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In August we offered an online event called 21 Days of Blackboard Data, in which members of the Blackboard community with SQL expertise could learn how to use the Developer Tier of the Blackboard Reporting Stack to answer common educational questions. We gathered a lot of feedback during and after this event, and have been making some changes in preparation for re-releasing this as a self-paced course. 


Previously, the course ran over 21 working days, with a new challenge released each day. We still recommend this as the best approach as it helps to build a habit, but we're aware that this isn't always possible. For this reason we've made the course self-paced - when you achieve at least 50% in a challenge the next becomes available to you - so you can choose to complete the course over a few days or spread it over a few weeks - it's entirely up to you. Each cohort will have access to the course and demo environment for 60 days, which we feel is plenty of time to complete the course and to dip back in when you want to retrieve something.


We've also improved some of the challenges, assessments and queries used, and included a solution script in addition to the solution walkthrough videos, so you can get help in your preferred format. These solution resources appear after your first attempt at the assessment.


One thing we've removed is the competition element - in this version you'll be competing against yourself. We would like to give some form of acknowledgement for those completing the course though, so we'll see if there's something we can add in the new Community site relating to this.


We think every institution will benefit from having one or more (there's no limit) member of staff participating on the course, regardless of whether you are currently eligible for Blackboard Data. But don't just listen to me - here's what our previous participants have to say:


Having completed the 21 Days of Blackboard experience, I am confident that our eventual migration to SaaS will greatly enhance our current reporting capabilities. 
Josh Carroll, Atlantic Cape Community College

21 Days was excellent way to explore the offerings of Blackboard Data. Combining guided walkthroughs of the data structures with hands-on activities using real data helped illustrate some of the ways we we will be able to use our own environment in order to address some of our institutional data needs. I look forward to using Blackboard Data at our institution and integrating it into our analytics toolkit.
Jeffrey Berman, Drexel University


We're nearly finished with these changes, and we're taking registrations for the course over at If you register before December 9th, you'll be included in the first cohort and receive access on or before December 13th. We'll then enrol a new cohort monthly. Note that if you've already registered your interest prior to November 27th, you'll need to re-register as we need a little more detail. And of course, if you already participated in a previous cohort you are more than welcome to re-register (note however that your previous progress and grades won't be there as it's a separate course).


Looking forward to taking another giant leap into Blackboard Data 

Blackboard Data is available right now, and Learn SaaS clients on continuous delivery with data in the USA, Europe or Sydney are eligible. However, this doesn’t mean that your Blackboard Data instance will only include this data source. Learn SaaS is the key to provisioning Blackboard Data, and once provisioned you’ll find data from all of the SaaS tools that you currently license. This includes Learn SaaS, Collaborate Ultra, Ally, SafeAssign and Mobile. And remember, this is available as part of the standard SaaS license at no additional cost.

Right now, what you’ll get is the Developer Tier of the Blackboard Reporting Stack, but once provisioned you’ll benefit from regular releases with incremental updates and eventually the Reporting and API tiers.


For those not on Learn SaaS, you'll become eligible soon as we widen eligibility to other SaaS tools, including OpenLMS, Collaborate Ultra, Ally etc. and we will of course announce these changes here in the Blackboard Data community.


Just to be clear, you won’t need to have a SaaS LMS or even license an LMS at all from Blackboard to benefit from Blackboard Data. For example, institutions licensing only Ally will still get access to Blackboard Data for Ally going forward. However, the more SaaS tools you license from Blackboard, the more insight you’ll get on this platform.


So, if you're eligible, simply request Blackboard Data provisioning through a Behind the Blackboard ticket. Provisioning is currently taking about a week, and we're working on reducing this timescale. To make things a little easier, here are the selections you'll need to make:


  • Product Line: Learn
  • Environment: Learn SaaS
  • Issue Topic: Blackboard Data
  • Functional Area: Provisioning


So provision your Blackboard Reporting Stack, give your SQL expert the keys to the Developer Tier and share your experiences in the blogs and forums in this community. We look forward to exploring Blackboard Data with you!

This year's Blackboard Analytics Symposium (BAS19) was held in Austin Convention Center, TX, and featured presentations from Blackboard Analytics clients, Product Management and Consulting, with a keynote presentation by Timothy McKay. Below you will find details of each session along with the presentation slides (in PDF format). Follow the Blackboard Analytics community for upcoming news about Blackboard Analytics Symposium 2020.


