In September, our team announced the general availability of ANGEL 8.0, which honors the commitment made to the community to deliver one more update of the ANGEL platform. By upgrading to this version of ANGEL, you will benefit from a very stable product that your faculty and staff are familiar with, and have the time you need to thoroughly evaluate the future of e-Learning at your institution.
Consistent with previous ANGEL releases, 8.0 is a result of client feedback and our continued partnership. We heard your desire for little change management, and we are delivering on that while still providing some key enhancements you’ve requested.
Safari/Chrome Certification: This additional browser support not only provides a richer and more complete user experience for our mobile clients but also delivers on a long-standing request from the ANGEL community. It is only with the breadth and depth of Blackboard resources we were able to make this happen.
Blackboard Mobile Learn™ for ANGEL Enhancements: We’ve enriched the mobile experience by providing the ability to open a browser to view content in ANGEL, the ability for instructors to upload content from their mobile device, and the ability for users to upload to discussion forum posts from their mobile device, and others.
Batch Export Tool: Users may now create batch course export jobs that export only course content by organizational unit or by selected courses. This routine works the same as the current backup tool, but also allows the creation of export files that contain the entire course sans any student data. This is the preferred method for content migration from ANGEL to Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1.
Grading Rubrics in Discussion Forums: The same efficiency and consistent evaluation and feedback available via Rubrics for other content items is now available for Discussions.
We encourage everyone to upgrade to ANGEL 8.0. This will ensure you are on a fully supported version of ANGEL through October 2014. As an additional reminder, ANGEL 7.3 is no longer supported, and ANGEL 7.4 moves to operational support in October, 2012.
We’ve noted that there’s a growing interest from ANGEL users about the Blackboard Learn 9.1 platform. This is especially true as more and more ANGEL-inspired features are surfacing in Release 9.1, and as the content conversion features from ANGEL to 9.1 improve rapidly.
In addition, our product roadmap for 2012 includes Learning Object Repository, advanced reporting, automatic re-grade, and full student preview, as well as other ANGEL-inspired features.
To this end, we are committed to providing open access, for all of our ANGEL clients, to Blackboard Learn 9.1. If you would like to try the platform, there are three free ways to do so:
Request a FREE production license of Blackboard Learn through the end of your ANGEL contract. You’ll have the ability to test, and pilot, your production build locally. This scenario allows your team to access your current hardware, software and training needs for the future. Contact your account representative for details.
Try Blackboard Learn via CourseSites, our free, hosted course service. With CourseSites, your team has free access to a cloud hosted version of the latest Blackboard Learn 9.1 build. Just sign up, create your course, and start inviting students and faculty to try the software. Visit CourseSites.com for more information.
Request a preview account at Blackboard.com/BbLearnPreview. To learn more, just visit our request form and reserve a test drive license of the software.
In addition, your team can schedule a free, one-on-one pilot consultation with one of our Solutions Engineers. These experts can guide you through the pilot process, from planning to implementation, to make sure you’re on the right path to success.
Resources to Help Evaluate Blackboard Learn 9.1
To start, we recommend that your team take a look at the newly revised ANGEL website on Blackboard.com. On this page, you’ll find information about ANGEL 8.0, best practices to transition from ANGEL to Blackboard Learn, webinars, community resources and more.
Second, as an evaluation of your learning management system becomes more of a reality, we recommend you visit the Evaluation Resource Center. This site houses resources, gathered from your peer institutions, used to evaluate e-Learning strategies in the US and around the world. If you are planning your own evaluation, this resource should prove invaluable.
Also available is the Blackboard Upgrade Center. The Upgrade Center is designed for anyone involved in upgrading Blackboard technology from a technical or procedural standpoint. The Upgrade Center provides background on our 5-step upgrade process, an Upgrade Readiness assessment tool, and the ability to join our Release 9.1 Upgrade Cohort Program that can help you plan and execute your move.
Finally, check out the Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1 On Demand Learning Center. This publicly available resource library contains short videos and documents that show teachers and students how to teach and learn online with Blackboard Learn 9.1. Explore this resource to gain a greater understanding of the teaching and learning capabilities of Release 9.1.
Thank you to the hundreds of people who responded to our survey request to better understand our ANGEL clients’ usage of some key ANGEL features that are not currently on the near term Release 9.1 roadmap. Below are the results of the survey ordered by most common use and highest priority for inclusion in Release 9.1:
Course Mail - ANGEL's private, LMS-centric course mail system that provides a dedicated mail platform, supporting both internal and web-based mail, and archiving all messages for future reference.
