December 2011
Blackboard and NBC Learn Partner to Launch Online Video Series
Kick Start Your Students’ Careers in 2012 with Blackboard and

Help Faculty Get Ready for the Next Semester
New White Paper: Making Continuous System Availability Affordable


2012 Blackboard Catalyst Awards

Blackboard and NBC Learn Partner to Launch Online Video Series Focusing on Innovative “Solutions in Action”

Together, Blackboard and NBC Learn celebrate education’s top influencers and their contributions with Solutions in Action - an inspiring series of video interviews that highlight who is succeeding and how they’re doing it.

NBC News Chief Education Correspondent Rehema Ellis sits down with education innovators who are using technology in new ways to create solutions that work:
  • See how Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of UMBC, uses technology in new ways to change attitudes about math and science.
  • Understand how Julie Young, President & CEO of Florida Virtual School uses technology to close the gap between how students live and how they learn.
  • Marc Ecko, fashion designer and founder of Sweat Equity Education, scales education’s biggest challenges and uncovers ideas about how to build a better education experience through applied learning.
You’ll hear how these individuals are taking unique perspectives and leveraging technology in new ways to solve the challenges educators face every day.

Join us as we look through a different lens and uncover the ideas to build a better education experience.

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Kick Start Your Students’ Careers in 2012 with Blackboard and

More and more employers say real-world experience is the key to getting a job in today’s increasingly competitive global economy.  That’s why Blackboard has joined forces with, the largest marketplace for internships, part-time jobs and entry-level positions, to expand and diversify on-campus job search and career development options for students within Blackboard Learn™. 

The free Building Block built by Blackboard delivers an integrated, career-oriented experience within the Blackboard Learn platform with single sign-on access to original content and proprietary career development tools:

  • New “My Career” Tab – Provides a single destination for all resources within Blackboard Learn
  • Universal Search Tool – Enables students to search and apply for internships and jobs on the “My Institution” and “Course” pages
  • Facebook Integration – Allows students to repurpose their social networks to find jobs and get introduced to hiring companies
  • Career Development Tools –Career Predictor, Resume Builder and more!

Internships & summer jobs fill up fast - the time to act is now!
The free Building Block is available now Behind the Blackboard for clients on Blackboard Learn 9.1, Service Pack 5 and above with Community Module.

For Blackboard Learn clients who do not currently license the Community Module, please complete this form so that we can notify you when a compatible version of the building block is available.*

To learn more, contact your Blackboard Learn Account Representative or visit:

*Statements regarding our product development initiatives, including new products and future product upgrades, updates or enhancements represent our current intentions, but may be modified, delayed or abandoned without prior notice and there is no assurance that such offering, upgrades, updates or functionality will become available unless and until they have been made generally available to our customers.

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Help Faculty Get Ready for the Next Semester

Blackboard and McGraw-Hill have joined forces to help institutions keep pace with, and get in front of, the demands of the next generation of learners.  Once the McGraw-Hill Building Block is installed on your institution’s production server, faculty will be able to easily discover and deploy content, assignments and assessments from McGraw-Hill’s proven learning object repositories from directly within the Blackboard Learn platform.

Help Faculty Pair Their Courses!

In order to prepare faculty to use the McGraw-Hill Building Block, download and review both the System Administrator and Instructor guides from Behind the Blackboard.  These documents will come in handy as faculty begin to pair their winter and spring courses. Additional resources, including a pairing demo, are available for faculty on the On Demand Learning Center.

You can also direct faculty to the McGraw-Hill Digital Success Academy for more resources to optimize the McGraw-Hill Building Block in the classroom, including step-by-step instructions on how to set up their courses before the start of the semester. In addition, McGraw-Hill hosts weekly webinars geared towards faculty to help them use the integrated solution.

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New White Paper: Making Continuous System Availability Affordable

With online learning taking a more central role in education, continuous system availability has become a critical requirement. Many institutions are implementing their Blackboard Learn™ environments with cluster configurations to reduce the risk of service outages.

This new white paper discusses how Blackboard Learn service levels can be increased using Windows 2008 R2 cluster services for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 running on Dell PowerEdge servers, Dell EqualLogic and Dell PowerVault storage.

Utilizing the capabilities of the Dell Public Solutions Center, Blackboard, Dell, and Microsoft partnered to create a solution architecture blueprint that delivers high availability for Blackboard Learn. Learn about the solution architecture, configuration guidelines, and best practices.

