Exciting Course Design Announcements: 04/01/2016
The IDS team is happy to share with you several course design news items that have finally become public, although we have been involved in the development process back and forth the software and UI professionals for the last 3 months.
First of all, the biggest news is of course the long-awaited merger of Google and Blackboard, which means that there will now be a number of new features in Blackboard and ultimately this makes for the world’s largest LMS company with all the innovations of Google right at your fingertips from within a Blackboard course. What came as a surprise though, is the direction of the merger, and that it is Blackboard that has purchased Google, not the other way around.
One of the features that we are most excited about is email! No more course messages, instead the well-known and well-loved Gmail will replace the messaging feature in Blackboard, which will now be called “Bmail” or “Blackmail” for long. It will have an extended archiving system where there will be no more lost or unnoticed messages, and every message will be carefully reviewed by a special data analytics team member and anything you ever write may be used against you at any point.
Finally, we are also looking forward to adopting new themes for Blackboard which are being released by the end of the month. At present, there are only a handful of course design themes, and they are a little on the more basic side. The new package offers a variety of themes and color schemes. According to our internal survey, polling more than 1,000 students and about 300 instructors and administrators, the winning theme we will soon be implementing is the Disney Princess one.
We will be able to create badges and avatars that our students will easily relate to, and progress through the hierarchy of princesses. You should see the color choices we will have! (Full disclaimer: while we have seen some previews, the final theme layout has not been finalized yet, although the characters will fairly accurately correlate to the ones seen in the animated features). In the future, we are told we will also be able to put in requests for custom princess characters, but the details are to be announced at a later time.
I hope you will receive this announcement with the same degree of joy and sense of humor as you have come to expect from us.