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This episode puts another podcast host in the interviewee seat as Casey Eubank talks about his interests and challenges as a Blackboard administrator at Wichita State University - Tech and learn one of his favorite hobbies. So get ready as we bring up the curtain on this edition of Blackboard Chalk Talks.


Listen at: 

This week we visit with the newest member of the Blackboard Chalk Talks host family, Letitia Davis. We learn about what brought her into educational technology, her ideas for podcast episodes, and what she enjoys about Blackboard World. So put on your virtual ten-gallon hat for a Texas-sized chat on Blackboard Chalk Talks. Find more about Letitia on our conversations page.


Link to the episode: 

We are back for another season of interesting discussion and topics about Blackboard and educational technologies. This first episode welcomes Matt Hadgis and John DiGennaro, co-founders of Qwickly. We talk about the development of Qwickly from a free building block to a major tool in the edtech space. Matt and John also discuss the development of their company and how they help steer the company's future. Learn more about their product at


So Blackboard asked us to share #WhyIBbWorld via our twitter feeds as part of their lead up to Blackboard World in Austin #ATX this summer. Being the eLearning eVangelist that I am, I have been posting multiple #WhyIBbWorld tweets that include everything from the obvious to the quirky (Me on the dance floor during the CAP, for example).


I have to admit it has been great being able to post my own #WhyIBbWorld’s and to read the tweets of others. I have found many a kindred spirit in the reasons posted online. Reading all these great #WhyIBbWorld tweets made me start to take a deeper look at why I attend Blackboard World. I guess the reasons why I attend Blackboard World have evolved over time. Let's put them in three categories:


  • The Early Days
  • Getting Into the Groove
  • The Seasoned Vet



The Early Days

I attended my first Blackboard World some 20 years ago in Washington D.C. In those days we were brand new to Blackboard version 5(the one right after CourseInfo). I attended, so that we could see how to “use the darn thing”(Blackboard bought Web-Course-In-Box who we were using) and to maybe get a picture of the Lincoln Memorial.


I attended subsequent Blackboard Worlds because I was the only Blackboard guy on campus and I needed to plug into a community of folks like me. On campus I was the Blackboard Wizard (there had to be twist) and I was looked to for knowledge, both technical and pedagogical, on how to use it. Blackboard World allowed me to connect to other people who were doing what I was doing and more. In those days I was the Sys Admin, Faculty Development person and Instructional Designer, so I needed to “fill up” on everything I could, to improve things for faculty and students back at SHSU.


When you are on your own on campus, supporting a strategic system like Blackboard, it can be a scary situation. When you are wearing all the hats, you feel like you are always treading water and that you can't make any progress. Blackboard World was like a life preserver that allowed you to take stock of where you were and plan for where you needed to go.




Getting Into the Groove

As I got my first BbWorlds under my belt, my perspective as to why I was going changed. I started to focus more on the connections I was making. Connections with Bb Staff, Vendors at the conference and eLearing Guru's from other institutions. As Blackboard's clientele grew, I was able to experience more cultures of learning (national and international) by attending.



As my use of Blackboard become more nuanced, so did the sessions I attended. I paid much more attention to the types of schools and programs the presenters were coming from, and that played a larger part in choosing the sessions I would attend.


Getting into the grove also changed part of what I would call the “overall feel” of Blackboard World. It became more than just a conference and networking event. It also became what I lovingly refer to a “nerdy high school reunion”. Connections that you made in early BbWorlds were celebrated and renewed, all in an atmosphere of learning and sharing. So besides just lining up your dance card for sessions, you might find yourself at Terry Patterson’s annual Birthday dinner or coordinating outfits for the client appreciation event.


At this point in my “Blackboard Evolution” I was leaving the “treading water” stage and starting to lift my head up to see what was coming next. I began bringing my list of “I Wish Blackboard Coulds” so that when I spoke with Blackboard at the vendor fair or in meetings, I had ammunition for important conversations built upon the needs of my constituents back home.


Lastly, I started presenting about the things we were doing at our campus. Not only did I present, but also I shared out some of the things we were doing for the community to use. A prime example of this would be the Blackboard Support Orgs for students and faculty that we created and curated so that others could benefit.


