A couple of weeks ago we welcomed hundreds of delegates to the 8th Teaching and Learning Conference at Bocconi University in Milan. We kicked off on Tuesday 21st March with the traditional DevCon and Academic Adoption Day events, which always attract many of our clients to interact with our architects and designers, or to get a deep dive into how to enhance the use of Blackboard across their organisations.

Any client who had the chance to attend TLC before knows that the value of our event is first and foremost to share knowledge and learn from each other. However, TLC is also an opportunity to hear from educational leaders and industry experts, sharing their views and providing interesting food for thought. This year, in the morning of the opening day, attendees were treated to remarks from an esteemed academic, a government official and a renowned edtech blogger.

For Bruno Pavesi, Bocconi University’s CEO, education technology is a means to ensure that students will be able to acquire the digital skills to be ‘job-ready’. That’s why using technology for teaching is paramount, especially for developing stronger links with business and government communities. His comments were echoed by Roberta Cocco, Digital Transformation and Civic Services Councillor for the Municipality of Milan. According to Mrs. Cocco, events like the TLC are very important because learning, teaching and education are key for developing digital transformation programmes, like those being implemented in Milan.

The main keynote was delivered by Eric Stoller, a higher education thought-leader and a blogger for Inside Higher Ed, who discussed how social media could be used to engage students and help them be successful. Social media channels help build campus communities, even if students are never able to step foot on campus, removing silos and enabling knowledge to flow and ideas to spark.

Besides social media, technology at large plays a key role, enabling students to acquire the desired digital literacy & capability, which will make them best prepared for employability. This is why, when it comes to adoption, it is imperative to work with those who find it difficult to leave the comfort of their analogue worlds and help them to use technology in their teaching.

However, according to Eric, technology needs to be used with critical thinking, and going offline, sometimes, is also good, helping maintain the ‘balance’ between the two intertwined worlds.

With more than 60 sessions and keynotes we kept people busy for the whole three days, hearing about engaging students on and off line, supporting teachers to make the best use of technology, or using powerful tools to drive institutional and learner success. Over the next few weeks we will share some of the great stories we heard, so stay tuned to find out more.

At TLC we also offered a deep dive into the latest product launches and solution enhancements, showing the great innovations we have delivered in the last 12 months, most of them inspired by clients’ feedback. As both Bill Ballhaus (our CEO) and Lee Blakemore (the President of Blackboard International) said in their remarks, Blackboard is here to be your partner in change and partner in choice. We want to hear your challenges, so we can support you. We want to be able to engage as a community, by sharing best practices. Your success is our success.

 

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