Blackboard World 2013 Recap

Recently a team from Valencia traveled to Blackboard World 2013 in Las Vegas to learn more about the future of Blackboard, what other institutions are doing, and best practices. This will be a recount of BbWorld13 in a nutshell (including all the recap videos by Blackboard). One of our instructional designer, Josh Murdock (@ProfessorJosh), was chosen as a VIP Blogger by Blackboard. Below is his recount of his Blackboard World 2013 experience.

BbWorld13 Painting

Day 1:

After a long day of traveling it was time to get settled into the Palazzo and checked into BbWorld13. After getting settled in the team attended a listening session with some of the Blackboard executives, to hear about the vision of Blackboard and address questions and concerns.

Next, best-selling author of “Here Comes Everybody” and fellow educator, Clay Shirky opened BbWorld 2013 with some great thoughts. (Watch Now) It’s amazing to think it took 100 million hours to create Wikipedia but in the US alone, we watch over 200 billion hours of television a year. Image we could do with that time. New forms of media are helping to share media, information, and ideas at lightning speeds. This isn’t just to create meme of grumpy cat but to share field notes over Instagram to the public.

Two examples mentioned:

BbWorld13 Clay Shirky


After the keynote, it was time for the doors to open to the exhibit hall and enjoy the opening reception with fellow Blackboarders from around the world. Lots of various vendors and Blackboard departments were in full force to help answer questions and show of their latest products. Exploring the vendors and meeting fellow Blackboard clients are great ways to learn about what other institutions are doing.

BbWorld13 360 BbWorld13 Vendors

Day 1 Recap Video by Blackboard

Day 2:

Our institution had a few meetings setup with various departments at Blackboard to discussion the future of Blackboard (including a preview of the road map) and to talk  about product testing, bugs, service, and fixes. Lots of different sessions happened on various topics from pedagogy to technical aspects of Blackboard. Many of these sessions will be posted online in the near future, thanks to the sponsor Echo 360.

Right before lunch it was the corporate keynote with new CEO Jay Bhatt and Rey Henderson. Jay Bhatt talked about the future of Blackboard and his vision as a new CEO with the companies path and focusing on the core. Rey Henderson talked about service at Blackboard and gave his usually report card of the companies performance over the last year. (Video Coming Soon)

Jay Bhatt was convinced by several of the Twitter users to finally tweet at @@JayBhattTweets. Rey Henderson has been on Twitter for awhile as @readmeray

BbWorld13 Corporate Keynote


A few key new or future features pointed out during the keynote included:

  • Improvements to SafeAssign, including making it an option in assignments. 
  • Dates rollover and mass updating dates for a course (happy day for WebCT users)
  • Student View
  • xpLor
  • Polling
  • Mobile improvement with adaptive user interface in mobile browser
  • T!P TXT, anti-bullying texting program available to K12 institutions for free.
  • Mozilla Badges

**Hoping to get a copy or link to the road map to provide a showcase of all the features coming

Day 2 Recap Video by Blackboard

Day 3:

Keynote by Sugata Mitra, who is a 2013 TED prize winner, took the audience through his “Hole in the Wall” experiment and capped BbWorld 2013 with a standing ovation. (Watch Now)

Sugata Mitra’s work is very interesting and it would be wise to check out his TED Talks:

 BbWorld13 sugata mitra


At this event, since all the bloggers were sitting together at the keynotes, it was easy to meet some of the people you have been talking to online, in real life. It’s always great to reinforce those conversations and friendships. I’m glad we got to take a group picture after the final keynote (this was the funny picture by the way).

BbWorld13 Bloggers


Make sure to check out #BbWorld13 on Twitter for lots of great educators and edtech enthusiast to follow. Melissa Stange @certtechpro blog has lots of great tips and recaps from BbWorld13 too.

The day rounded out with several other rounds of presentations, including some great ideas and insights from several Catalyst award winners on the course design and tricks of the trade. Most of the keys were well designed navigation, clear objectives, interactive course material, and a passion for teaching online. Check out the various Exemplary Course awards, with many of them having guide tours of their courses.

To wrap up the night, it was time for the Customer Appreciation Party in the ballroom with a 80’s theme . This included a great 80’s cover band, tons of food, lots of 80’s trinkets and arcade games.

Day 3 Recap Video by Blackboard

We are looking forward to seeing some of the new features and functions in future updates to Blackboard. Keep updated by following along with our blog.