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Community Corner

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We've been on a roll the past few weeks talking about what we hope to cover in our podcast episodes this year. You've heard our thoughts and now we want to hear yours. Please comment on this post with what ideas, topics, and interviews you want to hear us discuss. If you don't want to post the idea in a comment feel free to use our website, or email Thank you for your help!

This week Casey Eubank turns the interview tables on our third Blackboard Chalk Talk host, Terry Patterson. Learn about what he's been up to in at Austin Community College, where to go during BbWorld 2019 in Austin, what he's interested in interviewing others about, why he's considering writing again, and why tacos are a great breakfast food. Intriguing conversation is the plan with this week's edition of Blackboard Chalk Talks!




Subscribe on iTunes - Bb Chalk Talks – Blackboard Chalk Talks on Apple Podcasts 

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Subscribe via RSS - Blackboard Chalk Talks RSS Feed 

This is the first of two interviews with Blackboard's Wades of Spades, Wade Fields and Wade Weichel. Both are Product Managers for two different experiences of Blackboard Learn. This week, we talk with Wade Fields who works on the Blackboard Learn Ultra experience. Check out his insights and background on this week's edition of Blackboard Chalk Talks. 

Clients often tell me how an employee has gone above and beyond expectations to help them.

We strive to recognize our employees who excel in their work.  This year, we have created a new award to recognize a Blackboard employee or team who has over the past year exemplified our values and advanced our mission to be the best Partner in Change for the global education community through:


  • Innovation, and/or
  • Providing (or improving) an exceptional client experience, and/or
  • Empowering the Blackboard Community


We would like to formally honor and recognize these contributions and would greatly appreciate your nominations. Please write up a few sentences on why a certain employee or team should be recognized and submit the nomination here.  The deadline to submit a nomination is Friday, June 21, 2019.  A panel of leaders will review the nominations and select a winner(s), which we plan to recognize at BbWorld in July.


Thank you for helping us recognize those Blackboard team members who are making a difference for you, our valued clients!

This is the inaugural edition of our Hot Topics round table discussions. These include a group of members from the Blackboard Community talking about one or two topical events or issues within our community. This edition focuses on Box and the planned replacement of New Box View by Blackboard. We have a great group of folks who bring their experiences, thoughts and (happily) their opinions to this extended edition of Bb Chalk Talks.



This edition's guests include:



Corrie Bergeron - Instructional Designer at Lakeland Community College
Casey Eubank - Learning Management Systems Administrator at WSU Tech
Ricki Hodges Neri - Blackboard Administrator at Sam Houston State University
Helen Keier - Associate Director for Learning Management Systems, John Jay Online 
John Lane - Director, Technology Learning Services at University of Houston-Downtown
Carolyn Ponce - Coordinator of Distance Education, Arkansas State University
Mark Reynolds - Senior Application Specialist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Listen at: 


Reflections on TLC Europe

Posted by lblakemore May 24, 2019

As my first blog as your Chief Client Officer, I thought I would take a moment and introduce myself.


I am originally from St.Louis, Missouri but for the past 18 years I have lived in South Bend, Indiana with my wife Corinne and our 2 now teenage daughters (insert appropriate level of anxiety here). 


I have been at Blackboard for 4 years and have held a few different roles.  When I first joined, I was responsible for the K12 business in North America.  That was my first experience in EdTech and I really enjoyed the K12 clients and team.  In the fall of 2016, I took on the role of President of Blackboard International, taking responsibility for the Blackboard business outside of North America.  This was my first introduction to Higher Ed and was a fantastic learning experience.  My family and I moved to London, and from there I visited clients and partners in over 20 countries, forming some fantastic relationships.  This led me to my third and current role at Blackboard as the President, Global Client Operations and Success – a role I have held since January 2018.  The scope of this role includes Client Support, Global Consulting, SaaS Migration, managing our Data Centers as well as our SaaS platform at AWS.  Assuming the additional role of Chief Client Officer is a natural fit as a large part of my scope affects the experience our clients and partners have with our solutions.


Prior to Blackboard, I spent about 25 years in enterprise technology with large companies including IBM and some smaller, lesser known firms.   


I am really looking forward to this expanded role and continuing the dialogue on how Blackboard can be the best possible partner for our clients.


Reflections on TLC Europe


Wearing my new CCO hat, last week I had the opportunity to travel to Newcastle, England for Blackboard’s tenth TLC Europe conference. Not only did I have a great time catching up with many of you at Northumbria University’s beautiful campus, I left feeling energized and excited by what’s ahead in education.


One of the things I love the most about attending a TLC conference – and I’ve attended at least 6 that I can think of in various countries – is the sense of community that those gatherings foster.  Because of our deep and long-term relationships with our clients across every region of the globe, we’re able to leverage these conferences to share best practices and facilitate conversations. In short, they provide a wonderful opportunity to learn from one another. I was excited to see that as a result of that conference, we have a number of new members to our Community Site.  Welcome! Our next community gathering is at BbWorld July 23-25 in Austin, Texas. We hope you’ll join us!


