September 2012

Spotlight on CourseEval by ConnectEDU

We’re excited to announce that our Signature partner, ConnectEDU, is releasing a new version of their CoursEval product – including an updated Building Block for the Blackboard LearnTM platform – on October 4. 

CoursEval 3.74 will offer a variety of improvements suggested by current customers including organizational changes, a new look and feel, and the ability to cross-list courses and access to powerful new reports. Here are some of the new features of CoursEval:

  • A new version of Blackboard Building Block gives you the ability to create three distinct custom messages with the color, font size, images, and links of your choice to promote an increase in response rates.
  • The Survey Intelligence Report will offer an alternative to the current Comparative Report. Perfect for department and course comparison, this executive report is configurable, and results can be published and shared via an authenticated portal or email link or to the public directly from your campus website with no authentication.
  • Course Merge will let Managers easily merge all the survey data from cross-listed courses into one "master course" result. This ability to merge course results is especially useful for reporting survey results for small-enrollment classes, while still preserving anonymity.
  • Enhanced search methods allow for advanced search options throughout the product, which benefits schools working with large amounts of data.
  • The new menu and cleaner look is more modern and easier to use.
  • Evaluation report enhancements include performance improvements and additional statistics.

More information is available here or by contacting

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Spotlight on Atomic Learning

Signature Partner, Atomic Learning, offers educational institutions cost-effective solutions for on-demand technology training and support through a library of more than 65,000 software training tutorials. We are excited to announce that Atomic Learning’s technology solutions will soon be available through the Atomic Learning Building Block.  The Building Block will more deeply integrate Atomic Learning’s online training videos within the Blackboard Learn™ platform. The Building Block is slated to be released in October.  

Features of the Building Block include:

Atomic Learning module
The Atomic Learning module gives Blackboard Learn users who license Community and Content Module quick access to the available software training tutorials in available from Atomic Learning.

A simple search experience will be made available to users right within Blackboard Learn. This provides users instant access to Atomic Learning, providing seamless integration between these two powerful tools. 

The Building Block will be available under Mashups in your Blackboard Learn course.  This provides instructors with the ability to add Atomic Learning content to courses, discussions, and quizzes, with a few simple clicks.

Grade Center
Instructors will have the option to include Atomic Learning content in the Grade Center. This allows instructors to monitor student progress by tracking views of a specific series or an individual tutorial.

Sign up at to be notified when the Building Block becomes available.

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ShareStream Launches New Website

ShareStream is pleased to announce that it has gone live with a new corporate website.  ShareStream’s new website provides the most up-to-date source of product information for ShareStream’s Video Platform for Education. 

Fueled by growing momentum behind the use of media for online education, ShareStream has released over the last quarter extensive new functionality into its pioneering video solution for education.  ShareStream’s new website presents the latest information on product developments, including: 

  • Multiple enhancements to ShareStream’s Building Block for the Blackboard Learn platform, including deeper integration of ShareStream features for user and student-generated media with the Blackboard Learn™ platform
  • More extensive functionality for mobile media
  • Additional features for video accessibility
  • Broader support for the ingestion and playback of lecture-capture files

Check it out.

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System Administrators: The Key to Implementing New Technologies

Last month, we launched a special contest just for Blackboard Learn System Administrators. At Blackboard, we recognize these IT Professionals as the key to opening doors to new technologies at their institution. The contest distinguished its participants by recognizing the individuals in this extraordinary group as Blackboard Sys Admin Superstars because they took time out of their very busy schedule – during the back-to-school time frame – to install the latest and greatest Blackboard Building Blocks from our Publisher Partners. Because these Superstars participated in our contest, the Faculty at their institutions can now integrate dynamic digital content in to their Blackboard Learn courses for this fall. And this isn’t just any kind of dynamic digital content. It’s the content that is used by over 75% of students.

Bottom line: Sys Admin Superstars are providing students at their institutions with a more convenient and digital learning experience with their course content within their Blackboard Learn course.

Everyone who participated in the contest is a Blackboard Sys Admin Superstar and we welcome everyone to use the official “Superstar” badge posted here on your Facebook, LinkedIN, Pinterest, blog or any other personal channel profile. Or, print it out and tape it to your computer monitor, pin it to your bulletin board, or tape it to your office door! Either way, know that this badge is a reminder of our appreciation of you.

We’d also like to give a special thanks to participant Melissa Stange from Shenandoah University. Melissa owns several of Blackboard’s badges: BbWorld VIP Blogger, 2011 Blackboard Catalyst Award Winner, Digital Badge for participating in Blackboard CourseSites first MOOC and can now add Blackboard Sys Admin Superstar to her growing professional repertoire. Thank you, Melissa, for leading the charge!

