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Category: Blackboard

Better late than never: Bb (finally) releases new cloud options for Ultra

You might have missed the announcement  from Blackboard a few weeks ago, which was overshadowed by Blackboard’s other announcement.  Two new Software as a Service (SaaS) LMS offerings are finally available, six months after they were promised. The new offerings–Blackboard SaaS Plus and SaaS Advantage–join the already available Saas Standard, released at Blackboard World last July. Here is a description of these new […]

Upcoming webinar: Introduction to the New Collaborate

Bb_Collaborate_ultra_laptopDo you currently use Blackboard Collaborate in your courses, as a virtual office, or for online meetings? If you do, then you will definitely want to learn about the new Collaborate with Ultra Experience by registering for one of the upcoming webinar sessions below. The webinar will introduce you to the new sleeker interface within Collaborate and demonstrate how you can take advantage of the improved functionality. If you don’t currently use Collaborate but are interested in finding out how you can connect and engage with your students and colleagues with this powerful videoconferencing platform, consider registering for a session to learn more. Your students will love using the new browser-based Collaborate platform to connect with you and their fellow students.

For your convenience, the VCCS will offer two, hour-long sessions on the next three Fridays in August to VCCS faculty and staff.  Space is limited, so please register for only one session to allow for maximum participation . The webinar schedule is:

  1. Aug. 7: 11am-12pm
  2. Aug. 7: 12-1pm
  3. Aug. 14: 11am-12pm
  4. Aug. 14: 12-1pm
  5. Aug. 21: 11am-12pm
  6. Aug. 21: 12-1pm

Webinar Agenda

Each session will provide you with an overview of the features and functionality of the new Collaborate with Ultra Experience. Specifically, the session will cover:

  • What is the Ultra Experience?
  • Advantages to Collaborate with Ultra Experience
  • Use Cases for Collaborate Ultra
  • Feature overview
  • Technical considerations
  • What’s next?

Please register for a session below.

NOTE: Blackboard Collaborate is compatible with all browsers, but for the best experience use Google Chrome. Contact your college help desk staff to see if they will download Chrome to your computer.


Register

Each session is limited to 50 participants. If the session you want does not appear below, that means it is currently full. Additional sessions will be scheduled in the future. After you register, you will receive a link to your webinar session.














    If a session does not appear, that means it is full.


To do: upcoming events

CC-By: Office Now

CC-By: Office Now

Spring 2015 is positively lousy with EdTech-related events, meetings, webinars, and more events. And webinars. There are also meetings: lots of ‘em. Below are the ones I have compiled, at least through April, the cruelest month. For a complete list, go to http://edtech.vccs.edu/upcoming-events/.

If you have an event that you would like to add, please let me know.

February 06, 2015 (Happening now!)
JSRCC FantasTech Virtual Conference
Online

February 09, 2015
Educause Learning Initiative (ELI)
Anaheim, CA

February 11, 2015
Increasing College Access and Success through Zero-Textbook-Cost Degrees
Washington, DC

February 17, 2015
New America Foundation: Community College Online
Washington, DC & online

February 19, 2015
ELET Committee Meeting
Charlottesville, VA

February 19, 2015
VCCS Peer Group Meeting | Accounting/Business/Economics
Richmond, VA

February 24, 2015
Tech Council
Suffolk, VA

March 04, 2015
CODD/ASAC
Fredericksburg, VA

March 08, 2015
Innovations Conference
Boston, MA

March 09, 2015
SXSW Edu
Austin, TX

March 30, 2015
OpenSym 2015 | Call for Papers

March 30, 2015
OxCon: OpenStax Conference
Houston, TX

April 01, 2015
New Horizons 2015
Roanoke, VA

April 09, 2015
Council for the Study of Community Colleges Conference (CSCC)
Ft. Worth, TX

April 17, 2015
VWCC 2015 Instructional Technology Mini-Conference
Roanoke, VA

April 22, 2015
OpenEd Global Conference
Banff, Alberta, CANADA

April 22, 2015
OLC | Emerging Technologies for Online Learning
Dallas, TX

A Plug for the BUG

The 2014 VA Bug Conference will take place on Friday, October 24, 2014 in Roanoke, VA at the Holiday Inn at Valley View. No, it is not a conference for Entomologists or Pest Control Professionals. It is the 5th Annual conference for the Virginia Blackboard Users Group, a ragtag team of rogue LMS users meeting in secret to share knowledge and ideas with Blackboard users from across the Commonwealth. 2014_VA_bug

Of course, you probably know this already but October in the Roanoke Valley is simply exquisite, with the luminous fall foliage at its peak. The Holiday Inn at Valley View is located just a few miles off of Interstate 81 and is short distance from Roanoke’s historic downtown market area. It is also just a short drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you can take in the beautiful fall colors.

