As we use Blackboard at the University of Derby, I attended the European Blackboard conference in Manchester this week. The conference was of to a bit of a poor start. No wireless available for conference go-ers, just the crappy connection for which the hotel charged £15 a day. I decided that was a bit ridiculous, hence the late submission of this post. The keynote and my first workshops on Tuesday were really poor, and I started to loose heart. Luckily some little gems did manage to arise from the rubble of disappointment.
Blackboard NG (next generation)
I was very please to see assessment high on the agenda for the next generation(s) of Blackboard. Tools supporting peer and self assessment, a new and expanded Grade centre (replacing the somewhat limited Gradebook) and the integration and expansion of the existing WebCT and Blackboard quiz tools will certainly add a bit of meat on the meager bones of the platform's support for assessment. What actually surprised me (and I would still like to actually see this before I truly believe it) is the announcement that Blackboard will be working towards interoperability with other CMS-es such as Moodle and Sakai. We saw a demonstration of a learner portal page that listed courses and notifications from courses in various platforms transparently, which was very promising. This would allow for an institution to grant much wider freedoms to faculty intheir choice of platform without loosing the integration that only a single platform can currently offer. Watch this space.
More tomorrow, it's time to spend some time with my family now...