Seasoned Vet (Where I Am Now)

The other title I chose for this section was A Little Rounder, A little Greyer.


This year marks my 18th Blackboard World. We had a year or two where we used another LMS who shall not be named, but whose name rhymed with Schmeeee Schmollege. Their conference made me really miss #BbWorld. One of the unmentioned LMS’s conference keynotes was Ben Stein…..anyone…..anyone.


I still look forward to many of the things that I experienced in my first two stages:


  • Talking to people who speak my language
  • Nerdy High School Reunions
  • Presenting/Sharing


I also pay much more attention to the more strategic or long-term elements of the conference. The product road-map sessions and the Bb Executive sessions come to mind.


In my Veteran years at BbWorld, I:

  • became a VIP Blogger
  • earned my Bb Certified Trainer certification
  • was nominated and became a Bb MVP


As I look at those all of these aspects of my #WhyIBbWorld evolution, I realize that they are all really about one area….community. I feel very fortunate to have spent much of my professional life in this community. Blackboard World has been there when I needed a lifeline, it allowed me to make important connections for me and my home institution, provided me with a nerdy high school reunion, gave me a platform to share out to the community, and allowed me to think much more strategically about eLearning at my campus. I have taken so much from my attendance at BbWorlds and tried to give back at least as much as I have learned.


Thank you to Blackboard, the community and the universe for providing this outstanding conference. I'm looking forward to #BbWorld19!

I am a high school student and my school switched from Blackboard Collaborate Original to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra this year. And boy am I glad we did. Ultra is just so much better than the Original. You do not need to download any software, everything is in your browser, its if faster at joining classes, ect. But with any software that you spend hours a day on you start to notice a few problems. So here is a pro/con list.



  • Works on most browsers.

          No need to download anything, just click the link and join.

  • Profile Pictures!

          Sure, the original had profile pictures, but they were tiny, and only appeared by your name in the attendees panel. With Ultra you see the photo next to chat messages. when you have 10 different students chatting is hard too read names and remember  who's who. With Profile pictures you can easily keep track of the conversation. I don't know why it makes such a big difference but it dose to me.

  • Video and audio quality is much better.

I don't know if it was just my computer but the audio in the original would always cut in and out. I'm getting a headache just thinking about it. But the new one seems to work way better! Its not perfect, but a huge improvement.

  • It looks and Feels nicer.

The original was just a bit clunky looking, some of the icons looked like they could have been from 2007. Come too think of it they probably were from 2007. Ultra is just a bit smoother and nicer all around.


Every software has its cons. Here are a few ways it can improve.


  • @mentions

    Chat can sometimes go bye very fast. It would be nice to be able to use @mentions and get that chat message highlighted.

  • The infinity tunnel of death.

     Whenever a teacher shares the entire screen, a strange looking tunnel will appear for a moment. It like what happens when you hold two mirrors across from each other. It seems like this could be fixed.

  • Ellipse Tool

     The ellipse tool it tricky to use, instead of going from corner to corner like most software, it goes from center to edge. Try it and you will see what I mean.


And after a lot of hours, playing around with options during boring classes, I have fond some tricks and tips.


  1. View profile pictures larger by dragging them to a new tab.
  2. If you need to get a teachers attention while chat is off raise your hand, If that dose not work click it as many times as possible, but do it sparingly, it is really annoying.
  3. You can use whatever emojis you would like if you have an emoji keyboard extension. My Chromebook has one built in.  


Thanks for reading!

[Tech Webinar] The Changing Learning Management System Landscape

Hosted by Eduventures and Blackboard


The education ecosystem is undergoing rapid change as institutions look to leverage actionable data to drive student success and meet the needs of a changing student demographic. This has put increasing pressure on the learning management system (LMS), the most widely-adopted tool to support teaching and learning, to evolve to meet changing demands, pedagogical approaches, and modalities. This shows that the LMS is necessary but not sufficient to deliver a modern teaching and learning ecosystem.