Timothy McKayEngaging Faculty in Learning Analytics: from One Institution to Many (Keynote)Many faculty members care deeply about the success of their students. Given the opportunity, they are eager to use learning analytics methods to support that success. In this talk, I will tell the story of the discovery, loss, rediscovery, and expansion in the use of learning analytics at the University of Michigan. I will also describe newly emerging ways in which multi-institutional data can be brought to bear in motivating change in higher education.
Andy Miller, Ruth Newberry, Szymon Machajewski, Christopher Brandt, Venkat Gadepalli5 in 5 PresentationsPresenters have 5 minutes and a limit of 5 slides to present information and results from one high-impact learning analytics project / strategy / initiative from their institution. These will be engaging, high-impact, TED talk style presentations and will be professionally recorded for asynchronous viewing
Rachel SchererBlackboard Portfolio KeynoteBlackboard provides a range of analytics solutions to help drive and monitor educational and institutional strategies. Learn about the currently available solutions as well as upcoming analytics capabilities to help you make effective and informed decisions.
Andy MillerDramatically Decode Data: Debunking the Data-Storytelling OxymoronIt doesn't matter how compelling your data are, if you cannot communicate, you cannot convince people to act. The concepts of storytelling typically engage the right brain, whereas analytics engages the left brain, making the idea of Storytelling with Data a bit of an oxymoron. Yet, this truth remains a critical component in driving action via data. Learn some fundamental principles in communication and effective storytelling to engage your audience and drive action.
Sharlene Heard, Lauri Mantooth, Ming Wright, Ken MurphyHappiness is Warm People, Financial and Student Data: The Chapman University StoryIn 2 years, Chapman University implemented Blackboard Analytics modules in support of student, HR and financial reporting.  Come hear how Chapman University is empowering units across the University with analytical tools for better decision making.
Christopher BrandtDeveloping the Data Analyst as Internal ConsultantThis session will cover the scalability of data expertise through the development of subject matter experts (SME) data analysts into “internal consultants” and discuss their mentor development based on Human Recourse Development (HRD) principles that empower and enable these individuals and their expertise to be known utilized as a resource throughout the university.
Liz Crowell, Sean GausmanThe Trials and Tribulations of Building a Custom DashboardFrom the humble beginnings of automating a paper statistics report to predictive analytics, the KPI Dashboard (custom built by the IDEA Team at UCO using Blackboard Analytics) has had its share of growing pains as well as triumphs. This session will discuss some of the features (room search, schedule toxicity, enrollment projection, and department and university profiles) and the pitfalls, both hit and avoided, along the way. We will also look at additional uses and features that we hope to implement in the future. Come to commiserate or learn from our mistakes.
Curt ShermanThe Cost of Instruction: Using Analytics to Improve Decision Making about Academic Programs

Concordia University is using data analytics to better understand the true costs of instruction. With Blackboard Analytics, Concordia is able to calculate cost and revenue measures at an atomic level. Because measures are available at the finest possible grain, data can be viewed at the level of individual class sections and student registrations in those sections. Measures of direct instructional compensation are also available at the level of individual instructional assignments to sections.

Because measures are calculated at the atomic level, class measures can be rolled up to courses, subjects, departments, colleges, instruction methods, and other attributes. Student registrations can also be rolled up by students, student levels, programs, and majors. This has also afforded Concordia-Nebraska the flexibility to build out sub-populations for views by athletic teams and other areas.

This flexibility in analyzing and exploring data allows our Institution to ask the fundamental question “Who is Teaching what to whom and at what cost”. This measured information allows the University to make better informed decisions on programs and methods of teaching across campus.

Andy MillerNo Surprise: The Most Obvious Solution to Cultural ChangePredictive modeling student success can be quite complex, so too is fostering a scaling analytics adoption across the enterprise. Despite these complexities, there is one ostensibly obvious metric that is often overlooked. Learn more about this metric and how it has increased student success, aided analytics adoption, and enhanced faculty compliance for providing clean & reliable data.
Christopher BrandtPolicy Based Data GovernanceData Governance is not a one size fits all concept. It is much more like a tailored suit or dress. Every organization needs to get the right fit for their needs. Higher education is not the private sector. Can higher education develop a method or model that works for its complexities? Could the Policy Governance system developed by John Carver make a difference in the way we run data governance in higher education? Do you want to join the conversation?

We have now finalised the registration process for Blackboard Analytics Symposium 2019, which is happening on July 22-23 in Austin, TX, followed by BbWorld. BAS continues to be a free event, but registration is required. Please register for attendance at


We are also still accepting submissions for presentation proposals, click here to find out more and submit your proposal.


