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Community Corner

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For over four years, we have seen this community grow to almost 14,000 users from around the world. There are over 5,500 discussions, 1,000 blog posts, 3,100 documents created, 2,900 ideas submitted, and countless content items uploaded. We prove that we want to learn, innovate and collaborate with each other, sharing best practices and experiences that help each other overcome challenges and transform the way each of us engage with Blackboard.

The Community is more than this platform. Every time you continue the conversation outside the classroom, you contribute to the Blackboard Community – this includes taking advantage of our webinars and programs, attending BbWorld or Teaching & Learning Conferences, participating in your local User Group as well the work each of you does at your organization every day. This Community site is the glue that holds it all together, connecting us across our ecosystem.


Our Community grows and evolves, but the software that runs the site doesn’t. We frequently hear users say that it’s hard to find things or that certain areas of the site aren’t accessible. New users tell us it’s unclear how they’re supposed to engage with the Community once they join. 


With the benefit of hindsight and your feedback throughout the years, we have a vision for a Community site that works better for all of us. We are excited to announce that in January 2020, we are launching a new and improved site!


You will be able to engage in the same ways you already do with the following improvements:


  • Easier site navigation
  • User-friendly, modern and accessible interface
  • Responsive design approach
  • Improved gamification (with more ways to earn points!)
  • Events calendar
  • More personalized, quality content
  • On-the-fly translation of posts and replies


We want to reassure everyone that your profiles and points will be coming over! We will share additional information about new and improved features and functionality soon.


We are very excited about the future of this Community and want to keep you up-to-date and involved throughout this process. In the comments below, please share your ideas for a new and improved Blackboard Community. We can't promise all your ideas will be implemented, but your feedback is crucial to building a new community experience we all love!


The end of September marked the first 3 months of my new role as Chief Client Officer and President of Global Markets. I’m thrilled by the progress we’re making as a company and wanted to share a few highlights of the past quarter as well as what we’re looking forward to in the last months of 2019.


First, I wanted to share a couple of our big successes last quarter.  A couple of weeks ago we announced that we won a contract in Columbia with Universidad Central.  Latin America continues to be a growth area for Blackboard, as also evidenced by our new office in Bogota.


Also last quarter, we signed renewal agreements with 4885 customers including the University of Kansas and Laureate Mexico.  We value the partnerships we have forged over the years with each and every one of you. I believe those deep partnerships are reflected in our high rate of renewals – over 90 percent -- and new sales that we’re now experiencing.


One of the ways we are serving our clients is by delivering a smooth transition to SaaS, which provides our clients better updates and faster delivery of new features and fixes, among other things. As of today, we now have 617 Learn clients on SaaS across 36 countries and that number is growing constantly. And I’m also really excited by the growing adoption of our next-generation LMS, Ultra. If you haven’t taken a look at it lately, now is the time! We now have 187 clients on Ultra and the reviews we’re getting are phenomenal.


Looking Ahead


As we enter the homestretch of 2019, nothing is slowing down.  This week I’m am at EDUCAUSE in Chicago where I hope to see many of you.  Meanwhile, a number of my colleagues including Chief Product Officer Tim Tomlinson and Chief Learning and Innovation Officer Phillip Miller are in Seoul, South Korea for our TLC Asia conference. Asia is also a growing region for Blackboard and we’re thrilled by the number of clients who will be traveling to Korea for that conference. 


Finally, I want to thank in advance all of you who plan to participate in our annual Customer Satisfaction Survey, which went out to thousands of clients last week.  This is a critical tool for us to understand where we are hitting the mark and where we are falling short. Believe me, the results won’t sit on a shelf. We use this annual survey to guide our planning efforts. In short, we take it very seriously and we appreciate you taking the time to participate.  In the future, I look forward to sharing those results. 


October 7th Outage Update

Posted by lblakemore Oct 10, 2019

I wanted to share some additional information on the service interruption that we experienced on October 7 which resulted in domains being temporarily unavailable. The service interruption was caused by a planned network configuration change that was not expected to, nor should have, impacted service availability. Once client impact was discovered our teams worked diligently to reestablish service availability. We apologize for the disruption this caused you and your user community.


Our initial focus was to work through the technical complexities of the service interruption and reestablish availability as quickly as possible. We have completed a comprehensive after-action review to put in place measures preventing a similar outage from occurring in the future. You may request a copy of the incident report by opening a service ticket through Behind the Blackboard or by contacting your account executive.


We apologize for the impact this had on your users and the additional burden that it put on your IT and support teams. Any service interruption is unacceptable to us and is not consistent with the performance standards and high-quality experience you expect and deserve from us. We are working hard to earn your confidence and we are committed to continuing to improve the overall client experience that we deliver.


