Blog posts

Durham Blackboard Users’ Conference 2018

In January I attended the Durham Blackboard Users’ Conference. This was the 18th running of the event by Durham University and the first I have attended. Each conference has a unique theme and this years was based on the classic Spaghetti western, The Good, the Bad and The Ugly. The two day conference featured a number of talks, demos and presentations highlighting what is good bad and ugly with Blackboard.

Before I cover some of the sessions, I have to say it was an exceptionally well run conference.  The team at Durham have put a great deal of work into not only the event, but the social aspect following the conference.  A highlight was a private tour followed by dinner in the rather glorious surroundings of Durham Castle.

Turnitin User Summit Review – 6/10/16

On Thursday 6th October, I attended the Turnitin User Summit in Newcastle.  The one day event consisted of short presentations from Turnitin representatives, guest speakers from UK HE institutions, a group workshop and a ‘knowledge bar’ which provided an opportunity to speak to a variety of people working at Turnitin. Before I discuss the event, here are some pictures from my time in Newcastle.

Tyne Bridge The view from Chinatoon – St James Park Alan Shearer Night-time by the Tyne

Newcastle, for those who have not been, is a Northern city (closer to Edinburgh than London) dominated by a number of bridges over the Tyne, a plethora of bars and clubs, an average football club and two very central universities (Newcastle and Northumbria).  Incidentally, my trip coincided with freshers’ week so I spent most of Wednesday evening dodging drunk students dressed as gladiators, knights and Harry Potter.

M25 Learning Technology Meeting, 20th July 2016

By Mimi Weiss Johnson

On the 20th July I attended the M25 Learning Technology meeting at the University of Westminster.  As always, it was a lovely event attended by representatives from Universities in and around the M25 area.   I wanted to highlight three of the presentations that I enjoyed.

Presenter:Janina Dewitz from UCL Topic: Hackathon

Janina has been involved in organising Hackathons for UCL.  These are friendly, competitive events for UCL staff and students that usually take place over a whole weekend at venues like the O2.  Attendees are divided into groups where they are asked to raise a challenge or a problem to solve.  The groups brainstorm and exchange ideas on how to solve the problem and in some sessions they will actually develop a solution prototype.  Prizes are awarded for the best solutions.

Incorporating Virtual Reality (VR) into Online Courses

This is a short blog post on the potential of using virtual reality (VR) content in e-learning courses. I recently attended the Learning Technologies Summer Forum at Olympia in London. This was the second Learning Technologies event that I have attended this year, following the conference & exhibition that took place in January.   Although I found the event slightly disappointing due to the lack of seminars, one area that stood out was the growing number of exhibitors demonstrating e-learning content through virtual reality headsets.  Furthermore, the exhibitors from Kallidus managed to win over the crowd by giving away free Google Cardboard before their seminar entitled ‘Getting started with VR: myths, realities and practicalities’ which you can download from this page.

Blackboard Learning & Teaching Conference 2016 Review

Groningen in the Netherlands recently hosted the 2016 Blackboard EMEA conference.  The three day conference was the biggest that Blackboard have held in Europe and featured over 420 delegates from 19 different countries.  Before discussing the conference, I must say that Groningen was a great location to hold the event.  It is a small picturesque town dominated by University of Groningen and surrounded by canals and ‘car free’ streets full of cyclists.  Furthermore, the town also hosted the fantastic ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition and Blackboard delegates were given free access to this after hours.

Nosferatu making an appearance in Groningen Busy street Starman outfit from the ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition University of Groningen – one or two bikes in the foreground.

Learning Technologies 2016: Authoring Tools Review 4/2/16

by John Ramsay

(c) Learning Technolgies

On Thursday 4th February, I attended the Learning Technologies event at Olympia in London.  Learning Technologies is a showcase for organisations to demonstrate the latest advances in workplace learning and learning technology.  With over 140 free seminars over two days, I decided to focus my attention on the latest e-learning authoring tools to see if they offered a viable alternative to established products such as Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline.

The three main seminars that I attended were;

  • WMB: E-Learning is Dead!
  • eLB: Become an E-Learning Rockstar
  • Appitierre Ltd: Enabling Everyone to Create Multi-device E-Learning Content

You can find a short summary of each presentations below.

Panopto Conference 2015: The future of video for learning – 21/10/15

Amidst a slew of Back to the Future quotes, images and analogies the Panopto 2015 conference looked to focus on “The future of video for learning

If it did manage to pass you by 21st October 2015 was the day Marty and the Doc travelled to in Back to the Future II… See Wikipedia for more details if you are interested!

(Photo: Universal Pictures)

The conference this year was held at the America Square Conference Centre, an interesting feature of the conference centre is that it is built over part of the original London Wall (one of the largest construction projects carried out in Roman Britain) and this has been exposed and displayed in the refreshment area.

London Blackboard User Group Meeting Review – 31/07/15

Review by John Ramsay.

I recently attended the summer 2015 London BUG meeting at Regent’s University. The theme for the event was ‘Enhancing Blackboard with Plugins and Building Blocks’ and below are some of the key points that emerged from the meeting;

  • BbStudent app – coming soon
  • Blackboard Collaborate – Ultra Roadmap released
  • Turnitin: Next – new look for Turnitin
  • Bb roadshows in November 2015
  • 2015 Bb World slides- now available

I will now look at some of the key points from BUG in more detail.

Blackboard World and Ultra Updates

Ashley Wright from Blackboard started his presentation by speaking briefly about the recent BbWorld conference from Washington DC.