For Blackboard, these conferences also provide an invaluable opportunity for us to hear from you.  For instance, we’ve been bringing the new Hackboard:Data event on a world tour to let developers get behind-the-scenes with the way we are thinking about data management, organization, orchestration, and privacy. We’ve had great results from these events including the one at TLC Europe last week. We’ve seen our developer community really dive in to the dataset and come up with some cool opportunities to explore.  We plan to continue that conversation coming up at BbWorld and we’ll bring Hackboard:Data to our TLC ANZ Conference in August.


The community has also provided us with invaluable input in shaping our conferences. For instance, the program for TLC Europe this year was co-developed with 12 clients who served as part of our program committee. Our TLC ANZ conference last year pioneered this approach. In both cases, the result was our best program ever.


 In short, these gatherings and also our Community Site provide an excellent forum for us to engage with one another. I encourage you to stay active. In my newly expanded role, I’m eager to hear what’s on your mind. And I intend to regularly share my thoughts and reflections here.


I hope to catch up with you at BbWorld!


This episode puts another podcast host in the interviewee seat as Casey Eubank talks about his interests and challenges as a Blackboard administrator at Wichita State University - Tech and learn one of his favorite hobbies. So get ready as we bring up the curtain on this edition of Blackboard Chalk Talks.


Listen at: 

This week we visit with the newest member of the Blackboard Chalk Talks host family, Letitia Davis. We learn about what brought her into educational technology, her ideas for podcast episodes, and what she enjoys about Blackboard World. So put on your virtual ten-gallon hat for a Texas-sized chat on Blackboard Chalk Talks. Find more about Letitia on our conversations page.


Link to the episode: 

We are back for another season of interesting discussion and topics about Blackboard and educational technologies. This first episode welcomes Matt Hadgis and John DiGennaro, co-founders of Qwickly. We talk about the development of Qwickly from a free building block to a major tool in the edtech space. Matt and John also discuss the development of their company and how they help steer the company's future. Learn more about their product at


So Blackboard asked us to share #WhyIBbWorld via our twitter feeds as part of their lead up to Blackboard World in Austin #ATX this summer. Being the eLearning eVangelist that I am, I have been posting multiple #WhyIBbWorld tweets that include everything from the obvious to the quirky (Me on the dance floor during the CAP, for example).


I have to admit it has been great being able to post my own #WhyIBbWorld’s and to read the tweets of others. I have found many a kindred spirit in the reasons posted online. Reading all these great #WhyIBbWorld tweets made me start to take a deeper look at why I attend Blackboard World. I guess the reasons why I attend Blackboard World have evolved over time. Let's put them in three categories:


  • The Early Days
  • Getting Into the Groove
  • The Seasoned Vet



The Early Days

I attended my first Blackboard World some 20 years ago in Washington D.C. In those days we were brand new to Blackboard version 5(the one right after CourseInfo). I attended, so that we could see how to “use the darn thing”(Blackboard bought Web-Course-In-Box who we were using) and to maybe get a picture of the Lincoln Memorial.


I attended subsequent Blackboard Worlds because I was the only Blackboard guy on campus and I needed to plug into a community of folks like me. On campus I was the Blackboard Wizard (there had to be twist) and I was looked to for knowledge, both technical and pedagogical, on how to use it. Blackboard World allowed me to connect to other people who were doing what I was doing and more. In those days I was the Sys Admin, Faculty Development person and Instructional Designer, so I needed to “fill up” on everything I could, to improve things for faculty and students back at SHSU.


When you are on your own on campus, supporting a strategic system like Blackboard, it can be a scary situation. When you are wearing all the hats, you feel like you are always treading water and that you can't make any progress. Blackboard World was like a life preserver that allowed you to take stock of where you were and plan for where you needed to go.




Getting Into the Groove

As I got my first BbWorlds under my belt, my perspective as to why I was going changed. I started to focus more on the connections I was making. Connections with Bb Staff, Vendors at the conference and eLearing Guru's from other institutions. As Blackboard's clientele grew, I was able to experience more cultures of learning (national and international) by attending.



As my use of Blackboard become more nuanced, so did the sessions I attended. I paid much more attention to the types of schools and programs the presenters were coming from, and that played a larger part in choosing the sessions I would attend.


Getting into the grove also changed part of what I would call the “overall feel” of Blackboard World. It became more than just a conference and networking event. It also became what I lovingly refer to a “nerdy high school reunion”. Connections that you made in early BbWorlds were celebrated and renewed, all in an atmosphere of learning and sharing. So besides just lining up your dance card for sessions, you might find yourself at Terry Patterson’s annual Birthday dinner or coordinating outfits for the client appreciation event.


At this point in my “Blackboard Evolution” I was leaving the “treading water” stage and starting to lift my head up to see what was coming next. I began bringing my list of “I Wish Blackboard Coulds” so that when I spoke with Blackboard at the vendor fair or in meetings, I had ammunition for important conversations built upon the needs of my constituents back home.


Lastly, I started presenting about the things we were doing at our campus. Not only did I present, but also I shared out some of the things we were doing for the community to use. A prime example of this would be the Blackboard Support Orgs for students and faculty that we created and curated so that others could benefit.


Seasoned Vet (Where I Am Now)

The other title I chose for this section was A Little Rounder, A little Greyer.


