eLearning Frenzy

eLearning is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.


Live Blog

BbWorld16 Session Blog – General Session 1

Unveiling Blackboard’s Latest Developments  Ballroom 3:30 – 5pm

  1. Your Needs challenges and opportunities
  2. Uniquely addressing needs
  3. Committement to fundamentals

k12 – engaging families to improve student achievement, different funding models
higher ed – enrollment, retention, ROI, post traditional learner
corporate – addressing skills gap
all of these are different and unique..needs are evolving and changing over time.

Blackboard addressing uniquely – Helping Students Succeed

  • Deliver thoughtful and relavent info across portfolio
  • Breadth and broad reach of portfolio 19k customers, 100 million users, 100 countries
  • Deep insights about world of learner – listening to you, looking at datasets, understanding our users, convert insights into innovations

New Products – Blackboard Planner, Blackboard Advise, Blackboard Predict
Investing 350million dollars into innovation of core teaching and learning products and rest of Blackboard’s Portfolio.

Commitment to Fundamentals

  • Develop and Deliver – established total transparency from scrum teams to Board of Directors (visibility into product development activities), consolidation of strategy, marketing.
  • Support Customers – (operational excellence and improving customer experience).
  • Innovate – investing in innovation at scale…partner that meets your evolving needs
  • Communicate – clear, open and regular communication and that includes listening.


Product Strategy

Portfolio capabilities – learner interacts with admin, support staff, counselors, employers, advisors, classmates, teachers/faculty, parents

Core of student success mission is driving learning outcomes.  Core of Blackboard portfolio is Teaching and Learning products.    2 most prevalent LMSs – Blackboard & Moodlerooms.

Embedded learning analytics, world class collaboration and mobile tools are also part of portfolio.

K12 – parental and community involvement is fundamental to drive student success.

Solution Set of student lifecycle services – Student Account Support, Helpdesk support, retention and enrollment services.

Powerful Insights – Community input, data science and empathetic research

Community of Input – that’s us 19k customers a community of practice, surveys, technical previews, customer research groups, innovative teaching series.

Data Science – John Whittmer “Dr. John” -7 tb of learning data, 1,200 institutions, 35m learners and teachers, 7m courses, 2.7billion Lms sessions – Looking at specific research questions and/or broad trends.  Blackboard doesn’t own data…this is our data.

Collaborate Data – Engagement Metric (across, chat, audio, video, app share) Students can get engagement score.  Session engagement timeline.

Empathetic Research – Matt Franks – We are taking a user-centered approach in designing our emergent products.  Understanding what people do and why do they do it?

Activity Stream – entry point for students in Bb Student and Ultra (came from empathetic research of students.

1 Learn, 2 Experiences, 3 Deployments

Shared code, ultra and 9.1, self-hosted, managed hosted, SaaS

Roadmap – Where we are

  • Quality – hundreds of bug fixes, updated tech, unified code and simplified releases
  • Enhancements – CBE
  • Mobile Support – Bb Student available to all customers, expired by ultra experience avialable now

What’s next with Original Experience of Learn

  • Attendance Record (track attendance within learn – optional provide a grade and export)
  • API Dev Portal – Restful APIs available

What’s next with Ultra Experience of Learn

  • Educator Preview (
  • updates on Ultra
  • granularity of control of ultra adoption




BbWorld16 – Building student connections when teaching high enrollment online courses.

student_connectionsVenetian H
Tuesday 7/12 @ 1-1:50pm

Jody Lester, Associate Professor
Boise State University

Connect students with course and the online environment
Week Zero: Do not assume students will already know how to learn online.  Welcome them to the experience.  Create a warm, supportive environment where they can learn.

  • Direct them to Blackboard Help Documentation for students
  • Send an introductory e-mail through blackboard before class begins.
  • Include a short 5 minute or less video introduction that introduces you and the class, setting a positive tone.
  • Let students know when the course will open (first day of class) and when their first assignment will be posted/due.

Make the course site easy to navigate:

  • Keep the navigation elements simple
  • Use sub-header and divider elements to visually organize the course menu items
  • Use a course banner

Establish predictable patterns: For the student, an established pattern of course activities allows for planning and management of other non-course activities around their online activities.  For the instructor, establishing and communicating a course schedule and pattern of work serves to define the boundaries between the online class and the rest of life.

