Blackboard World 2012 – Day Two – Part 1

You Spoke, We Listened! – Blackboard

Social media explained in a form that every human can understand.

The Blackboard keynote started with one of the biggest changes for Blackboard CEO, Michael Chasen this year.  The birth of his newest child.  Maybe this was the reason that we started out discussing…  well there’s no other way to say it, pee.  The discussion started with the infographic that many have seen around the internet.

While the audience laughed, Chasen didn’t give up the chance to bring the Blackboard products into a similar lineup.








This was a very funny and humorous way to get showcase and remind attendees about the products that the company has been working with.

The presentation moved on to showcase the new innovations coming to the Blackboard line of products.  (I’m foreshadowing some discussion coming up in a bit.)  To be honest, I had spoken with Malcolm Murray during the Blackboard Developers Conference and we were handicapping the product keynote.  We both were talking about what innovations were coming and he said that “if their smart” Blackboard would put out a LTI compliant “app store” which would be a booming success for the LTI movement.  If not, he was going to patent the idea.  Now, I really believe that Malcolm didn’t have any knowledge of Blackboard’s plans.  If so, he was tight lipped about it, but I will still by him a beer for being right.  (More on that in a bit.)


Blackboard Products ListedOne of the important parts of the keynote was a slide that displayed all the different pieces of software now under (or supported) by the company.  This image gives anyone who doesn’t think that Blackboard has an impact on the LMS market place a reason to second guess themselves.  I was impressed with the information and really started thinking about how impressive this is.  Over the past nine years that I have worked with Blackboard.  They have moved from one main product to multiple products in the academic marketplace.




Chasen this announced a new project that has started at Blackboard.  Project XP.  The project creates a new service called xpLor.  The best way to explain it is think about LTI created materials available through an app store like option, however these items are LTI objects from the community.  It can offer assessments, content, documentation, etc.  This is an amazing and powerful option for users and will be available to all Blackboard products.  Malcolm turned out to be right about this and I will be minus one beer tomorrow evening.  The tool is still in beta and no release date was named, but I would expect it to be out before the end of the year.  Check out the images below to see what xpLor looks like.

Project XP

xpLor In Action













The innovations continued with the discussion of the publisher integrations.  One year ago Blackboard announced the integration of publisher connection’s including Pearson who publishes MyMathLab.  Now students can access MyMathLab directly from Blackboard.


Ray Henderson took over the presentation to discuss where the Blackboard Academic products were at now and where they were going. Ray spoke about the improving level of support’s resolution to client issues and how the company continues to work towards transparency in how they plan releases.  (See images below).  He also made several announcements of new functionality coming to the Blackboard Learn product.

  • New WSYIWG Editor improving the user experience creating content.
  • Enterprise level surveying tool for people inside and outside your organization.
  • Integrated one-way course alerts via text messaging will be free to Blackboard Learn clients
  • Item Analysis tool will allow instructors to drill into more detail on questions within assessments
  • New integrated navigation will make the user navigation more global than just by course.
  • Blackboard Social will be an academic version of Facebook and will allow users to create their own self generated organizations.  This comes free to clients already using community.
  • Blackboard Collaborate goes mobile with versions for iOS and Android in their latest release.

Making Improvement

Improving The Blackboard Timeline













Kayvon spoke about the innovations coming from Blackboard Mobile.  The first is Augmented Reality which was demonstrated during the keynote.  It’s amazing to see and I recommend to get a chance to see it.  Kayvon also announced changes in the way Mobile Learn will be delivered.  Blackboard Mobile has developed an end user license that will allow students to “share the load” of costs.  The price point is set at $1.99 for a year or $5.99 for a lifetime license.  This means that the exclusive requirements from Sprint will go away and the Mobile Learn tool will be available to every user in the iOS and Android platforms.


Here’s a video recap of the corporate keynote presentation…




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