07 August 2011

Blackboard World

Last month I attended BB World for the first, and hopefull the last time. I went because SDSU is upgrading to 9.1 and reconfiguring our support system (e.g. personnel). And in my current position, I do more hands-on support with BB too, so it seemed to make sense.  

I'd never been to a conference about a technology. Most of the sessions were about how to use it in pedagogically sounds ways. I attended one or two great sessions that made the trip worthwhile. I participated in a usability test of a new interface. That was interesting, but a little disappointing too. I thought I'd have a chance to point out some design flaws. Instead I did some think-alouds and filled out pointed surveys.

I didn't attend the keynotes. I usually do. I thought they'd be sales-pitchy. I already had the feeling of being recruited into the cult of Blackboard. It's a technology, geez.

This conference was the most gamified conference I've attended. You got badges at the vendor stands and then something happened. Maybe a drawing. I don't know; I didn't play. I play scrabble f2f with the gf. I got badges in the Brownies in 1968.

My conference ID badge was encoded with some undisclosed data. I realized it on the first day, when I saw everybody being scanned before entering each session. I tweeted what I considered a privacy breach with this practice. I had no idea what data was encoded and none of the scanners could tell me. When I started refusing to be scanned, a few got a little perturbed, insisting I couldn't enter unscanned. Really?

The food was good though.