eLearning Insights from the Blackboard World Conference

eLearning Insights from the Blackboard World Conference
July 19, 2011

I just got back from the Blackboard World Conference in Las Vegas. I figured I’d take a few minutes to share a little insight from Blackboard’s user conference, which happens to be one of the biggest elearning conferences with over 2,000 people attending. Brainshark is a Blackboard Partner and we led a session, “Anytime, Anywhere: Developing Dynamic eLearning Content for an On-Demand World”.  People increasingly want to have a say in how they learn, as well as when and where, so how can learning professionals create interactive online and mobile eLearning content that addresses this new reality while ensuring that learning objectives are met?

The audience consisted mostly of colleges, universities, K-12 schools, and government agencies. Many were teachers, professors, Blackboard Administrators, and IT folks from all over the world. There was definitely a lot of interest and excitement in our session, particularly around the variety of content that you can upload to Brainshark and how it is a tool that all types of faculty members could use (even the technically challenged ones). I expect to see more Professional Corporate Educators there next year as Blackboard really starts going after that market.  They were also very interested in our latest release of our mobile enhanced solution, particularly the ability for students to respond to questions simply by utilizing our free Apple or Android app.

Here are some of the bigger takeaways I walked out with from the event:

  • Cloud solutions are a huge plus due to the limited storage capacity in the education market. 


  • The theme of Mobile is only getting bigger - just as we in corporate America want to access content when we need it, so does the new Generation Z market! 


  • SCORM compliance is very important. Hosted solutions which are SCORM compliant, like Brainshark, are incredibly convenient because there is no need to re-publish content to the LMS if changes are made.


  • A big topic now is SECURITY around online testing and assessment, specifically WHO is actually taking the exams.


Now, I personally think this last topic is of interest, since we put a lot of effort into security ourselves!  A sponsor that was getting a lot of buzz and activity was Software Secure from around Brainshark’s neck of the woods in Newton, MA!  They have a webcam-type device which they sell to students to proctor their online tests.  There is a growing interest and market for students to be able to take exams outside the classroom.  So as colleges begin to allow more students to take an online test, where is the security behind it?  They say the government is cracking down on universities – was it really that student or someone else taking the exam? Were they accessing the internet and other materials while taking the test? 

The device authenticates the identification of an online student with biometrics, and continuously monitors their exam conditions, using their own familiar equipment to take tests virtually anytime – while maintaining the highest degree of academic integrity. Really cool stuff! Just speaks to the continued concern for security in all markets.