A few things to note after returning from BbWorld 2019
First thing - We were promised in the opening keynote that both the original Learn and the Ultra experiences are their priority and Bb is committed to create new features and updates to both. They also stated very clearly that they are once again focused on Teaching and Learning and cutting back on acquisition to make sure that they Learn platform is the best it can be. Welcome news.
DATA - it's free, well sort of. If you're on SaaS and have the Ultra base navigation you will soon be seeing a lot more data in Learn. These data elements will be specific to instructors as well as students. This comes at no cost if you have the right configuration so that's good to see. Side note: this conflicts directly with the opening keynote as you have to have SaaS and Ultra base nav to work so we won't have anything until we upgrade.
SaaS - Blackboard is really pushing people to the cloud. While I understand this is important to them and how will help end users (and administrators) I struggle to understand why the down time and cost is so significant. We're going to keep looking forward and thinking about this, but cautiously as we have a hard time finding a good time to take the system down for multiple days.
While you're updating to SaaS - we were told to upgrade to the Ultra base nav at the same time so users felt like an upgrade occurred. Not sure where you all are but we haven't considered Ultra up until now because of the amount of changes and lack of features. We were promised over and over that they are a lot closer to having the same set of tools in either experience but they just added question pools last month. I have heard that they have a feature list to compare the two systems but so far haven't been able to find it. I'd love to hear what your institution is using and if you transitioned from Learn original to Ultra what features you miss most.
Box - the inline grading feature isn't getting the job done. Blackboard recognizes this and is working on integration a new version of this tool that is much more robust and offers many new features and tools. A lot of ooh's and ah's with this presentation as faculty are underwhelmed with Box. Not sure when it will be ready to go but look for that soon.
Ultra was the big push again this year and it looks like they are much closer to having it upgraded where you won't lose features when you transition.
I'm sure there is much more information and I'd encourage you to download the BbWorld app to see what sessions were offered and most of them have the presentation slides and contact information if you want to learn more specifics on these topics.
Oh yeah, the BBQ was fantastic in Austin. I did eat way too much and enjoyed my many nights eating brisket.
Let me know if I can answer any questions related to the conference - Joe