Archives for July 2012

Rock on, SLATE! An Up Close Look at How a Blackboard User Group Has Impacted Teaching, Learning and Support of Technology in the Midwest

SLATE Celebrating 10 Years
Working in a vacuum can be daunting. Who do you turn to for best practices in teaching and learning, for advice when a challenge arises, or to assist you in managing change? More than 1500 of your peers turn to a Blackboard User Group! During this panel presentation at BbWorld 2012, my colleagues Cheryl Boncuore, Ken Sadowski, Heath Tuttle, and I shared about the professional and personal benefits received from participating in a Blackboard User Group (SLATE – Supporting Learning And Technology in Education).

Group leader, Ken Sadowski – winner of a 2011 Catalyst Award winner for Community Collaboration – has nurtured this 10-year old Midwest User Group from its humble beginnings to over 80 member institutions.

Slides and other resources shared during the presentation are at

To learn more about SLATE or to become involved, visit

Podcasting online faculty development programs using Blackboard Collaborate MP4 archives

This session at Blackboard Collaborate Connections Summit shared Northern Illinois University’s journey offering live online faculty development workshops using Blackboard Collaborate as well as making online workshop archives available for on-demand viewing either online, in iTunes, or on a mobile device. Emphasis was placed on NIU’s step-by-step workflow for using Publish! in conjunction with Blackboard Collaborate to create MP4 versions of archives suitable for viewing online as well as on mobile devices to deliver archived online faculty development programs in podcast form. The presentation includes considerations for hosting archives outside Blackboard Collaborate as well as the steps necessary to create a podcast RSS feed, submit to the iTunes store, and update the necessary files when a new MP4 archive from Blackboard Collaborate is generated.

Blackboard Tutorials, Helps, and Resources @BlackboardTutor Moving to the Next Level

Back in March 2009, I had the idea of beginning to aggregate and share the best tutorials, helps, and resources I found online, including resources from the NIU Teaching with Blackboard site that my colleagues and I develop and maintain. I went ahead and setup a free Twitter account @BlackboardTutor and using TwitterFeed, created several different automated actions whereby when I bookmarked a resource, it would automatically be tweeted.

first Tweet from @BlackboardTutor

After doing the initial setup, it was years before I would again log back into this Twitter account, as new tweets were automatically posted when Blackboard helps were bookmarked or shared online.

Since that time, what began initially as just a social media experiment has blossomed into a trusted resource, with currently nearly 1,900 followers to date. Desiring for this resource to continue to grow and benefit others in the Blackboard community, I approached Blackboard to see if it is a social media resource they would be willing to take over, and they gladly accepted. So, I’m pleased to report that moving forward, @BlackboardTutor will be moving to the next level as it will be more actively managed by Blackboard’s social media team. It is my hope that it will continue to be a great aggregator of newly available Blackboard support resources, tutorials, etc. that will benefit the entire Blackboard user community worldwide. Follow @BlackboardTutor and watch for many more support resources to come!

Presenting from iPad at BbWorld Using SlideShark

In my quest to go “laptop-less” at BbWorld, I plan to present from my iPad using the free SlideShark app. I’ve found SlideShark to be by far the simplest and most elegant solution for converting a PowerPoint to an iPad-native presentation for displaying.

first slide of PowerPoint presentation show on SlideShark app
First slide of presentation shown from iPad using SlideShark

Here’s how the service works in a nutshell. You sign-up for a free account and download the app onto your iPad. Then, when you have a PowerPoint presentation finished, you upload from your computer to your online account. Next, simply launch the Slideshark app on your iPad and after you’ve logged into your SlideShark account for the first time, you’ll see all your uploaded presentations. Tap the “Download” button to download any presentations you’ll be giving so that you have them stored locally on your iPad (in case you experience Wi-Fi issues). Displaying your presentation is then as simple as plugging your iPad into the projector and clicking the green “play” button.

If you’d like to ditch your laptop and simply present from your iPad, give SlideShark a try! Sign-up for free using this link and both you and I get some extra free storage!

SlideShark app on iPad
SlideShark app open on my iPad, BbWorld presentations loaded

If you do plan to present from your iPad, remember your dongle 🙂

Do you also use SlideShark? Or, perhaps you have found another approach for presenting PPT from iPad? Leave a comment and share your impressions of SlideShark and/or recommendations for other PowerPoint presentation alternatives.

Going Laptopless at BbWorld 2012

using iPad on lap

I’ve lost track of the number of conferences I’ve attended where I’ve loathed having to carry around a bulky laptop to take notes and use in giving presentations. BbWorld will be my first conference where I will attempt to go completely laptopless, using only my iPad to present and combo of my iPad and iPhone to take notes and moblog (aka: mobile blog) my experience and takeaways.

The BbWorld app, social media feeds viewable on Flipboard, and utilities like IFTTT all make it possible to have access to all conference-related content and conversations as well as easily contribute via social media, all from your mobile device of choice.

Have you gone laptopless already? What suggestions do you have for a newbie? Or, maybe you are going laptopless for the first time at BbWorld 2012? Leave a comment and share your experience! You’ll be able to follow mine at

Photo courtesy incredibleguy on Flickr