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We have previously talked about the planned Scandinavian User Group meeting in November. We've talked about having a physical meeting or a web-based one and we've talk about when to have that meeting. We've previously seen that most of you wish to have a web-based gathering this time and myself and Marit have started planning of that.


We've realized that in order to get most out of the meeting and have the best chances of getting participation from all countries and all institutions we have to rethink the date for the meeting. Because of that, we've moved this meeting to December 5th. We propose to still have the previously communicated one-hour Zoom-meeting on November 21st and on that focus on what to fill the agenda with on December 5th.


We create these great meetings together so no matter how good my and Marits ideas for this December meeting, it can never be as good as an agenda that we work together to fill. So, see this and the November meeting as an opportunity to suggest interesting topics of conversation. You can suggest it as a comment to this blog post, email me or Marit or at the November meeting.


Looking forward to reading your suggestions!

Hey all! Joacim and I have been refurbishing the user group for a relaunch this summer. We hope to create an active and rewarding community together, and to help each other make the absolute most of Blackboard. To encourage activity, not just from us 'sysadmin' types but also from teachers in our institutions, we are announcing an activity contest!


We appreciate it if you can help spread the word to both EdTech-types and teachers in your institution



Everyone who writes at least 3 posts or comments in the community up until October 31st is in the draw for the prize. We'll make the draw in November, and the prize is a free BBTLC conference pass for next spring.


What kinds of posts can I make here?

Anything, really. If you are wondering how another teacher or institution has solved a problem you have, go ahead and ask! You're also welcome to just share a status update from your institution or stories from using the technology. Ideas about new functionality or improvements to Blackboard are also well received, and you might just gain some collaboration partners as well.


It's really up to you, and what you would like for this community to be. If you need a place to start, head on over to the introduction thread and tell us who you are.


What else?

A reminder: there are meetings every month where we talk about technology and teaching, with a focus on Blackboard. Most of these meetings are online, and once each term we try to ensure to meet in person. Joacim and I are still working out when the next meeting will be, so stay tuned and respond to the poll when it's posted here on the community site.

About Ultra

A group assignment to discuss various aspects of Ultra adoption.

Which methods and criteria can help you determine if Ultra is ready for your institution?

Group 1

  • Hard to define criteria. Need to check the needs of the faculties and see if it matches what is available in Learn. Surveys that asks faculty what they are actually using.

Group 2

  • Who makes the decision? Assessment of the teachers is very important/crucial. How to ensure you get this info? Pilot project with lots of communication with the teachers. Maybe a reference group? Need to create feature parity.
  • An Ultra evaluation should originate from that parity list and focus on a course level. It's important to do the evaluation thoroughly and not haste.

Group 3

Information level - knowing as much as possible about what the systems contain, and the gaps. Then evaluate how important the gaps are for the institution. Need info from Blackboard, but also about usage locally - f.ex. from Eesysoft (which tools are adopted broadly, and which are not?). What are the dealbreakers in these gaps? Roadmaps also very useful for evaluation: long term roadmap with some uncertainty is better than short term with certainty, for this purpose.

Group 4

  • Difficulties comparing Learn & Ultra: features that do the same have different names - which are which? And for features that are called the same, what do they actually support compared to each other? It would be useful to get help from Blackboard to understand how to apply the methods we use in Learn, in Ultra. F.ex. wiki - how to use that method/get the same result with other functionality in Ultra? Focus on the outcome that we need to achieve and then map how you would do that in Original versus Ultra.
  • Ease of use: stripping functions to make it easy is counterproductive. How to satisfy the savvy users with a simplified LMS? How about this idea: Simple and powerful - rich settings for functions (f.ex. like assignments in Learn), but machine learning shows you the settings you use a lot and hides the rest.

Group 5

  • Decision to go to SaaS is also hard to evaluate. Evaluate building blocks support and LTI support both for SaaS and Ultra.
  • Compare functionality.
  • Training for all levels of users.
  • During implementation: ramp up support - consider it like a new LMS, and needs to be treated that way.
  • Evaluate if the organization/team who runs the LMS is ready for the change in practice and daily management that SaaS requires: monthly updates vs. twice a year/less. Is it more work, or different work? How can we organize our team so we can handle this change?
  • 3rd party roles vs. onboard functions - often a trade-off. How to evaluate this difference? What is the strategy in the institutions and at Blackboard? How will Blackboard and 3rd party tools deal with the fact that institutions weight these decisions differently?

Which features do you require of an LMS, and which priority do they have?

Must have, should have, could have?

Group 1

  • Big online tests w/ many types of questions
  • Guest access / read access
  • Letter grades - not points (qualitative, non-points-based grading)
  • Grading scheme - more than 1
  • Groups with self-enrollment
  • Anonymous grading
  • Peer review
  • Portfolio
  • Signup sheets/registration sheet

Group 2

  • Group management and use etc.
  • Administrative efficiency with for instance multi-level enrollments
  • Peer Review
  • Qualitative grading and criteria - not calculated, not points based.
  • Must have tools for student active learning

Group 3-5


Ally implementation @Lund

Magnus from Lund told us about the experiences at Lund with using Ally.

It was clear to them that OCR is not enough - proper tagging is required as well. It is usually a manual process, best quality if done in Word. It is a quite a bit of work, but valuable to all students.
Legal obligations: is it enough? If we cannot provide the perfect documents, we need to provide alternative formats. Legally speaking, this keeps you covered.
Do you know which alternative formats students prefer? Students with disabilities choose either Word/openLibre, or mp3. Tagged PDF and HTML seems to be the most popular in the EU region.

BBUG going forward

The Swedish universities would like to continue meeting often and it was agreed that other Nordic institutions should be invited as well. A suggestion was a consious plan to combine Swedish-speaking meetings and English-speaking ones.