If you have additional questions, please contact me directly at or open a service ticket at

Quality and consistent course design is an important part of driving student success. That’s why we continue to promote the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program. The Exemplary Course Program recognizes instructors and course designers whose courses demonstrate best practices in four major areas: Course Design, Interaction & Collaboration, Assessment, and Learner Support. Submitted courses are evaluated by a peer group of Blackboard clients using the Exemplary Course Program Rubric.


We have taken client and employee feedback and are in the process of updating the Exemplary Course Program Rubric this year. Stay tuned as will be sharing the new rubric soon.


We are launching a new Exemplary Course Program Cohort on October 17, 2019.  The cohort is a 4 week webinar series.  Each session will last 1.5 hours and will cover the UPDATED rubric and new point system. Information about how to complete a review will also be covered. 


MANY of our past winners participated in the program as a reviewer before submitting their own course.  It is clearly beneficial to see the review process. 


With the launch of the cohort, comes the opening of the ECP Course Submission process.  Blackboard Learn AND Open LMS clients can submit their courses on or before April 1, 2020 for review, and there is no charge for participation. Submission windows will re-open August 1, 2020.


Here is a rundown of the topics and other details.  Save these dates now!

  • Week 1: Course Design | Thursday, October 17, 11:00 am–12:30 pm EDT
  • Week 2: Assessment Design | Thursday, October 24, 11:00 am–12:30 pm EDT
  • Week 3: Interaction and Collaboration | Thursday, October 31, 11:00 am–12:30 pm EDT
  • Week 4: Learner Support | Thursday, November 7, 11:00 am–12:30 pm E




For more information, contact Patsy Hayes, Sr. Manager in Client Programs at

Greetings everyone for another round table with our Blackboard experts. This week we review Blackboard World 2019 in Austin, Texas. The discussion covers various topics and conversations from the conference. Need a recap of the event or missed it? Get the inside scoop during this episode of Blackboard Chalk Talks. 

At Blackboard, we’ve been on a journey over the past few years to realign our business to be the best partner we can be for the education community.  As a company, we’ve learned how to take advantage of every change that comes our way as an opportunity to accelerate our progress toward achieving our goals and driving the next wave of innovation in EdTech. To that end, we’ve made some organizational changes resulting from some recent leadership departures.


Over the past several weeks, a few senior leaders at Blackboard have announced their decision to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.  The decision to leave was uniquely personal to each of these individuals and their timing is simply circumstantial. They’ve each made significant contributions to the organization, and we wish them well in their new endeavors.


The ability for our senior leaders to find opportunities outside of Blackboard to take the next step in their careers is a testament to the strong leadership culture that Blackboard cultivates within its ranks. We’re proud that some of our leaders spread their wings and move on to run companies and organizations within the tech community.


Within Blackboard, we’ve purposely fostered an environment that provides leadership development opportunities. And we’re proud that we have provided opportunities to many of our leaders to step in to positions of greater authority and responsibility.


In 2018, we made significant progress as a company and we’re confident of our continued momentum and trajectory as a company with strong leaders guiding our organization. Over the past year we’ve seen strong momentum on moving our Learn clients to SaaS and our next-generation Ultra LMS and exploding growth of our Ally accessibility tool and mobile app downloads. We are financially sound, hitting our financial target in 2018. And mid-way through 2019, we’re excited by the path we’re on. We’re looking forward to sharing details of our progress at BbWorld next week in Austin.


Organizational and Leadership Changes


With the announcement of these recent departures, we are seizing the opportunity to continue to refine our operations by making changes that we believe will enhance our teams and continue to drive our business forward.


I know many of you either through my role as Chief Client Officer (CCO) or through my previous roles leading Blackboard’s K-12 and International businesses. And I’m excited to now also be taking on the Global Markets organization. Combining my CCO responsibilities with the Global Markets organization makes perfect sense, bringing together teams and functions that are focused on keeping their finger on the pulse of our clients’ needs.


Most of my career I have been leading client-facing organizations, and I’m thrilled to get back to my roots by leading Blackboard’s Global Markets team.


Also as part of our organizational changes, Kathy Vieira – a nearly 16-year veteran of Blackboard who has served in a number of roles including VP of Portfolio Strategy and Management, VP of Partner Enablement and VP of Partnerships in the Consulting organization – will take on the added responsibility of Product Strategy and Business Development. Kathy’s new role will be Chief Strategy, Portfolio and Marketing Officer.


This change will bring together strategy, business development, product line management and marketing under the same umbrella organization. This provides an opportunity to create a truly integrated team that’s laser focused on demonstrating and delivering increased value to our clients, partners and industry, which is imperative to our success.


Finally, as we move closer toward a pure SaaS business model, we are aligning our Cloud Hosting and Support functions with the Product Development organization, to support the close collaboration required across these teams. These functions will now report to Chief Product Officer Tim Tomlinson, who is excited to work with these teams to continue our progress toward highly collaborative and fully integrated product delivery and client support operations in pursuit of our client satisfaction and retention objectives.


