...and look! I'm smaller than Richard Parsons' head!
Michael was very excited to be here. He kept telling us how excited he was to be here. Even if you missed the word excited, you could tell he was very excited to be here, and talking to us. And d'you know what? I was excited for him! Seriously, there was some infectious excitement in the room.
He was very, very excited to talk about some of the success stories...including one from someone called Louise Thorpe, from Sheffield Hallam (or possibly Sheffield Halem?). Jessica Finnefrock (who was also there, and possibly almost as excited to be here as Michael Chasen was) namechecked Richard Parsons (pictured) but he didn't get much attention, and she was nowhere near as excited about that particular aspect of it. You could just tell.
They both (Michael and Jessica, that is, not Jessica and Richard) talked about the product roadmap, priorities for development, etc, which you might have heard elsewhere before. These included, but not limited to:
- quality and stability key to development, combining the best of both products
- enhancing the Discussion Board (including bringing back some old features - they accepted they had screwed up by removing these in the first place - as well as adding new ones, such as e-mail digests of Discussion Boards I think)
- enhancing the Gradebook - particularly to help management for large class sizes, the ability to lock/freeze views
- alerts/subscription model for areas in Content System - eg, "so-and-so has added new content to x area"
- enhancing the social connection/networking stuff that can be facilitated through Bb
Jessica said they had to be reminded frequently that non-Bb staff aren't quite as excited about using and developing the product as Bb-staff are (bless) and that a key win for them was to get Bb to help academics do the less interesting aspects of their job, freeing up more time for the fun stuff. Another key thing was that making the transititions from one version of the product to the next generation shouldn't involve huge migration issues.
And then there was some talk about the product roadmap being built on 4 x 2.0s - Blackboard 2.0; Web 2.0; e-learning 2.0; and education 2.0.
And i'm going to be really really late for this morning's keynote if i don't leg it now...