By Dan Lake, OCM Board of Cooperative Education Services (OCM BOCES)

DanLakeThis will be my 8th BbWorld attendance, and I am more excited than ever. I have always attended and often presented my institution,
OCM BOCES, knowing that my presence was a minority presence. After all, I represented a K-12 community, not previously seated at the front of the bus traveling the virtual learning highway!

But in May this year, with the release of 9.1, the Blackboard K-12 learning solutions team took a front seat, joining its college partners.  The K-12 learning community now has a presence that will be evident as school administrators and teachers across the world realize the immense potential offered by the added features of 9.1.  Finally our K-12 teachers can give our younger students that 24-7 assistance they have been demanding to support their emerging “personal learning networks” (Note the use of that ubiquitous phrase. Tagging anyone?)

This year, my presentation will focus on how to provide authentic learning that goes beyond the “how-to” of using Blackboard to create a managed virtual learning environment. I work in a consortium called a Board of Cooperative Educational Services (a BOCES) in NY 

State.  In some states this entity would be called an “Intermediate Unit.”  No matter the nomenclature, what I will show is how our type of consortium support service can do something many of our higher education partner institutions cannot do easily. We provide a comprehensive course in how-to, but marry this directly to the outcomes of that “technology” training.  What we do is directly link that course to district-level courses that are built by the teacher-students who register into the training, so they can develop an online presence AS they manage the learning of their young students outside the confines of their face-to-face classrooms.   While this is presently a blended learning model, it doesn’t need to be. Our work would support many models, including future virtual high school course development.

Our colleges can’t easily do what we do since the courses developed usually need to be on a server that is outside the local college Blackboard services and under local district/teacher control.  In our consortium model, we can provide this for any in-service school teacher attending our training.  Thus the “how-to” becomes not only a way to introduce skills and measure the teachers’ learning of those skills, but also becomes the basis for their building an authentic environment that can be peer-reviewed, discussed, and analyzed, and be available in the community AFTER the course is completed.

Note this graphic page showing the implementation of this program using the Community System version 8:


Each teacher-student has access to each other’s course as a reviewer/observer. Each course is developed based on the specific teacher’s level or subject.  Each course can be made available in our server’s catalog under the district/building where it should reside.

The interactive tools in the basic training course (Wimba, Discussion Board, Learning Objects’ Blogs and Wikis) were used by the teacher-student participants to review each others’ work, so the interactive components were modeled, practiced, and evaluated.

I will show the outcomes of this spring 2010 course, which had 15 participants. You can see some pre and post course surveys and statistics, along with some direct narrative commentary from the participating K-12 teachers.

I will also demonstrate how we have migrated this over to the new version 9.1, and incorporated newer tools in that version.  The main menu looks like this for our upcoming fall 2010 offering:


One major addition to this course will be the inclusion of rubric statements taken from the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program (ECP) which provides a means for judging exemplary courses. This new rubric was used to choose exemplary courses which will be viewed throughout a variety of events at BbWorld in July.**  By incorporating these rubric elements, there will be more focus given to the reviewing and commenting of the developing work.  The quality of the outcomes will be more easily seen using this ‘lens’.

Here is a sample page from the new course that includes ECP rubric language:


Along with this part of my presentation, I will show how we have created a companion “ON DEMAND” course that contains many locally-produced screencasts to both supplement and extend the nice On-demand tutorial materials provided by the Blackboard Reference Center and the Blackboard Learn Training Solutions team. 

We have placed these materials in a variety of locations, including the Blackboard 101 course itself, YouTube (with embed code as a mashup), and our own supported streaming video service (again, with embed code).  Some of these links and mashups will be shown as time allows during this session.

So if you are inclined to see how OCM BOCES has created a highly successful professional development program for K-12 teachers, attend my session. 

Join us on the Blackboard “bus” as we move along toward new destinations!

Session Info: 

Title: Blackboard 101 and Moving to Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1 – A K-12 Perspective

Date: July 15, 12:00 – 12:45 p.m.

Room: Sun 5/6

Exemplary Course Program Related Activities:

Title: Pre-conference Workshop – Evaluating Courses for Quality, with Maisie Caines and David Graf

Date: Monday July 12, 1:30-4:00 p.m.  

Room: Emerald 7

Title: Exemplary Course Poster Sessions during the Opening Reception

Date: July 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Room: Exhibit Hall

Title: Excellence in Our Grasp: Using Blackboard’s Exemplary Course Rubric to Develop Local and Regional Communities of Practice, with Mark Burris and Sue Burris

Date: July 15, 9:30-10:15 a.m.  

Room: Tampa 1/2/3 

Title: Beyond the Bells and Whistles – Exemplary Courses and Best Practices, with Deb Everhart and ECP winners Jane Drexler, Sam McCool, Angelica Quiroga and Bill Ventura

Date: July 15, 11:00-11:45 p.m.

Room: Naples 1/2/3

A Catalyst Awards luncheon is on Thursday for those who reviewed or won the awards.

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