Day two of the Durham Blackboard Users’ Conference started with this extremely useful insight into the roadmap Blackboard is taking with the ‘Learn’ product, as well as Blackboard’s own opinion on the conference theme: “Make Do or Spend?”.
Greg Ritter (@gritter), Director of Product Management with Blackboard Learn, showed Blackboards perspective on ‘the challenges ahead’ and on the conference theme, ‘Make Do or Spend?’. Greg showed us, and discussed:
- Blackboard Analytics [product]: extract student data, from both Blackboard and Institution student-records systems, for use in reporting to different stakeholders.
- Focus on fundamentals, 2010 to 2012:
- Challenges Blackboard have aligned their product(s) to include recruitment (student numbers, economic climate), Instructor efficiency, student engagement & retention, and data-driven decision making.
- Recruitment: increased tuition fees, increased competition, limited or decreasing resources
- Instructor efficiency: increasing student expectations, more demands on staff/faculty time, increased emphasis on assessment and feedback, generating escalating needs for Institutional processes.
- Analysis: item (test question) analysis, new content editor and updated equation editor, new calendar (including subscription option!), in-line assignment marking and grading, xpPlor (cloud based, cross-Institutional and cross-platform learning object repository),
- Student engagement & retention, the ‘active learner‘: ebooks, text messages, etc. (learner-driven support processes), identify the at-risk students who do not engage.
- Innovation on student engagement ‘tool’ includes in SP10: new user profile interface, new global navigation menu (‘My Blackboard’), learning networks (based on profiles to connect and engage with peers), ‘spaces’ area to interact with peers (again, based on profiles but are ad-hoc areas the users can create on their own without admin, and is cross-Institutional and cloud-based), video capture everywhere (webcam recording published to personal YouTube account), retention centre.
- Data-driven decision making: improve student ‘success’, optimise online and blended learning, leverage VLE investment (capacity planning, measure learning initiatives, etc.), goal (and performance reporting) alignment, activity reporting, module/unit evaluation ‘announcement’ (desktop and mobile editions) and reporting, .
- Faculty Development resources: links and resources/tools available
- Student views and tweets are generally positive to Blackboard updates, changes are impressing the students and, when the changes to the discussion boards are made, will only increase! Nice!
If I missed anything please leave a comment and/or link to your own write up and I’ll happily publish it.