Notes from Friday keynote on Reimagine Education: A world inspired to learn #slate14

Notes from the Friday Morning keynote “Reimagine Education: A world inspired to learn” by Valerie Schreiner, VP of Product Management at Blackboard. A great session from a very successful NIU alum!

Issues facing Higher Ed

  • Retaining Students (58% of administrators & faculty say “Retaining Students” is most critical issue facing higher ed)
  • Rising Costs & Decreasing Revenue
  • Recruiting/Enrolling Students

Most important issue for students: Cost

Only 49% of Higher Ed presidents believed they provide good or excellent value. 98% say that change is necessary. 63% say the pace of change is too slow. (According to The Innovative University survey, conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education and available at

This is similar to Valerie’s experience with ConTel, the leading telephone provider in Illinois until 1996. She worked on marketing for them, and was responsible for helping them convince customers that they still wanted to work with the telephone company for renting phones and maintaining the wires in their homes. Now, given the prevalence of cell phones, she says that the company would have been better off looking at the bigger picture of how the industry was transforming instead of trying to hold onto the old business model. She says this is the reality that higher education is facing now.

The post traditional learner

  • Attends multiple institutions
  • Follows employers
  • Listen to peers
  • Pursues skills & competencies
  • Engages with apps
  • Consume data/info

New student journey

The new student journey is less linear than the past. Students are “swirling” through their education and career. While this is challenging, she says it is a sign that students are taking more responsibility for directing their own learning and creating their own meaning.

The “new normal”

  • Anytime/anywhere
  • Flexible
  • Personal

We’ve talked about the first three for awhile, but it isn’t enough. We need to start thinking about education more in terms of the following:

  • Affordable
  • Modular
  • Interactive
  • Accessible
  • Engaging

How does Bb support this?

  • Rethinking the product as learner centric.
    • Not to the exclusion of supporting instructors
    • Need to overemphasize learners to compensate for past focus on institution
  • Rethinking learning delivery
    • 46% of presidents say change should focus on teaching and learning models (compared with 23% focus on cost cutting and 31% on technology)
  • Future of education according to Blackboard
    • Paying by credit
    • Competency based in additional to traditional degrees
    • All you can learn models
    • Course-based certifications (MOOCs, etc)
    • Credentials (Badges!)

AND FLOWING BETWEEN ALL OF THEM, not relying on a single one. Any given student will incorporate all of these in creating a model that utilizes all of these.

Blackboard’s vision is “A world inspired to learn”

Blackboard’s mission is “To re-imagine education”

Core components of reimagining education at Bb

  • Services
    • Program selection & marketing
    • Student support services (financial aid, advising, call centers)
      • Bb was engaged for outbound calling to contact students to remind them to submit financial aid forms and to contact the institution for help, reduced drop out by 70%!!!!!!!
    • Career placement
  • Technologies
    • Reimagine
    • Redesign
    • Redefine – moving beyond the traditional LMS to create a holistic learning and teaching environment
    • Bb is only getting better
    • They have implemented best-of-breed products (through development & acquisition)
    • Bundling products to streamline licensing
      • Learning Core – Traditional learning delivery (Bb’s opinion on the minimum of what you have to have)
        • Learn, Community, Content, Mobile
      • Learning Essentials – Offering online courses and programs
        • Includes Collaboration tools
      • Learning insight – Measuring effectiveness of online and traditional programs
        • Adds analytics & outcomes
      • Learning insight & student retention
        • Includes student services as needed to maximize student retention
    • Models
      • Self-hosted (behind your firewall)
      • Private cloud (Bb Managed Hosting)
      • Public cloud (Public SaaS, single installation maintained by Bb, updated every 3 weeks to get the most out of innovation with ZERO downtime updates)
    • Validating new development by observing users actually using the new product
    • Swim in the data
    • Results of this research & redesign is Bb Ultra, announced this summer
      • A fully re-designed learning system (not just an LMS)
      • First view, focused on “me” as a learner
      • Students can build a set of credentials & competencies as a profile (based on MyEDU)
        • Less-intimidating for students than a LinkedIn profile, which is so focused on career achievements)
        • Portable, visual, includes additional metrics as the student defines their success
      • View of courses across your academic career instead of just this semester
      • Consistency of course structure & look (flexible for instructor innovation but consistent for students)
        • Redesign is focused on accessibility
        • Consistent structure will be a win for accessibility regardless of technical accessibility
      • Simplified course construction for faculty
      • Lecture capture tools based on Collaborate
      • Easy to use Collaborate session launch will be (ALSO AVAILABLE TO STUDENTS!!!)
      • All-new Collaborate!
        • Jave-free
        • In-browser
        • Based on Web RTC (real-time communication)
      • Institution-level decision to roll-out the overall interface, instructor-level decision to use for a specific course
  • Data
    • Based on Bb’s years of experience in Education
    • (In Design) Student data delivered directly to students, with reminders based on their activity and performance
      • Automated reminders based on data
      • Students can view their performance against time
      • Comparison against other students in this term (or past terms!)
    • (In Design) Better data for faculty, too
      • Help students more quickly
      • Compare one student to others
      • Contact student, advisers, and provide content

One thought on “Notes from Friday keynote on Reimagine Education: A world inspired to learn #slate14

  1. Pingback: Notes from Blackboard Learning Solutions Roadmap #slate14Reliability | Ed.D in IT

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