This year marks my 18th Blackboard World. We had a year or two where we used another LMS who shall not be named, but whose name rhymed with Schmeeee Schmollege. Their conference made me really miss #BbWorld. One of the unmentioned LMS’s conference keynotes was Ben Stein…..anyone…..anyone.


I still look forward to many of the things that I experienced in my first two stages:


  • Talking to people who speak my language
  • Nerdy High School Reunions
  • Presenting/Sharing


I also pay much more attention to the more strategic or long-term elements of the conference. The product road-map sessions and the Bb Executive sessions come to mind.


In my Veteran years at BbWorld, I:

  • became a VIP Blogger
  • earned my Bb Certified Trainer certification
  • was nominated and became a Bb MVP


As I look at those all of these aspects of my #WhyIBbWorld evolution, I realize that they are all really about one area….community. I feel very fortunate to have spent much of my professional life in this community. Blackboard World has been there when I needed a lifeline, it allowed me to make important connections for me and my home institution, provided me with a nerdy high school reunion, gave me a platform to share out to the community, and allowed me to think much more strategically about eLearning at my campus. I have taken so much from my attendance at BbWorlds and tried to give back at least as much as I have learned.


Thank you to Blackboard, the community and the universe for providing this outstanding conference. I'm looking forward to #BbWorld19!

I am a high school student and my school switched from Blackboard Collaborate Original to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra this year. And boy am I glad we did. Ultra is just so much better than the Original. You do not need to download any software, everything is in your browser, its if faster at joining classes, ect. But with any software that you spend hours a day on you start to notice a few problems. So here is a pro/con list.



  • Works on most browsers.

          No need to download anything, just click the link and join.

  • Profile Pictures!

          Sure, the original had profile pictures, but they were tiny, and only appeared by your name in the attendees panel. With Ultra you see the photo next to chat messages. when you have 10 different students chatting is hard too read names and remember  who's who. With Profile pictures you can easily keep track of the conversation. I don't know why it makes such a big difference but it dose to me.

  • Video and audio quality is much better.

I don't know if it was just my computer but the audio in the original would always cut in and out. I'm getting a headache just thinking about it. But the new one seems to work way better! Its not perfect, but a huge improvement.

  • It looks and Feels nicer.

The original was just a bit clunky looking, some of the icons looked like they could have been from 2007. Come too think of it they probably were from 2007. Ultra is just a bit smoother and nicer all around.


Every software has its cons. Here are a few ways it can improve.


  • @mentions

    Chat can sometimes go bye very fast. It would be nice to be able to use @mentions and get that chat message highlighted.

  • The infinity tunnel of death.

     Whenever a teacher shares the entire screen, a strange looking tunnel will appear for a moment. It like what happens when you hold two mirrors across from each other. It seems like this could be fixed.

  • Ellipse Tool

     The ellipse tool it tricky to use, instead of going from corner to corner like most software, it goes from center to edge. Try it and you will see what I mean.


And after a lot of hours, playing around with options during boring classes, I have fond some tricks and tips.


  1. View profile pictures larger by dragging them to a new tab.
  2. If you need to get a teachers attention while chat is off raise your hand, If that dose not work click it as many times as possible, but do it sparingly, it is really annoying.
  3. You can use whatever emojis you would like if you have an emoji keyboard extension. My Chromebook has one built in.  


Thanks for reading!

[Tech Webinar] The Changing Learning Management System Landscape

Hosted by Eduventures and Blackboard


The education ecosystem is undergoing rapid change as institutions look to leverage actionable data to drive student success and meet the needs of a changing student demographic. This has put increasing pressure on the learning management system (LMS), the most widely-adopted tool to support teaching and learning, to evolve to meet changing demands, pedagogical approaches, and modalities. This shows that the LMS is necessary but not sufficient to deliver a modern teaching and learning ecosystem.


Join Eduventures Principal Analyst James Wiley as he discusses how institutions are partnering with vendors to solve these challenges. In addition, hear from Blackboard Chief Learning and Innovation Officer Phillip Miller on the shifting perception of the LMS as a one-dimensional online learning tool, and how Blackboard sees it evolving into a platform that combines broad capabilities to solve complex educational challenges.

Registration link



This week's episode wraps up the interviews from Blackboard World 2018. Our guest is Bob Small, a software engineer with Blackboard. He mostly works with Blackboard Transact, but has a special place in his human hard drive for Virtual Reality. He developed this virtual reality for K12 and higher education. Take a look at an example he recorded and posted to YouTube,


Listen to the podcast:

This edition of Blackboard Chalk Talks we have the wonderful Carolyn Ponce. She is the Blackboard administrator at Arkansas State University. We caught up with her at Blackboard World 2018.

After a hiatus following Blackboard World, We are back with another interview for Bb Chalk Talks. This time our friend and knower of all things Blackboard Community, Marissa Dimino joins us. We ask her how to she came to her job at Blackboard, her favorite part of the Blackboard Community site, and learn about her four-legged child. This interview was recorded at Blackboard World in the Community Live area. As proof, Casey had a Blackboard employee take a picture of us during the interview.