  • Clearly label content areas, folders and identify the reasons for assignments
  • Provide a checklist for each assignment so that students can clearly identify whether they have completed all the required work (rubric)

Connect the instructor to the students and students to the instructor
Create a “we are in this together” atmosphere:

  • Thank students for questions/suggestions, empower them to help improve the online experience in the course (maybe a survey)
  • Acknowledge that life happens and consider awarding one “late pass” over the semester.
  • Include “what’s in it for me” information in the introductory e-mail.

Get to know students individually and recognize them individually:

  • Have students post about themselves in discussion board/blog posts/introductory activity.
  • Post personal feedback to each student after their introduction.
  • Create a “goes by” interesting tidbits column in the gradebook
  • Keep notes that help you remember each learner’s interests, experience.
  • Construct answer keys/feedback documents that use student answers
  • Name Names: publicly praise exemplary work.  Send personal e-mails, recognizing great work or offering support
  • Sort the “last access” column in the gradebook and send out “I see you working” or “I wonder what’s up” emails
  • One on one communication – individual feedback
  • Sort using ascending and descending feature in Bb Gradebook to send out “I bet you didn’t earn the grade you expected” or “Way to go!” e-mails.
  • Use the “grade questions” option in the gradebook – grade and create feedback/answer key
  • Use “grade history” option to re-use common statements
  • Keep a record of individual contacts-column in the gradebook

Let students get to know you

  • Set the tone with your personal intro
  •  Use video – let them see you
  • Keep it real-we are fallible.  Don’t spend hours re-recording videos if there are minor errors.
  • Post interesting info about your University and your community.

Connect students to other students:

  • Form small groups to build a sense of community
  • Have a clear purpose for group projects
  • Use group tools such as file share, collaborate, email, discussion board
  • Be creative – journal club or group meetings using collaborate

Connect students to the content:

  • Really think about how the Bb assignment and test tools can be used and about how assignments can be modified when used with high enrollment courses.
  • Have Bb grade when possible but consider using at least one instructor graded item for each assignment.
  • Create relevant assignments (focus on learning, not superficial (busy work) activities: Strive to create effective and efficient teaching and learning experiences.
  • Create rubrics for assignments – student can then use rubric as checklist to ensure that assignment is complete and in some cases determine their grade.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel, link to quality resources.  Encourage students to send you links to sites/material they found helpful.
  • Re-use where possible.  Use the “copy” options to copy assignments from one course to another
  • Teach students (video or screen capture) how to see if their assignment was received and how they can view feedback.
  • Post video instructions for various assignments to increase engagement – discuss the previous week, discuss the current assignment and include tips for success.
  • Streamline feedback – use audio/video feedback group answer keys, encourage personal responsibility for checking grades.  Set and publish thresholds for receiving individual feedback.  Use feedback templates.
  • Use the feedback sections in tests to provide feedback – consider including occasional extra credit points
  • Change it up but don’t add several new things at once – remember predictable patterns help
  • Save examples of excellent student work from a previous semester (get their permission to use) so students can see what the assignment might look like.

Take Notes: Over the semester, note what worked well, what needs changes and identify “time drains”; plan ways for dealing with these.  Refining course management should be a continual work in progress.

BbWorld15: Increasing Student Engagment with Digital Badges – Session Blog

Megan Cole – Head of Marketing at Badge Labs
Dr. Melissa Stange – Lord Fairfax Community College
Richard Shelton – Coordinator of Academic Services Northeastern State UniversityDonna Shelton, PHD – Professor of Spanish, Northeastern Oklahoma

Badge Labs – Consulting and Development term for Open Badges

Open Badges Ecosystem:

What are open badges?
Representing skills that are real based on real tasks and work.  Employers are willing to pay for hire for and give credit for real results.

can be used to:

  • recognize learning
  • Assessment learning
  • Motivate learning
  • Study learning

Badge anatomy: name, description, criteria, issuer, evidence, date issued, standard, tags

Badges can

  • capture complete learning path,
  • build maps of learning and pathways & opportunities of more learning,
  • build and communicate reputation & identity,
  • foster an ecosystem that is connected,
  • signal learning to key stakeholders & potential employers.

