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DevCon 2015: The Keynotes

Posted by scott.hurrey Jun 18, 2015

One of the highlights of DevCon is always the key note sessions. These sessions are always a great place to learn about the direction of the Blackboard Learn platform from Blackboard leaders, as well as external speakers that bring new insight and vision into topics of emerging or evolving importance to Developers and System Administrators.


DevCon 2015 continues this tradition in glorious fashion!

Opening Session


The opening session at this year's DevCon will feature Peter George, Senior Vice President, Product Development, Support And Cloud Services at Blackboard. Peter is the new head of Blackboard's Product Development group, and as such, is responsible for driving the innovation for the entirety of the Blackboard portfolio. This will be a chance for DevCon attendees to hear about the direction of Blackboard directly from the proverbial horse's mouth.


Peter's Keynote, entitled, "Working Together to Shape the Future of Learning," will introduce the foundation of Blackboard's New Learning Environment and focus on learner-centric design. The session will cover key concepts in this approach, such as the integration of the Blackboard suite of products from a disparate group of related products into a cohesive, unified experience. George will also discuss the new Blackboard Learn SaaS deployment model, and why it enables Blackboard to provide a greater innovation is a more scalable and stable way. He will also discuss the new Ultra experience, and why and how an institution should prepare for the transition, Blackboard's focus on the mobile, always-on experience, and leveraging analytics to make insightful decisions. Lastly -- but certainly not least -- Peter will emphasize the continued investment in the Learn Platform.


Attendees should leave this opening session with the high-level knowledge needed to understand where Blackboard is headed and to be prepared for the rest of the conference, and specifically, which break out sessions are must-see for them.


External Keynote


The DevCon team is excited to announce that Ryan Baker, Associate Professor of Cognitive Studies in Education from Columbia University has agreed to be the external keynote for DevCon 2015. Ryan is a leader in the use of data analysis to predict student outcomes. While this is a seemingly new trend to the marketplace, Baker and his research laboratory have been studying this for more than a decade.


In "Predicting Learner Outcomes with Learning Analytics," Ryan will talk about the work his team has done to predict a large range of outcomes, including course success, a Learner's preparedness for future learning opportunities, long-term educational attainment, and even participation in scientific communities of practice. Baker will discuss what to keep in mind when developing a product to capture the best data for analysis, as well as providing insight into best practices for developing data analytics.


Attendees will leave this session cognizant of the data their applications should be tracking and why, as well as how to approach the use of this data to make informed decisions around student outcomes.


Closing Session


Jon Kolko will close out this year's DevCon with his talk, "Well Designed: How to Use Empathy to Design Products People Love." Jon is Blackboard's Vice President of Design, and he brings to Blackboard his innovative approach to design; that design is a feeling that is evoked by human-application interaction that is above and beyond just a flashy screen or smooth workflow. Jon will use this keynote session to share that vision with DevCon.


This session will be less about the specificities of Blackboard Learn, and more about the philosophy behind good design. It is not only the visual appeal of a product, but also the process by which a product is conceived, utilizing empathy for the end users using a product and the goals they hope to achieve to anticipate problems and challenges and to identify solutions that will have a strong emotional appeal to the user, while still fitting in with product and market requirements. This is the philosophy of Blackboard's Design team, and the impetus for the usability and user experience improvements across the spectrum of the Blackboard suite of products that have been shown over the past year.


Attendees will leave this session with a new way to think about the overall design process, as well as new insight into the internal thought process behind Blackboard's product innovations.


Learn More about DevCon or Register now. Then stay tuned over the next few weeks for more information about the sessions, events, and networking opportunities you can look forward to at DevCon. We’ll see you in DC!