The excitement surrounding this year’s BbWorld Commerce gathering in Carefree, Arizona has now been carried by the several hundred conference participants back to their home campuses.
We experienced perfect weather last week. And the resort in Carefree, located just northeast of Phoenix, provided us with spectacular views and hospitality while 300 or so of us met and shared what is happening on-campus and within Blackboard.
When originally planning this event, and seeing the challenges involved in organizing a huge gathering of Blackboard Vista & CE and Blackboard Academic Suite users in Boston this July for BbWorld `07, Blackboard Commerce President Russ Carlson and the Blackboard Commerce Team decided this year would be a good opportunity to redefine our annual users conference and dedicate it solely to Blackboard Commerce Suite users.
Carefree seemed like the perfect place to return to. This beautiful location, loved by many, was the popular choice to hold the first Blackboard “Commerce Only” user meeting in over six years.
The talents of dozens of clients and Blackboard specialists were shared over the three-day conference. From the opening session retrospective of past meetings to the final big event, a western barbeque cookout that ended in a famous Blackboard dance party, the conference was hailed by participants as a huge success.
After experiencing high-energy presentations and plenty of networking opportunities, participants left Carefree more knowledgeable about our industry and Blackboard’s plans for the future, and with new and innovative ideas to improve their students’ overall experience, build new revenue streams and enhance accountability to the campus community.
During the conference, the unthinkable tragedy at Virginia Tech occurred. Those events brought tremendous sadness to all participants, but I think the ability to talk with our peers, share our thoughts and concerns provided some comfort and clarity for us. Many schools have already begun discussions that ultimately will involve changes to security policies and the strengthening of procedures for every campus department.
The connections made and lessons learned in Carefree last week will certainly be called upon as Higher Ed re-evaluates and changes in response to the Virginia Tech experience.