Building an Open Badges Ecosystem: Openness, Learner Agency, Innovation (Blackboard, IMS Global, Mozilla, Badge Labs, digitalme, Pearson, concentric sky)

We will be at 10million badges issues by 2016.

Lord Fairfax CC Digital Badge Pilot: 1 f2f two online courses 74 students in total, badges & certificates possible, adding a “My Badges” button, Mozilla backpack.

Students didn’t know how badges apply to them after they left college.  Had to educate the students while they educated us.  Credly was more preferred to backpack.  GPAs went up.   Badges were a motivator


– Retention rate went up
– More uploads to backpack if extra credit given
– Increased quality of learning
– increased faculty discussion of badges
– Improved collaboration in online courses
– Expanded learning opportunity – e portfolio
– Provided discussion between curriculum advisors & college
– CBE moving forward got approved
– nationally accredited badge

Lesson’s learned

  • If only content is copied between courses, the trigger rules are lost
  • If content is not included in a copy or export/import achievements are not export
  • select both content & adpative release rules to get copied correctly
  • Bb admins have to set up goals before faculty can add as an alignment to get on goal coverage report
  • Had to add extra content (lecture) to explain badging & badge backpack
  • Takes time to setup initially
  • Learning terminology
  • triggers elements not changeable, recreate
  • No direct path to change rewards

Next Steps

  • Continue data collection
  • expand badges in computer science
  • continue to work with deans for faculty adoption
  • Submit badge research and pilot finding for publication in system journal
  • Assist knowledge to work CBE team to create new national credential badge
  • Develop System-wide badges in conjunction with articulation agreements
  • Work with local industry
  • Continue to participate in the IMS global networking CBE group

Richard Shelton – Northeaster State University

  • Achievements to recognize all learners: students, faculty, staff community
  • First introduced in individual courses
  • In near future expanding to faculty and staff
    – Faculty Professional Development
    – Human Resources Training
  • Continued Education

Use in course projects – series of milestones awards: submissions and completely and grade they received.

used to increase motivation to submit assignments and to improve submission rate

Encourage students who enjoy gamification (used in university studies course)

Positive anecdotal results.

Sequential online instructor training courses – used to promote awareness of badges.

Next Steps:  Moving to University-level achievements.

Continuing education – Police Officers seem to like badges.

Donna Shelton:

CAEP is new version of NCATE -CAPE go throuth SPAs to evaluate various groups

Digital badge use through Blackboard to be implemented in fall 2015 as key element of new program.

New digital badge based assessment eight aligned ACTFL Standard 6, Professional Development, Advocacy and Ethics

Standard 6: candidates engage in ongong professional development opportunities that strengthen linguistic, culture and pedagogical competencies.

– Series of conferences with program faculty (educate about badges)
– Course embedded and extracurricular opportunities to earn badges: 3 badge categories, acceptable performance level: two badges in each category
– Reflection essay in last half of student teaching semester

Badge Types and example Tasks:

Language Proficiency, Cultural Knowledge and Pedagogy


  • help with motivation
  • recognition for extra-curricular activites
  • tracking accomplishments, help with resume
  • educate badge consumers
  • marketing with badge images

Custom achievements, badge icon creation, use Organizations to track across courses, Upgrade will include portfolios that go across courses.


  • students as earners – educating
  • Issuers (faculty) – educating
  • University as issuer – logistics, rules etc..
  • Outside issuers – local industry, cont. ed, professional development, HR
  • School districts as consumers.

BbWorld15: Blackboard Learn Top 10 for Faculty – Things You Can Use Today and What’s Coming Down the Road – Session Blog

Wade WeichelSenior Product Manager
Blackboard INC.

11. Tool Integrations LTI – (Learning Tool Inneroperability) at course level

10. Date Management – the ability to manage due/availability dates across your Bb course on from one page.

9. Student Preview – ability to view your course as student, all the way down to My Grades

8. Bb Grader – iPad app that allows an instructor or evaluator to review submitted assignments.

7. Retention Center – allows faculty to track student risk indicators without difficult setup/configuration.

6. Grade Center – Grade History – track grade center interactions over time

5. Test Power Features (significant digits, test exceptions, Access Log [lets you see in timestamped way that student’s interaction with a test], IP Address Filters (assures integrity in high-stakes testing environment]

4. Authentic Assessment (Large projects, capstone portfolio – complex set of work, direct assessment, generally not an exam.  (extensive feedback)  [Assignment Tool, Portfolio assignments, Wikis, use of Rubrics, SafeAssign, non-electronic observations…]

3. Delegated & Anonymous Grading – good for high-stakes testing for anonymity for delegated graders as well as students, large course section grading of assignments can be distributed.