Join Eduventures Principal Analyst James Wiley as he discusses how institutions are partnering with vendors to solve these challenges. In addition, hear from Blackboard Chief Learning and Innovation Officer Phillip Miller on the shifting perception of the LMS as a one-dimensional online learning tool, and how Blackboard sees it evolving into a platform that combines broad capabilities to solve complex educational challenges.

Registration link



This week's episode wraps up the interviews from Blackboard World 2018. Our guest is Bob Small, a software engineer with Blackboard. He mostly works with Blackboard Transact, but has a special place in his human hard drive for Virtual Reality. He developed this virtual reality for K12 and higher education. Take a look at an example he recorded and posted to YouTube,


Listen to the podcast:

This edition of Blackboard Chalk Talks we have the wonderful Carolyn Ponce. She is the Blackboard administrator at Arkansas State University. We caught up with her at Blackboard World 2018.

After a hiatus following Blackboard World, We are back with another interview for Bb Chalk Talks. This time our friend and knower of all things Blackboard Community, Marissa Dimino joins us. We ask her how to she came to her job at Blackboard, her favorite part of the Blackboard Community site, and learn about her four-legged child. This interview was recorded at Blackboard World in the Community Live area. As proof, Casey had a Blackboard employee take a picture of us during the interview.



Back over to the UK digitally in this episode. We talk with Chris Boon from City College Norwich, pronounced n -O-r-i-dge (rhymes with porridge). We learn he has an interesting history with online education and training and more about the definition of a City College in the UK. He also shares the various ways he helps the Blackboard Community and his recent membership into the Blackboard MVP program. We will also learn about his personal life and the possibilities of a Blackboard Community Band? If that doesn't make you want to listen, I'm not sure what will. Click the link below.


Listen to this Podcast Episode


Editor's Note: The quality of this recording is a little lower than we normally want to use. Please excuse us, as we continue to find the best recording options for our podcast. Thanks!

This episode we talk with University of Southhampton's Matt Deeprose. Our conversation touches on several topics such as how Matt became a Virtual Learning Environment administrator. How he created his infamous Upgrade Club discussion on the Blackboard Community site. We will also learn more about the community happenings in the UK and Europe. There's so much more to discuss, but just click the link below.


Listen to the Podcast Episode


Podcasting Note: We had promised an interview with Marissa Dimino but due to technical issues with the recording we will be bringing you that episode in the near future.

Learning About the Blackboard MVP Program with Emmah Schramke


This week Casey and Terry chat with Emmah Schramke, Senior Manager of Client Programs at Blackboard. We discuss the MVP Program along with Blackboard User Groups and other programs Emmah works with. We will also learn about Emmah’s personal interests and hobbies and her recommendations when visiting DC.


You can find Emmah on the Blackboard Community website or follow her on Twitter.


Podcast link:

          Spokane Public Schools in Spokane, WA is looking for a Blackboard Administrator.

