Jeff Longland

Relax, don't worry – have a home brew!

[WebCT Impact 2006] Wrap-up (Maybe)

Where to start… I felt a very strong sense of community at what will unfortunately be the last WebCT Impact conference. All future conferences will fall under the Blackboard title. I know it’s just a label and there will be some WebCT folks filling new positions, but I couldn’t shake the feeling throughout the conference. Time is very tight at the moment but I need to get some of this down before it’s washed away by current priorities:

  • Community, community, community. SIG meetings, informal discussions, birds of a feather at lunch, etc. I felt a rallying of the communities at this year’s conference and I think it will be important for them to remain active and engaged throughout the transition to Blackboard and beyond. I think community is one of WebCT’s biggest strength’s and by keeping Ask Dr. C, Blackboard realizes this as well.
  • Getting up in front of a few crowds. On the last morning of the conference (post-conference as referred to by a friend) I had the opportunity to speak alongside the wonderful folks from Purdue in “Mixing the Physical and the Virtual: Implementing Blended Pedagogy”. On the heels of that session I presented alongside my colleagues in “Decentralized Administration and Faculty Support”. The content of the sessions, their delivery, and their structure were completely different – I loved it. Apparently the Decentralized Admin session was blogged!
  • The folks at USask appear to have blogged a fair bit about the conference.
  • As part of the transition, name changes were announced. I won’t even get into, short of saying that all product names are prefixed with Blackboard Learning System.
  • Sasan Salari was just about everywhere promoting the WebCT-Elgg integration. Sasan has blogged a bit about his experiences at the conference.
  • The Blackboard vision for the future. The opening ceremony felt like a Steve Jobs presentation. The room was packed and I had to leave after my personal space was thoroughly invaded. There was one segment about sharing content between institutions that sounds really great in theory but I can imagine some IPO issues. An ambitious vision of the future, we’ll see how it pans out. Lanny Arvan has blogged his reflections on the Blackboard issue amongst other things.
  • HorizonWimba released a new product called Pronto. Prior to the conference I was pondering instant messaging – WebCT integration. The built-in Who’s Online tool is great but messaging would be received more easily if students could still manage their MSN/AIM/Jabber/Yahoo identities and use their preferred client. The sales fellow at the booth said that Pronto would allow students to manage other IM accounts alongside their list of classmates. Is this true?

I’m sure there’s more I want to mention, but it’s certainly not coming to me now. So I’m going to wrap-up this monster of a post. A big thank-you to everyone who makes these conferences possible – organizers, speakers, and attendees.


Written by jlongland

July 29, 2006 at 5:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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