2. Goal Alignments to Question Items and Individual Rubric Criteria

1. Goals Manager – Mapping Tool – ability to update content alignments

What is Bb Working on?

  • New Student Dashboards (Competency Based Education)
  • Workflow Improvements & Usability (thread navigation in discussion board grading)
  • Simpler posting of grades to the SIS
  • BbGrader grows to BbIsntructor fully fleshed out.
  • Bb Ultra improvements including calculated column formula builder

BbWorld15: Blackboard Collaborate Road Map – Session Blog


David Hastie Sr. Dir. Product Management
Carl Marrelli Sr. Product Manager

**Some these are forward thinking statement and may or may not end up being in the final product.

Collaborate Ultra has been out for a couple of months and the initial feedback has been super positive!

3 objectives in Collaborate redesign:

  • Simple – easy entry into sessions, browser based, sleek intuitive interface
  • Modern – Cutting edge media technology, accessible, Mobile
  • Focused – Designed for education, varied instructional strategies/methods, Deeply integrated with the LMS

Highest level of quality and innovation – enhancements andmaintenance more quickly released with zero downtime

Key Benefits

  • HD Video & Audio Puts you right in the Center
  • A world class user experience to encourage use
  • Supporting Asynchronous learning models, native mp4 recording and playback
  • Web-Based – get started immediately no need for java or downloading launchers.

Available no in all regions and in 26 languages.  Application is responsive adjusts based upon the format of device that you are viewing it on! Also adaptive based on type of content.

Current use Cases:

  • office hours
  • group collaboration
  • teaching & learning

Learn 9.1 – If you use you can use new Collaborate Ultra with B2. New Collaborate B2 Supports session in old and new collaborate experience. Allows for piloting while still using old system.

Chat panels pop out when in use!

Sharing file interface is simple and easy to add and annotate! Several annotation tools with several colors.  Either on top of images or files like powerpoint, pdf, jpg.  Sharing Browser instances as well.  Things you share are easily identifiable.

Records whatever is being actively shared + Audio. Conference members can live-caption or translate a session!

Mobile: Collaborate is directly integrated into Bb Student. Is currently in Beta. Should be available soon.

Collaborate functionality allows for students to be presenters. Moderator can make student presenters as well! Application sharing is so much better.  Moderators can easily stop student sharing.

Future Capabilities:

If you need the alternative to be better than the status quo from the start, you’ll never begin!

  • Mobile experience
  • Polling
  • Feedback Mechanism
  • Breakout Rooms
  • Phone Conferencing – telephony integration
  • Moodlerooms Integration

BbWorld15: Competency-Based Education in Theory & Practice – Session Blog

Dr. Deborah M. Seymore
American Council on Education

Dr. Deborah Everhart

  • Competency-based learning and education defined.
  • Research and enhancing the dialogue.
  • Results

Competency Based Learning

Transitioning away from seat time in favor of a structure that creates flexibility, allows students to progress as the demonstrate mastery regardless of time, place or pace of learning.  Provide flexibility in the way that credit can be earned or awarded and provide personalized learning opportunities – US Dept of Education

Competency Based Education

Is an alternative to the credit hour-based system of credentialing.  Student progressed is based on demonstration of proficiency and/or mastery as measured through assessments and/or application of credit through prior learning.  In CBE programs, time is the variable and student competency mastery is the focus.  in CBE the focus is on academic programs, practices and policies.

