Blackboard Developers Conference 2015 – Day One Thoughts

Greetings friends and admin neighbors. The first day of Blackboard World 2015 has closed. There have been many discussions, good and bad, and a ball of confusion. Some of the topics will be covered in upcoming keynotes, so I won’t steal anyone’s thunder. However I do want to go over some things that I heard during day one.

The first was a presentation by the new Senior Vice President, Product Development, Support And Cloud Services, Peter George. He has been with the company for a few months, but his presentation did show an understanding of where the company wants to go with its Education 2020 plan. I was pretty hard on Peter during his keynote, if you saw my twitter account, and I later chatted with him to apologize and explain the background about why I felt this way. I won’t go into all the items that Peter discussed during the keynote, but you can see his presentation as a part of or here is a direct link to the presentation.

I shared with Peter that after posting my blog about what Blackboard needed to say at this conference then talking with leadership and other community leaders over the past two months I thought that Blackboard would really reach out and clearly say we are listening to the user community. I felt Peter’s keynote fell short of saying that, something that desperately needs said and I hope that Blackboard clarifies that in the upcoming keynotes at Blackboard World.


After the keynote, I went to work at the Community booth and talking with other MVPs about the thoughts and conversations started from the keynote and similar themes were also discussed. More and more folks had the same feelings. Then in the new SaaS session, some of the items shared during the keynote (particularly the availability of the new SaaS environment for folks, and access to the new IMS Global integration for Analytics tools for every Blackboard platform) weren’t correct. It’s hard to believe Blackboard shares with us the right information when we see confusion and backtracking this far into the conference. Accidents happen, but hopefully this is a small event and doesn’t set the tone for it.


I spent a lot of time visiting with some of my colleagues and Blackboard staff chatting about their thoughts on the issues that I’ve discussed in my blog posts over the past year. These conversations are one of the main reasons I enjoy attending the conference. Also meeting new people and those who I chatted with online or on the listservs. The networking, interaction, and problem solving with other users can really make me feel good that I’ve helped folks at the end of the day.

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A Picture of my Blackboard Community Shirt Design which were handed out at Blackboard World 2015.

So the reason I was spending time at the Community booth was to hand out the t-shirts I designed for the community team. I had this idea in my mind and shared it with Marissa Dimino who deemed it good enough to print on t-shirts and hand out to people who sign up for the new Community site which I’ve been helping to improve.


The evening ended with a networking reception which included games such as Giant Jenga, Xbox One, Table Tennis, and my favorite large scale checkers. (See Vivek Ramgopal and Marissa Dimino have a challenging checkers game below.)

Of course, the evening also included great food and adult beverages. I’m looking forward to Day 2. See you there…

From Left to Right, Kristine Putnam, Me, Melissa Stange, and David Carter-Tod enjoying the DevCon Networking Reception.

From Left to Right, Kristine Putnam, Me, Melissa Stange, and David Carter-Tod enjoying the DevCon Networking Reception.


Technically yours,

The Blackboard Guru


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