As always, further information about the symposium can be found on the Blackboard Analytics Website, and we'll continue to post updates in the Community site.


I look forward to seeing you there ;-)

I have some great news to share, and it's something that I'm aware most of you have been waiting for. Blackboard has certified the new Pyramid Analytics business intelligence software, and we're ready to begin deployment. Let me give you a little more information about the application before we talk about the transition process...


Pyramid are replacing BIOffice with a brand new application called "Pyramid". You've probably heard of this as "Pyramid 2018" but, for obvious reasons, they've decided to drop the year off the name (though it's still used for versioning). It's a little confusing as I for one have been referring to BIOffice as "Pyramid" for half a decade, but I'm sure we'll get used to it. The big headline is that Pyramid is a full-html application and so no longer requires Microsoft Silverlight (yay!). There's also a bunch of new features, and many existing features have been fully overhauled to make them easier to use - let's just say that if you're a user of cascading prompts you're going to be very happy. Finally, there is comprehensive help documentation and tutorial videos, and I'm sure that those of you who are already confident users of BIOffice will quickly adapt to the new software.


With any significant upgrade there's bound to be some change management required - and remember that this isn't an upgrade, it's a completely new application - and this is no exception. Pyramid will need to be installed and the content and users migrated across from BIOffice. Pyramid Analytics has provided a migration tool to do this, but it's not comprehensive - some content will need to be manually recreated and, my own personal recommendation, automatically migrated content should be carefully checked. With this in mind, Blackboard have designed some services to help you through this process, with options to perform the installation for you, manually migrate high priority content and provide training.


To start the migration process, raise a ticket on Behind the Blackboard. If you're a Managed Hosting client you can request installation and this will be scheduled with you. For self-hosted clients, you can request the installer files. If you're interested in finding out more about the services we can offer around migration and training then please contact your Blackboard Account Executive.


And, of course, do please post on the Community about your experiences so that we can all learn together.


Pyramid Transition Introduction

Late last year, we notified you that the Blackboard Analytics Symposium was being rescheduled from the February dates, but we've yet to provide you with an update. I can now announce that the Symposium is scheduled for July 22-23 as a pre-conference event at BbWorld in Austin, TX. I hope this means that those of you planning to attend BbWorld as well. Note that the Symposium continues to be a free event and attendance at BbWorld is not required (but recommended, of course). We're just finalising the registration system so I'll send an update when that's ready, but for now please save the date.


If you'd like to present, we have specific guidance on submitting your proposal, but the formats are the same as last year (I hear the 5x5 presentations are really enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to those). The deadline for submissions is March 29, and we will make final decisions by April 19, so please submit your proposals. A few proposals were submitted last year, and these won't need to be resubmitted. I'll reach out to the people involved to confirm.


I'm personally excited about the event as I've wanted to attend for a long time, and I'm looking forward to meeting, and collaborating with, many community members there.

Hi everyone, I’m the new Senior Product Marketing Manager for Analytics at Blackboard (replacing Timothy Harfield, and so Blackboard's main representative within this Community), and I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I’ve been with Blackboard for nearly 5 years working exclusively with our Analytics products, and with clients across the world, so I have a lot of experience of how Analytics is deployed and used. I’m now transitioning to Product Marketing so I can use this experience to inform the development and promotion of our Analytics portfolio.


Prior to Blackboard, I worked as a Learning Technologist at a UK university (I’m based near Manchester, England) for 7 years, implementing various different technologies and designing training sessions and materials, and I have a Masters in Higher Education and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education. What I’m trying to make clear here is that I’m much more about the learning than the selling, and I hope that this will be beneficial to you.


My role will involve working directly with you to help understand your current and future needs, and to represent your views with the Product Management team so that our products continue to meet, and hopefully exceed, your expectations. I’ll be working closely with the Customer Advisory Board and will be very active in the Community site. In fact, one of my first tasks is to review the recent comments and provide responses as I’m very aware we haven’t had a very proactive presence since Timothy left. I’ll also be responsible for the Analytics track at our events, so I’ll hopefully get to meet some of you face-to-face soon.


So you’ll be seeing a lot of messages from me on here, and I appreciate your patience whilst I’m getting ramped up on the specifics. If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to contact me (, but if you feel that others within the community would benefit from the response then I’d recommend posting directly on here. If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn, you’ll find me here:


I'm looking forward to working with you all. Steve