Registration is, ahem, FREE.  The call for proposals will go out soon for presentations in the following areas:

  • Blackboard administration
  • Instructional design
  • Faculty best practices
  • K-12 best practices

You can find out more at the VA Bug website: http://vabug.org/

Escape from Blackboard World: The Canceling

airport_sleep_223295627_3a160199cf_zA few posts back I promised to share my open-minded and objective thoughts on Blackboard World 2014, now currently underway in Las Vegas. From the beginning this trip has been fraught with technical glitches and outright screw ups.  Due to a hung authorization page, my hotel’s website booked 5 hotel rooms for me instead of one (charging a $100 deposit to my credit card for each). I had planned to take a redeye on my return flight but booked it for the wrong day, necessitating a change and its accompanying fee. There was something else, but I’ve blocked it out. Finally, with all my travel difficulties smoothed out and my boarding passes snug in the digital ether of my smartphone, I showed up early at the airport for my flight.

That was yesterday. I am still in Richmond, VA. My reflections on the conference are going to be fairly brief.

Long story short: after two canceled flights, a full day waiting at the airport, and a flight rescheduled for the next day (today), the time I was going to be able to spend in Vegas became extremely brief as I had already scheduled a short trip. The airline offered me a refund. The hotel returned my deposit. I emailed my apologies to the various people who were expecting to be at the conference. I’d say I broke even.

There’s always next year.

 

Blackboard’s World

death_starI have just finished making my flight and hotel reservations for Blackboard World 2014. I finalized these plans with a somewhat troubled heart, loathe to participate in an event that to me is a frenzied celebration of the commercialization of education,  couched as a probing, open, academic conference. Let me just come right out and say it: Blackboard®, Inc. is an easy company to hate. Once an inferior product with a sizable market share, Blackboard went on a buying spree, gobbling up smaller web service companies and absorbing them into their product ecosystem. Angel integrated with Learn. Elluminate and Wimba became Blackboard Collaborate. TerribyClever Design became the platform for Blackboard Mobile. iStrategy became Analytics. Presidium was transformed into Blackboard Student Services. Moodlerooms. The list goes on.

Over the past year, Blackboard has been civilizing the Frankenstein monster they’ve created from the spare parts of other companies, trying to build an integrated product line that can compete with some of the new upstart in the LMS market, notably Instructure’s Canvas. I’ve generally liked the direction Blackboard is headed, and how much more responsive they have been to both customer and user feedback. But, like all LMSs, no matter how good Blackboard is or becomes, it will still be a problem disguised as a solution. More on that later.

The VCCS is a big customer of Blackboard, Inc., and part of my job is to oversee our LMS, Blackboard Learn, including xpLor, and Blackboard Collaborate.  It makes sense that I should go despite how uncomfortable I feel about attending. Appropriately, the conference is being held in Las Vegas, the City of Mammon, which only adds to my sense of loathing (to reference Hunter S. Thompson). Any fascination I had for Vegas has long worn off. Regardless, the die has been cast. It’s Vegas or bust. I have been to Bb World once before, in New Orleans in 2012. I  spent most of the conference agog at the sheer monumental size of everything:  from the clamoring hordes of badged participants to the soaring spaces of the  Convention Center that seemed to stretch on for miles. I felt I was strolling through a gigantic product placement. For 2014, I have been invited to be on a panel titled Instructional Content & the LMS in which the moderator, a Bb employee, offers a rather vague description of the session: “The LMS has transformed education. It has brought traditional teaching online and has enabled a level of experience in education that was not previously possible.” You could read this in a number of ways, depending on how you define traditional teaching and level of experience.

I will use this blog to reflect on my experiences at the conference, and report on any notable announcements that Blackboard inevitably makes at these events. Until then, what are your thoughts about the various products Blackboard offers? About the LMS in general? Have you been to Bb World before? Was it a valuable experience?

 

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