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Blackboard Idea Exchange

5 Posts authored by: brad.evans

Hello, community. Thank you for participating in our most recent round of voting. This round was focused on ideas for Ultra courses. Over the next month or so, we will be finalizing our list of targeted work for Q4. Once that list is firm, I will reach out to the community members who voted for the ideas we're moving forward with to schedule a discussion with the Product Manager and/or Designer who will be responsible for that feature. We will share designs if they're available and talk about how we might implement the idea(s). For the ideas we are not moving forward with in Q4, I'll add a note to them describing where they fit in our current plans. So, more to come soon! In the meantime, I've included the voting results below.


Thank you again for contributing to our community!



Thank you for engaging in the recent round of voting on ideas for the Original course experience. Voting was open for three weeks and you collectively cast over 900 votes! I love seeing the increased participation in views, comments, and new ideas you’ve been creating. As we speak, we are working with our Developers and Designers on a handful of the top-voted ideas to familiarize them with your needs and determine what we can prioritize for the Q4 2017 release. Once we have that list finalized, I’ll be reaching out to the community members who voted for those ideas to talk about how the feature will be developed and what you can expect to see within the product. Please see below for a full list of the ideas we opened for voting and the vote totals for each. We will continue building on this momentum with a round of voting for Ultra course ideas leading up to BbWorld. As we continue to develop Ultra, we welcome your feedback and ideas to directly impact included features and capabilities. Thank you again for participating in this exercise and in the community overall. Your input has a direct impact on our roadmap and we are committed to building innovative, integrated, and relevant solutions that enable you continue delivering quality educational experiences for your users.



Idea Review Process

Posted by brad.evans Jan 10, 2017





Implement a simple, transparent process for reviewing, voting for, and building your most popular ideas for new features. While I’ve generally outlined the voting process we used earlier this year, the backlog and inflow of new ideas has reached a point where it has become necessary to formalize the entire lifecycle of ideas. In the next week or so, we will be reviewing and updating all existing ideas based on this process.


New Ideas

The way you’ve been creating new ideas will not change. Either myself or another Product Manager will continue reviewing all new ideas and tagging, updating the product and experience (Original or Ultra), and posting follow-up questions as needed. Remember, the most useful ideas are focused on a problem or business need rather than the exact way the solution should be built. New ideas will remain open for at least 30 days. After that time, its stage will be updated based on how many views, comments, and bookmarks it has received, and other external factors.



Several times per year, we will open a set of ideas for voting. These voting periods will generally align with our development planning cycles for both Original and Ultra experiences in order to receive the most timely feedback from the community. The ideas chosen for voting will be based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to: number and nature of comments, number of views, feedback from users outside of the community site, business goals/priorities, and prior voting results. Voting will remain open for two weeks. While we will be interested in pursuing all ideas that receive a large number of votes, we will not be able to deliver on every idea, even those that finish very high or at the top of a voting period. However, we will strive to be transparent and share our reasoning when we choose not to add ideas that the community is passionate about to our near-term plans. Ideas not chosen for voting will either be archived or remain in the For Future Consideration stage, depending again on the same criteria outlined above.


Product Development Partnership

As a follow-up activity for the ideas we will be moving forward with, we are bringing back the Product Development Partnership. After each voting period, we will choose at least one of the ideas for a set of collaborative webinars. During these discussions we intend to share designs, talk about how we will break down the functionality into deliverable milestones, and project rough timelines for building the new feature. We will begin by inviting the community members who voted for the idea, but will include as many interested participants as we can support.


Because it will not be feasible to do this for every idea we intend to build, we will kick it off with one per voting period. We certainly expect to build more than one idea from each voting period, though, so an idea not being chosen for this activity does not mean that we are not interested in building it! Also at the end of each voting session, the stage of each idea will be updated appropriately, based on number of votes, number and nature of comments, and our intentions for building or not building that idea.


Archiving Ideas

In the interest of maintaining an orderly, working backlog, we will review and archive ideas at each step of the lifecycle. Between voting periods, we will archive ideas that have been open for at least 30 days that have not garnered a minimum level of activity. We will seek to normalize activity across all open ideas, so that an idea that has been open for 60 days is given similar consideration as an idea that has been open for 30. Ideas may also be archived if they are not chosen for voting or if they finish very low in a round of voting. We will never archive an idea that has moved beyond the Under Review stage without first posting a comment explaining why we are not moving the idea forward at that time.