Download now.

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This fall over 750 Blackboard Learn users interacted with more than 15 Blackboard Partners at Blackboard user group (BUG) conferences across the country. BUG conferences are great opportunities for Blackboard clients to collaborate with their peers, and also to hear from our partners about the Extensions they offer for the Blackboard Learn™ platform. Here is a recap some of this fall’s events!

Virginia Blackboard Users Group (VaBUG)
September 23, Richmond, VA
Conference Coordinators: Melissa Stange and George Hoffman, Shenandoah University
•    165 Blackboard users from 47 higher ed, K-12, and corporate institutions
•    Keynote address by Stacey Fontenot, Vice President of Product Marketing for Blackboard Learn
•    15 breakout sessions presented by Blackboard clients and partners
•    Participating Blackboard Partners included: Sprint, NBC Learn,  Connect Yard, eXplorance, ShareStream and SoftChalk

Midwest Blackboard Users Group (SLATE)
October 13-14, University of Chicago
Conference Coordinator: Ken Sadowski, University of Chicago
•    219 Blackboard Learn users from 61 higher ed, K-12, and corporate institutions in eight states
•    Keynote leadership panel on how technology is changing education
•    45 breakout sessions presented by Blackboard Learn clients and partners
•    Participating Blackboard Partners included: McGraw-Hill, Sprint, NBC Learn, Follett, Kaltura, ShareStream, ConnectYard, SoftChalk, Learning Objects Inc., CoursEval by ConnectEDU, Respondus, and Coyote Point Systems

Northeast eLearning Consortium (NeLC/Philly BUG)
November 4, Wilmington University
Conference Coordinator: Sallie Reissman, Wilmington University
•    110 Blackboard Learn users from 30 higher ed institutions
•    Keynote address by Greg Ritter, Director of Product Management for Blackboard Learn, and Cathy Fowler, Regional Sales Manager for Blackboard Collaborate
•    6 breakout sessions presented by Blackboard clients
•    Participating Blackboard Partner: ShareStream

Texas Blackboard Users Group (TBUG)
November 9-11, University of Texas at Dallas
Conference Coordinators: Christine Salmon, Rhonda Blackburn, Debby Butler, UT Dallas
•    103 Blackboard users from 51 higher ed institutions
•    Keynote address by Rena Paloff and Keith Pratt, authors of Building Online Learning Communities, Collaborating Online and The Virtual Student
•    Participating Blackboard Partners included: McGraw-Hill, Oracle, Kaltura, NBC Learn, Follett, John Wiley & Sons, and ConnectYard

Michigan Blackboard Users Group (miBUG)
November 11, Davenport University
Conference Coordinators: Frank Jasper-Stump and John Niedzielski, Davenport University
•    60 Blackboard users from 12 higher ed institutions
•    Participating Blackboard Partners: Sprint and CourseSmart

Interested in participating in or starting your own BUG? Please contact Tiffany Tooley. For all other questions please contact The Blackboard Partner Team.

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2012 Blackboard Catalyst Awards

The 2012 Blackboard Catalyst Awards are now OPEN for submissions!  As you know, the Blackboard Catalyst Awards honors those who push the boundaries of their educational programs and technology in order to deliver innovative and effective learning experiences. This year, we will recognize innovators in the following categories: Community CollaborationExemplary CoursesInnovative DevelopmentMobile InnovationStaff Development and a new category –Communications Strategy. This program now supports multiple platforms including Learn, Connect, Mobile and Collaborate.
Clients who participate in this program get the opportunity to gain peer, institution, and industry recognition for their accomplishments. Those who participate in the ECP program learn course design best practices in the areas of engagement, collaboration, assessment and learner support.
Upcoming Important Dates to Remember:

  • December 1: Program is Open for Submissions – all categories
  • December 1: Call for Reviewers to review ECP course submissions
  • February 29: Submission Deadline
  • Early May: Winners selected for all categories
  • July: Winner Recognition at the Catalyst Awards Luncheon at BbWorld2012

To stay up-to-date on all things related to the Catalyst Awards, please ‘Like’ us on Facebook!

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Join the conversation @BbPartnerTeam and don’t forget to use #BbPartners when tweeting about Blackboard Partners!