View the list of Sys Admin Superstars who are eligible to win the $100 American Express Gift card!

Back to Top Named One of the "Best Websites for Your Career"

Forbes recently asked readers to nominate their favorite and most useful career websites and received submissions for 700 different websites. The final list was just released, and we are very excited to learn that Blackboard Premier Partner has been selected for their list of The 10 Best Websites for Your Career!


The 10 Best Websites for Your Career - #7

From the Forbes article: bills itself as the world’s largest internship marketplace where employers can post internships and get access to its internship database for free. At last count the site had nearly 60,000 postings at 25,000 companies in 8,800 cities across the U.S. The site includes paid and unpaid, full and part-time internships. One useful feature: a “Who?” button that includes a Facebook sign-in and shows which of an applicant’s Facebook friends are connected to the hiring company.

Click to read the full article on and view the rest of the list – The 10 Best Websites for Your Career, Forbes.

Download the Building Block today and help your students succeed beyond the classroom.

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Faculty-Focused Initiatives

With an eye towards increasing faculty adoption and usage of Blackboard Learn, Blackboard is rolling out a number of faculty-focused activities this Fall. Take a look at these upcoming events and share these with faculty at your institution.

1)    Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS) – Monthly webinars

The Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS) is a training initiative to help augment on-campus faculty training efforts. It consists of monthly faculty webinars focusing on best practices for using Blackboard tools in teaching and learning. Harnessing our community of Blackboard users, BITS will share the top strategies and pedagogy for both increasing educator efficiency and improving learning outcomes. This program will consist of monthly faculty training webinars that will be taught by faculty from higher ed institutions and supported by Blackboard experts.

The program is free to Blackboard’s higher education customers.

For more information, click here.

View the BITS schedule

2)    Digital Content Cohort – September 24th through November 5th

The Digital Content Cohort Program is a 6 week series of virtual meetings designed to help faculty learn how to find, adopt and share content efficiently and seamlessly through Blackboard Learn.  Beginning September 24th and lasting through November 5th, the program consists of weekly Monday sessions from 4pm-5pm ET via Collaborate.

The course creation process can be overwhelming with many content options available to instructors today – from textbooks and the publishers’ integrated learning systems to infinite amounts of web content and resources.  Blackboard is pursuing a strategy to integrate all of this content into the single and familiar course experience of Blackboard Learn.   Clients now have access to publishers’ rich digital content, community-generated content and instructor-developed content in a single location. Instructors and students both can expect greater choice in teaching materials and more options for consuming instructional content. Find out how Blackboard Learn can become your power source for dynamic content and creative tools.

The Digital Content Cohort is targeted towards Higher Education Educators, Instructors, Faculty, and Instructional Designers/Technologists. It will give attendees the opportunity to:

  • Hear from publisher and product experts about the content available to you
  • Learn how to build your course, your way!
  • Collaborate and share with your peers

Participation is easy and flexible. Join our Blackboard Collaborate (VOIP only) live weekly sessions or watch recorded sessions at your convenience. Please note that to integrate the Publishers' content in your own courses, you must be running Learn 9.1 SP6 or higher.

Click here for more information.

3)    CourseSites Open Course Series: “Designing an Exemplary Course" – September 26th-October 17th

Blackboard is pleased to announce the addition of a new course to the CourseSites Open Course Series, 'Designing an Exemplary Course," coming this September. Using the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program (ECP) Rubric as a guide, this open course will provide both theoretical concepts and practical tools for instructors to recognize, organize, and build online courses for both blended learners and online learners. The course, taught by faculty, will be geared toward educators in K-12, higher education and continuing education environments who teach web-enhanced, blended, or fully online courses.

  • Course Duration: September 26 - October 17
  • Course Format: Asynchronous content and activities; 1 live session per week
  • Presenters: ECP Directors and 2012 ECP Winners representing over ten institutions
  • Course Location: CourseSites by Blackboard, a free and open online learning platform

For more information and to register, click here.

4)    Online Training from Blackboard Consulting:  “Develop Engaging and Effective Online Courses:  Tour Your Training Options” – Webinar on September 27th

Intended for both Instructional Designers and Faculty, this complimentary 30-minute webinar will tour online training and certification options for faculty.   Whether you develop courses or train those who do -- we have training for you.

Increase your proficiency with building online or blended courses, engaging learners, and assessing performance.  Led by Blackboard Training Expert, Connie Weber, you’ll learn more about Blackboard’s Certification programs for Instructional Designers and Faculty, and get advice about which one is right for your needs.

To register for the webinar, click here.

