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How Blackboard is Reimagining Education

I just attended my first BbWORLD and it was a fantastic experience. I got to meet fellow Blackboarders that I only knew through social media and got to learn more about Blackboard as a company.To jump right in, when I first heard about Blackboard’s new mission of “Reimagine Education” I was quite skeptical of what it exactly meant. How is a company going to Reimagine Education?

After listening to CEO Jay Bhatt’s keynote that vision became very clear to me with what they have done and what they are continuing to do. We all know technology is here to stay and that it is revolutionizing education. During the keynote Jay Bhatt made it clear that they were building solutions for the learner. I love the term ‘Solutions’ over ‘Products’ because they are creating solutions to help solve problems in education. During the keynote they highlighted several tools that assist the learner starting in their K-12 Career to college to post graduation. In the K-12 arena tools like Blackboard Engage and K-12 Central keep the student on track with their course work and school notifications. With Blackboard Learn, Mobile Learn, and Collaborate a college student is able to have constant access to their course content, grades, virtual meetings anywhere and anytime. Blackboard is building on this “anywhere, anytime” mentality by creating a new responsive UI that will render the perfect experience on any device the student chooses. Going beyond Learn they have also redesigned the Collaborate interface with a simple design and most importantly without the use of Java. The Java plugin has been one of the biggest obstacles for institutions not being able to run Collaborate on all their devices such as Chromebooks. With the recent acquisition of myEdu and the creation of Job Genie Blackboard is providing solutions to help students find a career once they’ve received a diploma. Blackboard tools are helping students from start to finish and are becoming more and more integrated to transfer data from one system to another.

Beyond the apps and software Blackboard is opening more data centers around the world and introducing a third deployment service. Public Cloud/SaaS will give institutions another option of how they would like to deploy their Learn environment. If you’re thinking, is there anything else Blackboard can do? They’ve done just that. With the recent creation of Open Education by Blackboard anyone can participate in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provided by institutions worldwide. On a smaller scale CourseSites by Blackboard provides individual instructors a free course website running the latest release of Blackboard Learn, Mobile Learn, Collaborate and Connect. Through Blackboard Community Programs they are even providing rubrics and examples to help instructors build exemplary Blackboard courses.

Although we may have encountered problems when working with Blackboard tools or wish a certain feature was there it is clearly evident that Blackboard is moving in the right direction to corporate citizenship to provide a medium for anyone to have access to educational content. While the platforms mentioned above are only a handful of their solutions and services they are providing the tools to allow students, parents, instructors and institutions to reimagine education.

Click here for my notes from the BbWorld Corporate Keynote.

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Eric Silva

Eric is a Systems Analyst and Blackboard Administrator at The University of Texas at San Antonio, and a graduate from Boise State University. Learn more about me.



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