Potential benefits of competency based learning:

  • Focus on learning outcomes
  • learning activities and assessments aligned to outcomes
  • credit for prior and experiential learning
  • Motivated and engaged students
  • Efficient, flexible and lower-cost credentials
  • Increased student retention and completion rates
  • Lifelong learners’ portable evidence of learning
  • Employers’ visibility into graduates’ competencies
  • Outcomes-based frameworks for continuous improvement

Join Research –

Mutual interest in:

  • Credit for prior learning and credit mobility
  • serving post-traditional students
  • digital badging and alternative credentials
  • expanding CBE dialogue

Outcomes –

  • Published Clarifying Competency based Education terms – lexicon
  • Leadership roundtables with CBE practicioners
  • Blackboard Blog Series
  • ACE publications
  • Public forum releasing research paper: The Currency of Higher Education: Credits & Competencies

Get Infographic on what CBE looks like from ACE website:

What CBE Looks like.

Clarifying Competency Based Education terms:

94 terms defined:

11 classifications

  • overview
  • competencies & learning outcomes
  • assessment processes
  • evidence of learning
  • Credentials
  • Badges
  • Instructional and Supporting Roles
  • Student Support
  • Regulations & Accreditation
  • Validation

CBE Definitions & Framework – (Focus on institutions and education programs) Competency, Occupational Skills, ONET, Learning Outcomes, Institutional Outcomes, Accreditation Standards

CBE Educational Structures: (Focus on institutions and education programs) Credentialing – Credentials, Certificates & Degrees, Stackable Credentials, Credit for Prior Learning

CBE Educational Structures: Instructional Roles – Instructor, Coach, Assessor, Advisor, Tutor, 360 Help & Support

CBE Federal Regulations and Accreditation Requirements – Attendance, Credit Hour, Seat Time, Title iV, Direct Assessment etc..

CBL learning processes (Focus on Learners & learning processes) – Differentiated Learning, Authentic Assessment, Project-Based Learning, Mastery, Proficiency, Leveling up(motivator).

CBL Badges & Portable Evidence of Learning (Focus on Learners & learning processes) – Badges, Micro-credentials(not explicitly an open badge, small unit of learning), Open badge Standard, Portable Evidence of learning, Badge Backpack, Portfolio, Profile

The Currency of Higher Education: Credits and Competencies

Credit-hour proceesses are likely to remain deeply embedded in post-secondary systems for some time, but there is ample opportunity for innovation with competencies and a parallel and complimentary currency.

Diverse stakeholders – government agencies, educational leaders, faculty, assessors, students, employers are all looking at competencies.

Competencies provide representations of learning outcomes that are more flexible and transparent than credit hours. Competencies are more prone to change over time than fixed unit representation of credit hours.

Implementing CBE practices in credit-hour places in complex.  but if faces fewer barriers and more rapidly provide benefits to a large number of students when outcomes-based approaches are compatible with credit-hour systems and processes.

Students need to know how they can evaluate the quality of CBE programs. Little structure is available to facilitate this.

Employers are key stakeholders in the definition of CBE credentials and credential marketability.

Badges and other micro-credentials can be useful bearers of competencies achieved.

BbWorld15: General Session Learner’s Voices (Panel) – Session Blog

Education is not a given in everyone’s life, but it should be!  Change is needed – we have wide-spread acceptance of this fact.  98% of college/university president said that change was needed and 67% said that the change needed to be disruptive, incremental small change is not enough.

What do learners look like today? How do they behave, and what drives them? Our change needs to be based on understanding the people for whom our education systems exits.

The Changing Leaner –
– number is growing (How Many)- increase of diversity/age etc.. (Who they Are)
– expectations change: driven by technology (enhanced interaction, integrations) (What they expect)

Students expectations of education system:

  • learn from peers as much as intructors
  • career ready prior to graduation
  • Networking opportunities with alumni/employers
    Essential part of college experience should be networking with future employers, at least help in getting interview.
  • Value for money
    Value is created differently for every single student (research experience, ability to transfer credits), lecture versus experience in the field. Debt loads/Cost.  Quit being system-centric and start be learner-centric
  • real life application of learned skills
    More than likely students will graduate high school not knowing how to write a check, a resume, invest in stock market.
  • Credit for their prior experiences
  • high use of technology
  • Guidance for next steps
    Adaptability and flexibility of the institution is key!  Taking courses where they are best offered, if your institution can make recommendations based upon student learning styles.
  • Flexible institutions for non-traditional learners
    (military vets) Competency based learning model is a good fit for this!