5)    “Designing Your Course for the Facebook Generation” – Sponsored by Quality Matters, Blackboard and WileyPLUS

Friday, October 19th, 2012 or Friday, October 26th, 2012
12 p.m. EST - 3 p.m. EST

  • Faculty: Looking to teach online or incorporate online resources into your course whether you're teaching face-to-face, online or a hybrid of both? You'll learn the best ways to engage the online learner.
  • Course Designers: Supporting faculty on your campus faced with the challenge of sustaining student motivation online?  Attend this virtual workshop to review best practices based on the Quality Matters rubric.
  • Administrators: Wanting to leverage your Blackboard Learn™ investment to ensure a more effective teaching and learning environment? Discover the advantages of integrating all course-specific materials into your Blackboard Learn experience.

(CPE credits available for Accounting and Nutrition instructors.*)

For more information or to register, go to

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Event Recap

VaBUG 2012 Conference
More than 120 attendees from over 50 institutions gathered at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA September 21st for the third annual conference of the Virginia Blackboard Users Group (VaBUG). Attendees had the opportunity to view demonstrations and presentations as well as interact directly with Blackboard leadership and the eight Blackboard Partners including WileyPlus, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Pearson, CourseSmart, Waypoint Outcomes, Atomic Learning, School Chapters, and Software Secure that exhibited at the conference.

Highlights from the conference include:
  • Keynote address from Katie Blot, President of Blackboard Global Services, reflecting on the conference theme “Expanding the Classroom: Doing More with Digital Content” and Blackboard’s company strategy.
  • A presentation on The Blackboard Roadmap by the Product Development team at Blackboard.
  • Demonstrations of Publisher Building Blocks conducted by Darek Sady, Solutions Engineer Blackboard Partnerships.

PalmettoBUG 2012 Conference

On Friday, September 21, Winthrop University welcomed 30 members of the South Carolina Blackboard Users Group (“PalmettoBUG”) to Rock Hill, SC for their fall conference. The event was packed with presentations from Blackboard and our partners.

Blackboard Strategic Partner WileyPLUS was represented by Julie Porterfield, a Human Anatomy and Physiology instructor from Tulsa Community College, who shared her expertise integrating WileyPLUS content into Blackboard Learn with the WileyPLUS Building Block.

Attendees stayed well after the conclusion of Blackboard Premier Partner Kaltura’s presentation to ask questions and get more information about their rich media and video management solution, which is accessible directly inside of the Blackboard Learn platform. Blackboard Premier Partner demonstrated their Building Block for Blackboard Learn, which gives students access to the largest marketplace for internships, part-time jobs, and entry level positions from directly within the Blackboard Learn environment.

Attendees were also excited to learn more about Blackboard Signature Partner Respondus’ LockDown Browser, a custom browser that locks down the Blackboard Learn testing environment. And instructors got a glimpse of Blackboard Signature Partner CourseSmart’s Building Block, which gives faculty instant access to assign and deep-link to eTextbooks from their Blackboard Learn course.
For more information about our partners or how to join a Blackboard User Group, please email

Sign Up for up-to-the-minute conference updates via voice/text message or email. Be the first to hear about the big Blackboard announcements at EDUCAUSE 2012, and get on the list for your favorite Blackboard events:
  • The Client Appreciation Party (and Famous Blackboard After Party)
  • Product Announcements & Briefings
  • Showcase Sessions
  • One-On-One Client Meetings
  • Relevant Speaking Sessions
... and plenty more! Click here to sign up now!
Meet with Blackboard
Interested in speaking with someone from Blackboard during EDUCAUSE 2012? Schedule a meeting with your account representative or a Blackboard executive.

Click here to sign up now.

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CourseSmart Webinar: Free Faculty Access to Textbooks

Leverage your pre-existing Blackboard Learn environment to provide free faculty access to over 30,000 core textbooks and easily deliver digital course content to students utilizing the CourseSmart platform.

Need a free, non-intrusive solution for providing faculty access to over 90% of available core-textbooks?  CourseSmart seamlessly integrates with the Blackboard Learn platform, providing faculty instant access to the largest library of digital course materials used in higher education today.  Additionally, you can add links to course materials within your course outline to provide a seamless learning experience for your students.

As the leading service provider in higher education, we extend the capabilities of the Blackboard Learn platform to provide a streamlined instructor workflow as well as superior student experience – all while providing savings of as much as 60%.

What you’ll learn from this webinar series
  • How CourseSmart easily integrates with the Blackboard Learn platform
  • Efficient instructor workflows for adopting and delivering content through the Blackboard Learn courses
  • Our interactive student experience with digital course materials
Friday, September 28 at 9:00am PST / 12:00pm EST

To view the presentation, select the following link:

Dial in for audio:
1 (877) 746-4263
Participant Code: 02 40 965#

We look forward to your attendance!