Blackboard’s Teaching and Learning pre-conference events kicked off on Tuesday 14th April in the vibrant city of Liverpool, UK. Every year Blackboard brings together educators, system administrators and teaching and learning professionals to share expertise and knowledge.

This year saw the introduction of the Academy Adoption Day.  Aimed at those who are championing the use of education technology, the purpose of this meeting was to encourage the sharing of ideas on tools that can be used to enable academic adoption and learn from each other about the implementation of Blackboard solutions.

Our own Alan Masson, Blackboard’s Head of International Customer Success, hosted the daylong event, with the aim to grow the group into a thriving community in a similar way that the Developer’s Conference has become a popular ‘band of brothers’.

With a highly interactive approach, the group was given a task to identify key challenges and opportunities for academic adoption and making an institutional impact. How did each of them work across their institutions? How would they go about aligning their role with key agencies to maximise academic buy-in and educational impact?

There are no “one fits all” answers as each institution has its own needs and requirements. However, to help participant identify the best way to address the adoption challenges, Alan introduced the Adoption Enablement Tool Kit, an open source instrument that uses colourful virtual cards to outline educational principles and timelines, suggesting a variety of approaches to be used in different situations and with different stakeholders.

A workshop and an interactive session revealed the audience’s preferences and a glance around the room showed differing views and approaches. All those attending were enthusiastic about finding more ways to use the tool kit, such as within a student focus group or under a time constraint.

The group also saw how Blackboard Learn is used to motivate learning, allowing students to share badges and achievements across social media or on their websites. Verified by the institution these badges, which Alan referred to badges as “recognition artefacts”, can be a useful mean to improve student’s employability. With many departments – in particular HR – stepping away from paper certificates, this new approach may be something more institutions should look at to support digital literacy and demonstrate graduate employability.

Finally, Johan (John) Lindström, a Blackboard Solutions Engineer, took the stage to talk about learning communities – what they are and how to support them.

The positive reaction of the Academic Adoption Day and the interest show by participants bode well for a widespread community in the future and the permanent addition of the event to Blackboard’s TLC conference.

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  • Sharon Flynn

    Where can we get the Adoption Enablement Took Kit? It sounds like a very useful resource