The Brainshark/Blackboard Partnership - A Recent Graduate's Perspective

August 22, 2011 | Wahl Allison
The Brainshark/Blackboard Partnership - A Recent Graduate's Perspective

With September right around the corner, Back-to-School season is certainly in the air. You can practically smell the textbooks as they roll off the press and into the hands of eager students.

This fall brings mixed emotions to me, as I, a recent college graduate (just received my BA from Tufts this May), will not be returning to school for the first time in my life. It is scary, daunting, exciting, and absolutely absurd that after almost two decades of schooling, this chapter of my life is proverbially closed.

However, the chapter I have opened with Brainshark is equally thrilling in many ways. Aside from being my first professional experience, the product itself allows me to maintain some closeness with the educational realm through the knowledge-sharing it enables in new and fascinating ways. Further, by virtue of its new partnership with Blackboard, the potential for Brainshark to play a role in completely re-shaping education has barely been tapped. A life of learning is the only life I have ever known up until this point and I’ve definitely had experience with the good, the bad, and the completely outdated. But in terms of the good, the things Brainshark could achieve through its partnership with Blackboard are just the beginning.

At Tufts, I had constant contact with Blackboard. It is a valuable resource in that it aggregates content, tasks, and communications for courses in one simple place. It enables teachers to post readings, lectures, grades, feedback, outlines, and a whole slew of other materials while students can engage in discussion boards, submit assignments, and access supplemental resources to help maximize their learning experience. Blackboard is an innovative step forward from the nostalgic blackboard that was once (and still is, in many cases) covered in chalk dust. It only becomes more robust when paired with Brainshark technology!

One thing that Blackboard was often used for was to post powerpoints online and other class materials should students miss a lecture or desire supplements to what was covered. However, unless the teacher explicitly told us what could be found, it was completely up to the students to dig into Blackboard’s depths and find what they need. Furthermore, unless specifically probed, teachers had no way of knowing which materials were actually gaining traction with students, which students were going the extra mile, and how everything was being received.

Imagining that Brainshark can introduce a better way for teachers to gain valuable sharing options, pertinent tracking insight, and even post their lectures in a manner that goes far above and beyond their powerpoint slides (which, let’s face it, often don’t even scrape the surface of what is covered in class) promise to create a classroom experience that is far superior to anything before it. Learning can be more targeted and interactive; the materials that students actually engage can be incorporated; lectures can be left for the students’ own viewing on their own time while actual classroom time can be utilized to facilitate collaboration, imagination, and application. Classroom communications will begin to break down the walls that traditionally confined them, and education as we know it will literally take on new shapes and new domains.

These opportunities are only further emphasized when I take into account my current role as Customer Success Representative. I hear every day how crucial Brainshark has been – not only to business conduct but to enabling the passing and sharing of knowledge. If Brainshark has the impact it has in the business world – one whose overarching practices have largely been unchanged since the beginning of time – just think of what it could do for education on the whole. Blackboard has placed the chalk in our hands; the future is Brainshark’s to help draw out.

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