We fully expect a seamless transition to our new organizational and leadership structure under the helm of myself, Kathy and Tim.

We continue the focus on Blackboard World this month with an interview with Mr. DevCon, Scott Hurrey Scott has been with Blackboard for many years. In this episode, we learn about his history with the company, which made him focus on computers and coding and what to expect at this year's DevCon event. So get ready to get your geek on with this episode of Blackboard Chalk Talks. 

I am excited to announce the 2019 Blackboard Catalyst Award Winners. Each year, we take a moment to recognize and celebrate the innovative achievements of our clients. We do this through the Blackboard Catalyst Awards.


This year we are recognizing 32 clients across 7 categories. We had some incredible submissions that ranged from enabling emergency online courses after a hurricane to implementing a single LMS across 11 campuses.


We already recognized 8 winners at the TLC19 in Newcastle, England back in May. The rest of the winners we will be recognizing at BbWorld in Austin,Texas on July 25, 2019.


Please click here to view this year’s winners and a short description of their submission.


Congratulations to all of our winners. Looking forward to celebrating with you at BbWorld.


After a break during the US Independence Day week, we are back. This month we focus on the upcoming Blackboard World event in Austin, Texas. This episode welcomes Marissa Carrillo and Vivek Ramgopal who help plan the event. We learn about how they joined Blackboard, their knowledge of previous BbWorlds and what's planned for this year. Grab your magic wand as we talk with the wizards of Blackboard World this week on Blackboard Chalk Talks. 

After a bit of a delay, we have brought you an episode fit for all in the Blackboard Community. Five Blackboard MVPs take on the Ultra and Original experiences. The good, the bad, and the honest come out of our round table members. The Ultra Experience, The Original Experience, and the Blackboard Experience all get the MVP Experience. It's an episode you will want to experience too, so check out this week's Hot Topics edition of Blackboard Chalk Talks. 

Our two part series with the two Wades of Blackboard wraps up this week. Wade Weichel with Product Management talks about his background and role in helping shape Blackboard. We learn how studying Journalism helps his current position and his work with IMS Global. Sit back for an engaging conversation on this edition of Blackboard Chalk Talks.


Subscribe on iTunes - Bb Chalk Talks – Blackboard Chalk Talks on Apple Podcasts 

Subscribe on Google Play - Bb Chalk Talks on Google Play

Subscribe on Spotify - Bb Chalk Talks – Blackboard Chalk Talks on Spotify 

Subscribe via RSS - Blackboard Chalk Talks RSS Feed 

We've been on a roll the past few weeks talking about what we hope to cover in our podcast episodes this year. You've heard our thoughts and now we want to hear yours. Please comment on this post with what ideas, topics, and interviews you want to hear us discuss. If you don't want to post the idea in a comment feel free to use our website, or email Thank you for your help!

This week Casey Eubank turns the interview tables on our third Blackboard Chalk Talk host, Terry Patterson. Learn about what he's been up to in at Austin Community College, where to go during BbWorld 2019 in Austin, what he's interested in interviewing others about, why he's considering writing again, and why tacos are a great breakfast food. Intriguing conversation is the plan with this week's edition of Blackboard Chalk Talks!




Subscribe on iTunes - Bb Chalk Talks – Blackboard Chalk Talks on Apple Podcasts 

Subscribe on Google Play - Bb Chalk Talks on Google Play

Subscribe on Spotify - Bb Chalk Talks – Blackboard Chalk Talks on Spotify 

Subscribe via RSS - Blackboard Chalk Talks RSS Feed 

This is the first of two interviews with Blackboard's Wades of Spades, Wade Fields and Wade Weichel. Both are Product Managers for two different experiences of Blackboard Learn. This week, we talk with Wade Fields who works on the Blackboard Learn Ultra experience. Check out his insights and background on this week's edition of Blackboard Chalk Talks. 

Clients often tell me how an employee has gone above and beyond expectations to help them.

We strive to recognize our employees who excel in their work.  This year, we have created a new award to recognize a Blackboard employee or team who has over the past year exemplified our values and advanced our mission to be the best Partner in Change for the global education community through:


  • Innovation, and/or
  • Providing (or improving) an exceptional client experience, and/or
  • Empowering the Blackboard Community


We would like to formally honor and recognize these contributions and would greatly appreciate your nominations. Please write up a few sentences on why a certain employee or team should be recognized and submit the nomination here.  The deadline to submit a nomination is Friday, June 21, 2019.  A panel of leaders will review the nominations and select a winner(s), which we plan to recognize at BbWorld in July.


Thank you for helping us recognize those Blackboard team members who are making a difference for you, our valued clients!