Monday, 19 April 2010

Astell ddu Confernce Adolyga - Blackboard Conference 2010

Just back from the Blackboard Teaching and Learning 2010 in Swansea, Wales held from 12-14 April. If your idea of fun is seeing: how a Saudi university was built in 1000 days; how Welsh bilingual medium provision is being supported through technology-enhanced learning; or just watching a video of Blackboard employees dressed up as ladybirds and bees to articulate their common goal of ensuring highest quality standards (getting rid of bugs!!!), this was the place to be.

I presented a review of an NUIG 3-year project that aimed to embed Blackboard and other learning technologies as core mainstream technology-enhanced functions on behalf of our project team. Many international colleagues are in the same boat, so it was great chance for information and resource exchange after the presentation.

Blackboard had their US product development team onsite to present Blackboard v9.1, plus a number of new products such as Blackboard Connect (mass notification system), Blackboard Mobile, and Xythos (a content repository system acquired by Blackboard). Some interesting new features in Blackboard 9.1 including blogs, wikis and journals, although my impression is that many institutions are continuing to stick with Blackboard v8 until summer 2011.

Only myself and Ken Lacey from DIT were present from the Irish contingent, but we'll be feeding our observations back to the next meeting of the Irish WebCT/Blackboard Users' Group in due course.

The best session? 'Blended Learning: Principles and Planning Tools' by Richard Walker, University of York. Brilliant.

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