stand up
at sessions to thank Blackboard for the focus on client needs.  With
Release 9.1, they said, Blackboard not only delivered functionality to help
engage students but also provided many tools they need to upgrade to the newest
release and train their instructors and staff.  In the Client Tools focus
groups I conducted, a client shared that their upgrade to Release 9.1 was the
smoothest they had ever experienced.  Additionally, my engagement with
ANGEL clients was positive as they can see we are working to deliver on what
they need as they look to the future.

So, my second BbWorld was a great one.  It confirmed
for me that bringing together ANGEL and Blackboard has had a positive impact on
education, which is what it’s all about.  And, selfishly, I was thrilled
to see that the work we are doing to support our clients with upgrades is
appreciated.

Whether it was your first or fifth BbWorld event, I would
love to hear what your experience was like. I encourage you to leave comments
below.

I’ll see you on the dance floor in Vegas! 

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  • http://quickeyespeedreading.com Ryan

    My first year of college, my school switched over from BB to Angel. I didn’t know that there was a merger, but from what I’ve heard Angel had a lot more functions that weren’t available on BB.
    Honestly without Angel, I would not have been able to get through college. The notes being posted, schedules outlined, and my entire class roster made school a lot easier than it would have been. I loved the online tests, as well as the ability to send in homework from the comfort of my computer.
    It’s interesting to hear about the entire community of BB/Angel supporters. Meetings all over the country, and I’d assume international events are on the way. Anyways, Vegas sounds like a good time.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/kellyhamilton Kelly Hamilton

    Ryan,
    Hey. Great to hear the perspective of a student. Thanks for the comments.
    Kelly