Today’s Barriers

  • Too Difficult to navigate student support systems
  • Cost of Education and unavoidable debt
    What are you prepared to invest and what will you get out it?  Is it affordable for you?
  • Tough to see big picture across coursework and institutions
  • I don’t know where to go to get help or good feedback
  • My outside experience is not connected to classwork
  • Lack of flexibility in how i engage my courses and teachers
    Unique needs of learners should be met – all types of disabilities, Institutions should provide training for instructors on how to engage.
  • Need to address diverse backgrounds of cultures.  Empathy is key
  • Not enough counselors per student at secondary level.
  • Not every student can afford a device/connectivity problems

Positive Aspects

  • World perspective: learning experiences between cultures
  • Moved from pen to device (use the cloud)
  • After School programs/volunteer opportunities (like Baltimore intersection)  Creating student leaders, encouraging student engagement
  • Half of course grade is “Did you attain goals you set during year” – Reflection paper more critical thinking in learning.
  • In lieu of final three options, presentation – paper – project or if you have anything else (one act play)
  • Pre-course survey: knowing who is in the room. Learning with context
  • Recognition that education is about the students -> starting to be seen more an more.

Looking Ahead

  • We are learning with/from people who half-way across the world.
  • We all need to do a better job of understanding and sharing the educational experience.
  • Some don’t think it will change like it should.
  • More discussions and panels of these types of challenges/barriers.
  • All it takes is one person.
  • We are the change!
  • Teachers becoming facilitators of learning!
  • If you want to learn it you should be able to!

BbWorld15: General Session – Session Blog

Jay Bhatt
Jon Kolko
Annie Chechitelli
Stephanie Weeks

    Educational Institutions currently is struggling to engage learners.  85 percent of learners in North America are Non-traditional.

The educational system is no keeping pace with new learner’s use of technology. New Learners have a different set of needs.

  • We need to engage online with apps
  • allow the pursuit of Digital Skills & Competencies
  • Community Engagement
  • Follow Employers online
  • Attend multiple institutions

Center of issue:  Learner + Teacher

  • Focus on needs of learner

What is Blackboard doing to revolutionize Education?

The Education Continuum: Birth | K-12 | Higher Ed | Professional Education  | Lifelong Learning

New Learning Experience (NLE) is a new approach to education that fosters better engagement, interaction and quality learning through the delivery of leading edge technology and data capabilities. The NLE is:

  • Focused on Learner
  • Connecting and tightly integrating workflows
  • A delightful new user experience
  • An accessible and always-on environment
  • Integrated data and analytics

A day in life of K-12 student

1. Check bus schedule – 7am
2. Attendance Confirmation – 10am
3. Participate in blended classroom 11am
4. Tweet image of field trip 2pm
5. Check shool menu for tomorrow lunch 6pm
6. Check for upoming PTA meeting 7pm
7. Practice homework 8pm8. Confirm soccer field change 9pm

All of these things are happening trough the lenses of devices, technology & software.

Our Capabilities:  Parent Link, Schoolwires, teaching & learning Solutions, Blackboard connect, Sociability – connect with the day in the life of k-12 students.  What if we could delivery them consistently and in an integrated fashion.

Higher Ed Day in the Life

7am – check class schedule
10am – Confirm student loan
12pm – Virtual Study Group
6pm – Do homework/discuss with prof via online office hours
7:30pm – Check job boards
9pm – Buy calculus book for next quarter

Our capabilities – Learning Analytics, Blackboard Transact, MyEdu, Blackboard Learn, Bb Student, Blackboard Student Pathway Services, Blackboard Collaborate. All of these connect to the Higher Ed day in the life.

Our Technology Framework

Next Generation LMS – Blackboard Learn Ultra Saas, and Moodlerooms
Blackboard Collaborate – java free browser based no download web conferencing system.
BB Mobile apps – Being mobile first, mobile learn Bb Student, Bb Grader,
Learning Analytics
Blackboard Services Capabilites – Student Pathway Services – Marketing and Recruiting etc..
Deployment options – Self Hosting, Managed Hosting and Saas (Public Cloud)

SaaS – Standard, Plus, Advantage  (Product is continuously released – no April release etc)


Design is about empathy (walking in their shoes).  See the world through student, teachers, parents shoes.

