Guest Post by Alison Marcoff, Assistant Director, eLearning Support & Training, Florida Atlantic University

Are you totally unfazed by the idea of upgrading from Blackboard Learn™ Release 8 to Release 9.1?  Do you think that your faculty will adjust easily and thank you for making their lives easier?   Do you think your life will be stress-free once you make the switch?  If so, then maybe you should just skip this presentation…. No, wait—maybe this presentation is actually perfect for you.  You need a wake-up call!

For me and my co-presenters on this panel, the new interface combined with the new tools and features in Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1 were both exciting and daunting.  All of us are responsible for training and supporting a large number of faculty and students with a relatively small staff and few resources (like most of you, we’re all about doing more with less!).  We realized pretty early on that this was not a change to be taken lightly—it would take a lot of planning and preparation (also lots of coffee, chocolate and whatever else you turn to when over-stressed).  Luckily, Blackboard was there to help guide us with their Upgrade Cohort Program, On-Demand Learning Center, and other useful resources.

We’re doing a panel presentation at this year’s BbWorld for several reasons:  1) we want you to learn from both our successes and failures, 2) we want you to know what we got out of the cohort experience, and 3) we want to make sure you’re prepared and we’re ready to offer you plenty of tips.  This presentation is based on the simple notion that our users don’t mind a few bumps in the road, but they don’t like major surprises.  Toward that end, you need to get ahead of the curve and tell them exactly what to expect so that this upgrade can be a smooth ride.  If you come to this panel session we hope that you’ll take away some clear ideas on developing your upgrade timeline, who to involve in the planning, how to approach testing, training and communication, what you need to do to have a useful pilot group… and more.

Session Details:

Title: Strategies for Minimizing the Bumps and Staying Ahead of the Curve on the Road to Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1

Date: 7/13/2011 4:05 PM – 5:00 PM

Room: Venetian Congress Center – Venetian A

*The next Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1 Upgrade Cohort program begins on May 16. Click to register.

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