Release9.1logo  When Blackboard Learn™, Release 9.1 launched this past spring, we also instituted a new initiative that we envisioned as a way to better prepare our clients for their transition to Release 9.1. The Release 9.1 Upgrade Cohort Program was specifically created and designed to give our clients more guidance and support during their upgrade process. The 12-week long program covered different upgrade planning topics each week. It also provided clients the opportunity to network with others who are moving along a similar path and learn from those who have already transitioned to Release 9.1. The program is facilitated by me in Product Marketing and some of our top Solution Engineers, Matt Davis and John Dennett.

Our first cohort program launched in May 2010 with a hybrid of 99 participants from higher ed institutions, K12 districts and professional education organizations. The program concluded in July 2010. After surveying the participants in the current cohort, 100% of the respondents stated they felt better prepared for their upgrade due to the Cohort program and 100% of the respondents said they would recommend it to a colleague.

L&Clogo A recent participant, Annette Ingram, the Internet Course Administrator at Lewis & Clark Community College who upgraded from CE 4.1 to Release 9.1 had this to say about the program: 

“The 9.1 Cohort Program is a great way to connect with other institutions that are live, piloting or preparing to upgrade to 9.1. As a participant in the program, I was able to learn a lot more about some of the challenges, issues and successes that others are facing and we shared information with each other. We talked about everything from installation, transition, student and faculty training and communication and problems encountered along the way. We got to see and hear how others are dealing with their upgrades at their institutions and it was nice to hear that others are experiencing similar issues or have similar successes! The Cohort Program helped to build a community for us to reach out to when we have questions. I would highly recommend the 9.1 Cohort Program to any institution considering an upgrade to 9.1!”

BeaverlogoRay J. Schweinberg,
the Ed Tech Coordinator at Community College of Beaver County is planning
an upgrade from Release 7.3 to Release 9.1, had this to say:

“I am confident that being involved in this cohort has better
positioned our institution for the upgrade that is scheduled to go live for the
Spring 2011 semester. Beyond the obvious, having opportunities to interact and
create professional relationships with those representing other institutions,
also having Blackboard professionals present at each session was timely and
invaluable; there was also the unexpected “Goodies”. Receiving up-to-date
information relative to the application and upgrade process directly from the
developers, I feel, cannot be gained in any other way. The discussions were
open and welcoming, insightful and thought provoking, definitely well worth the
investment of time. I personally endorse this initiative and encourage others
to get involved when invited.  Each week I looked forward to attending and
participating and hope to be involved in the future as Blackboard rolls out
later versions.”

Another Release 9.1 Upgrade Cohort is starting in September,
this time geared towards institutions who are upgrading in the December
2010/January 2011 timeframe.  If you are interested in participating in
this free program, please
register here.

If you have any questions about the program, please email

If you are considering upgrading to Release 9.1, visit the Upgrade Center to start

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