  • Their are no traditional learners. (LMS should change with learner)
  • Academia has been driven by quantitative metrics at the expense of educational creativity (Integrate the analytics)
  • Support the learners journey – (build products that help learners figure out who they are)

Ultimately we are focused on minimizing anxiety in learners.

NLE for K-12
Parent Link – menu, bus schedule, library balance, grades, news, directory (integrates info from multiple schools) Confirmation of arrival.
School Wire.

Key to Learning experience is adoption and Integration for K-12.

NLE for Higher Ed
Instructors still have ultimate control of how course is displayed.  Can stay in “original” mode if they want.

Start conversations around specific assignments in a course.  Contextual conversations for the win! – Instructors have the ability to turn this off.

Adding content is as easy as clicking the “+” button anywhere you are in the course.  Make items Visible or Hidden without leaving the page.  Discussions are placed directly in the module.  No longer do students have to go elsewhere!!  Entirety of NLE is in Responsive design.

NLE is designed to interact with different personae (mobile, computer).

NLE is stream based and curated directly for the student.  Mobile apps home screen is a stream.  Can organize by What’s New and What’s Due!

Collaborate – Adaptive Design Wow we wow wow.

Request Access to tech preview – (Trial site this fall)


BbWorld15: Best Practices for Implementing Blackboard Communities – Session Blog

Adam Voyton
Wilmington University

Once you get the license, what do you do with it?  Customize interface to engage students and faculty across your institution.


  • Create tabs, sub-tabs, and modules
  • each tab, sub-tab can be configured to appear to users that are assigned to a particular role
  • A module is bascialy a box that can contain: text, video etc..

Primary Roles are Students, faculty, staff.

For tabs or modules that have information relevant to students and or faculty in certain department, we set up college-specific institutional roles.

Student/faculty login has generic content and customized content.  Advertising, Marketing, Student Life

Students: Top layer tab has student services tab – links to student service pages, Jobs for Kats as Top Layer Tab
Faculty: (Faculty services tab – centralizes info that was scattered across website)  My media module (Kaltura)

Subtabs – Tech Support/Resources (support desk hours) (clean up My courses video), Kaltura subtab, My media and faculty repository on it along with self-help for Kaltura.  Blackboard Collaborate  subtab(embed the webpage), Blackboard subtab for IM.

Wilmington uses colleges on Top lvl tabs that contain info that they may want behind a login.  Each of these tabs have subtabs with more info   (question, how do you envision having 6 tabs one for each college).  Tabs to other systems

Things to Keep in mind:

*Tabs don’t open up in new browser tab.
*when embedding content use HTTPS*Have rules and policies for what content can go where (Governance)
*Set up a calendar to manage/schedule the content
*keep MY Courses at top right and announcements at top center

Blackboard Organizations

Bulk of orgs are Academic in nature, a fair amount of student orgs, smaller honor societies and departments.

Come up with and keep up with a naming convention.

Implementing Communities  (Organizations Subtab with “My Organizations” module)  Contains video explaining what orgs are and how they work. Including support documentation.  (Have an org catalog), link to a request form.

3 ways to enroll users into orgs: 

  • Self Enrollment – No level of privacy
  • Manual Enrollment – Leader has complete control, but has to do it all themselves.
  • Automatically adding someone who meets a certain criteria (SIS Based), some people may not want to be enrolled. (come up with un-enrollment process – place a default link in orgs with instructions to e-mail leader etc..) come up with code of conduct link for orgs as well.

Tips to Increase Students Use of Organizations (Require leaders to go to training)

– Make registration process simple
– Put out a press release on ORGS (get the word out)
– Videotaping campus events or use collaborate
– have student representatives talk for them

Online Student Association – Blackboard Org  (Engaging Online Students) – automatically add every student taking an online course.

  • Discussion board of the month – “What can we do to engage our online students at homecoming?”  small giftcard or prize of randomly selected participant
  • Online Student of the Semester – (we can use our ads)  Short little bios, students can apply we can focus on them.
  • Introductions Discussion Board (Networking)
  • Have video and webpage about this organization

Remind your constituencies what Blackboard Communities does for them. Press Releases, videos etc…  Target program chairs about Bb Orgs.

Lessons Learned:

– Get Departmental Involvement
– Dedicate a staff member to serve as community admin- Audit content every year
– People that do not have a Bb Login will not be able to access any content in Orgs

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