POSTING DATE:  06/20/2018
CLOSING DATE:  07/03/2018
SALARY:  Supervisor/Manager III on Classified Supervisor/Manager Salary Schedule. Experience increments depend on experience in the same or similar position. Promotion or transfer placements will be determined by percentage of increase and consideration of appropriate experience credit.  Click here to view current salary schedule for this position. Download Salary Schedule
SUMMARY OF ASSIGNMENTS:  Manage and oversee virtual learning programs, systems, processes, technology implementations, and best educational practices by working with staff from all departments of Spokane Public Schools, vendors, and service providers.  Duties include oversight of curriculum instructional design and implementation, development and delivery of training content, web development, educational quality assurance guidelines, student support and staff management.  Manage the work of the SVL Technical Support Specialist and other virtual learning classified staff.
  1. Administration of Blackboard or other current course-management system used for virtual learning programs and classroom support.
  2. Manage and oversee of the work of the SVL Technical Support Specialist.
  3. Develop and oversee Professional Development that facilitates the educational use of technology that focuses on integration and accessibility in the classroom, both virtually and school-based.
  4. Management and development for Spokane Virtual Learning and Spokane Course Management System areas.
  5. Collaborate with all departments in Spokane Public Schools to facilitate the use, support, and enhancement of course-management system. This includes management, instructional design, training, implementation, educational best practices, and proper usage and access.
  6. Management and development of student-led support programs and classes for the support of teachers, staff, and students in virtual learning programs.
  7. Oversight and facilitation of vendor and customer contracts and student support for virtual learning programs.
  8. Collaborate with Technology Services department and schools to implement and ensure proper data integration between the multiple SPS data systems and the course-management system.
  1. Demonstrated ability and aptitude to perform the responsibilities listed.
  2. Bachelor degree in education, computer science, or related field preferred; or five years experience in the management and implementation of school programs, including staff management.
  3. Ability to organize and direct the work of others, maintaining a positive working environment.
  4. Demonstrated track record of successful implementation and management of technology systems.
  5. Expertise in the usage and management of course-management systems such as Blackboard.
  6. Experience in the development and delivery of professional development curriculum.
  7. Experience with Web Development using such technologies as SQL, PHP, ASP, JAVASCRIPT, and the Adobe suite of products.
  8. Demonstrated organizational skills.
  9. Demonstrated ability to effectively communicate (written/oral) and work productively with district administration, coordinators, teachers, staff, parents, and students.
  10. Demonstrated successful experience developing and maintaining positive and professional working relationships with a diverse group of students, staff, volunteers, and the community in a confidential manner.
  11. Relates positively to youth and adults of varying socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.
APPLY TO:  Apply online at by selecting EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES. For further information call Human Resources Department at (509) 354-7265. Applications will be screened when complete application materials are received.  Spokane Public Schools complies with all federal and state rules and regulations and does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, marital status, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability, sexual orientation including gender expression or gender identity, or honorably discharged veteran or military status. This holds true for all students who are interested in participating in educational programs and/or extracurricular school activities, and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.  Inquiries regarding compliance and/or grievance procedures may be directed to the school district's officers as follows: Title IX/Staff Civil Rights Officer, Dr. Linda McDermott (509) 354-7318 * Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying (HIB)/Student Civil Rights Officer, Dr. Adam Swinyard (509) 354-7393 * 504 Compliance Officer, Gwen Harris (509) 354-7393 * ADA Officer, Dr. Linda McDermott (509) 354-7318 * Affirmative Action Officer, Dr. Mary Templeton (509) 354-5961 * Equal Opportunity Officer, Ramon Alvarez, (509) 354-7344 * 200 N. Bernard Street, Spokane, WA 99201-0206. Click here for a list of the current compliance officers: View EEO Compliance Officers
  1. Work Schedule—Days and hours are subject to change depending on program and district needs.
  2. Benefits—Fringe benefits are provided for employees who work at least half-time (20 hours per week) or more in a regular position. Stipends are as approved by the Board of Directors.
  3. A fingerprint background check is required for all perspective employees prior to start date. A processing fee is payable by payroll deduction.
Employee Group  Supervisory Employees Non-Rep - SV

On May 17, we will host a “follow-the-sun” series of webinars focused on accessibility in education at all levels and across the globe.


The 9 webinar sessions (8 in English, 1 in Spanish) span five different time zones in 24 hours.  Our roster of expert speakers includes educators, policy makers, and advocates. We are excited about this year’s stellar lineup of speakers which include:

  • Paul Harpur, Senior Lecturer at The University of Queensland, will tell his story as he reflects on creating a better learning environment for all learners.
  • Heidi Pettyjohn and Dave Rathbun from the University of Cincinnati will share stories and strategies on providing tools and education through involvement on strategic eLearning and university initiatives to understand how accessibility fits into the work that they do.
  • Brett Christie will discuss outcomes of California State University Universal Design for Learning efforts, which began in 2005. At the core of this effort is professional development that provides faculty and staff the support and training necessary to ensure that students with disabilities are provided a high quality postsecondary education.
  • Ben Brown  and Tracy Sangster from the Davidson Institute, a K12 school for the profoundly gifted, will talk about designing courses that are flexible and emphasize the students’ preference in learning.


Click here to view complete list and register.

Since 2012, GAAD has aimed to get everyone thinking, sharing best practices and learning about digital access and people with different disabilities. I’m proud of Blackboard’s efforts to contribute to this important focus in our education community.


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