Ideas that are archived can be resubmitted, but it may be best to give the idea some time before doing so. If an idea is resubmitted but does not meet the minimum level of activity, it will be eligible for archiving after its first 30 days. Again, our intention is to keep a consumable number of open, active ideas in the backlog. If we do not have a desire to develop a feature in the next 12-24 months, it benefits the backlog to archive it and revisit the idea in the future.




  • Under Review: This is the default stage for new ideas. Ideas in this stage are available for viewing, comments, and bookmarks. Ideas will remain in the Under Review stage for at least 30 days.
  • For Future Consideration: Ideas meeting a minimum level of activity will be moved from Under Review to the For Future Consideration stage. Many of the ideas that are chosen for voting will come from this stage. We will also use this stage for ideas that have gone through a round of voting but will not be included in the next few releases. In order to keep the backlog meaningful and manageable, we will limit the number of ideas in the For Future Consideration stage to 100.
  • Open for Voting: Ideas in this stage are open for your votes! You can vote one time on each idea and you can vote on as many ideas as you’d like. Ideas will remain in the Open for Voting stage for two weeks.
  • Planned: Ideas in this stage have usually gone through a round of voting and we intend to deliver them in a coming release.
  • Delivered: These ideas have made it all the way through the process and are now available in Learn!
  • Archived: Archived ideas were open for at least 30 days and may have even gone through a round of voting, but either did not interest the community or will not be built in the next 12-24 months. We will never archive an idea that has moved beyond the Under Review stage without first posting a comment explaining why we are not moving the idea forward at that time.

Voting Kick-off!

Posted by brad.evans May 6, 2016

We are excited to announce our first round of community voting! The purpose of this voting is to get your direct feedback on where you would like us to focus development efforts for Learn. Beginning this week and going through the end of May, we are moving a filtered set of Ideas to the Active stage and making them available for voting you to vote on what is most important to your institution. The list we’re we are opening for voting is a combination of Ideas you’ve submitted and some work we’re considering for the next couple upcoming releases. We’ve included some Ideas of our own in order to validate our priorities and see how important they are to you relative to the Ideas you have created submitted.


You will be able to vote for each Idea once and you can vote for as many Ideas as you’d like. At the end of this voting period, we will move each Idea to a new stage based on your votes, comments, and our plans for that feature.


For this round, we will be voting on Ideas for environments using the Original experience only. Our next round of voting, which we expect to run during the month of June, will focus on Ideas for the Ultra experience. Please see below for the list of Ideas that are open for voting in May. We are looking forward to seeing the results and want to thank you again for your participation and for sharing your insights!


June 13 Update: I have updated the Ideas that are open for voting. For this round, please keep in mind that we are focused specifically on the Ultra course experience. If you have not yet explored Ultra courses, please take a minute to check out the Educator Preview site to get first hand experience with the new look and feel. I'm expecting these Ideas to be open through BbWorld, so please help spread the word and share your feedback!


Beta Phase Ideation:

Within the next few weeks, we will open up Idea submission to you, the users! You will be able to create ideas, provide descriptions, add images or videos to illustrate, add categories to your idea based on the product, and even @mention other users or posted ideas that give further context to your brilliant idea (see Using @mention or Creating @mentions to learn more).


For the beta phase, we will be asking for your feedback in our Ideas space. Think of this as a Suggestion Box that will be reviewed and triaged by your Blackboard Product Managers. Once you hit submit, it will go into our moderation queue where our Product Managers will review your idea and compare it with ideas that other users have submitted to try to avoid duplicates. Once a Product Manager has read your idea, asked for any clarification that may be needed, and is ready for the Community to view and discuss it, we'll move it to the "First Submission" stage. This is the initial feedback stage and will allow other members to view and comment on your idea. Voting is not active in this stage.




Periodically, we will move ideas to the 'Active' stage -- this is where we want your vote. Voting an idea up or down will add or subtract 5 points. Vote on as many ideas in the Active stage as you wish. You can also continue to add your feedback in the comments section. We expect that ideas that are moved to Active will be open to voting for a specified time period. When a voting period ends, ideas will be moved to one of many different stages (i.e., In Progress, Under Review, etc.) based on your feedback, votes, and our current expectations or plans for that idea.


Do you have any questions or concerns? We would love to hear your ideas about ideas in the comments to this blog. We are excited to see what you and your community of Blackboard users will submit!