Discussion Updates - ANGEL-specific capabilities like Post First, Hot Seat, Color Coded Instructor Posts, Scoring Rubrics, and multiple view modes.
Attendance - Ability to take and report on attendance in all learning environments.
Exception Reporting - The information and possible actions provided by ANGEL's “WhoDunIT” reports, e.g. the ability to view and act upon students who meet a variety of conditions including logins, grades, performance vs. standards, etc.
Enterprise Survey - The ability to deliver survey’s across the entire institution in support of Course / Instructor Evaluations – or any other desired student / faculty survey.
Tokens - Ad ability to embed tokens and thus personalize course content and/or messages.
Automation Framework (Agents) - ANGEL's capability to automate and schedule the execution of a variety of actions based upon the Exception Reporting rules.
Differentiated Instruction - ANGEL's ability to create custom learning paths through the combination of Agents, Triggers and Actions.
We will continue to keep the ANGEL community updated on progress made on the use cases above. Always feel free to schedule a roadmap presentation to make sure you are aware of when we plan to deliver ANGEL use cases in the Release 9.1 product. To schedule a roadmap presentation, you can reach out to your Learn Sales Account Manager.
The ANGEL Office Hours Cohort is off to a great start! So far we have over 70 ANGEL clients signed up to hear the latest in ANGEL news on the third Monday of each month.
Through this program, Blackboard hopes to bring the ANGEL community together in a cohesive way to provide access to representatives from Product Marketing, Product Management, Solutions Engineering and ANGEL Support. And, more importantly, it is a gathering of ANGEL users who wish to discuss topics of interest and share knowledge. Topics we’ve discussed so far include: the ANGEL product vision, staying engaged with Blackboard, pricing a move to the Blackboard Learn platform, upgrading from ANGEL releases 7.4 > 8.0 > Blackboard Learn 9.1, SQL Query Manager Training, and a demo of ANGEL 8.0. Topics covered are suggested by the participants.
Curious about what content will look like in Blackboard Learn 9.1? Are you interested in contributing to the development of the ANGEL Content Conversion Building Block tool? The ANGEL Content Conversion PDP might be a great opportunity for you and your institution.
Blackboard is looking for ANGEL clients with whom we can partner to test ANGEL courses after they have been converted to Blackboard Learn 9.1. We’ll use the feedback captured by our clients to help improve and prioritize development efforts prior to the broad release of the conversion tool. This program is currently underway with 20 institutions testing courses and offering suggestions for improving the conversion tool.
Are you ready to make the move to Blackboard Learn Release 9.1? Do you need help in planning how to get there? Then, this is the program for you. Hundreds of WebCT CE/Vista and Blackboard classic clients have benefitted from the Upgrade Cohort Program. This series of virtual meetings is designed to help you plan and execute your move to Blackboard Learn Release 9.1. It is completely free and includes best practices and advice from Blackboard and clients who have done it all before.
How successful are these programs?
90% of participants feel better prepared for their upgrade as a direct result of the Upgrade Cohort Program.
To participate in this program, which is scheduled to begin in February of 2012, register at www.blackboard.com/cohort, and we’ll get you more information.
Join the Blackboard Idea Exchange (BIE)!
In order to participate in the free ANGEL Community Programs described above, you must first join the Blackboard Ideal Exchange (BIE), a community of client advisors who provide feedback to Blackboard on a range of topics, both product and market related. Opportunities include focus groups, surveys, Bug Squads, Product Development Partnerships (like the one mentioned above), and beta testing, among other things. ANGEL clients can learn about all the ways they can engage with Blackboard to shape the future of Blackboard Learn products by joining the BIE. We want you!
Get Recognized for your Innovation at the 2012 Blackboard Catalyst Awards. The Blackboard Catalyst Awards honors those who push the boundaries of their educational programs and technology in order to deliver innovative and effective learning experiences. This year, we will recognize innovators in the following categories: Community Collaboration, Exemplary Courses, Innovative Development, Mobile Innovation, Staff Development and a new category – Communications Strategy. We encourage you to check out the full award categories at www.blackboard.com/catalyst and spread the word with your colleagues.
The Blackboard Catalyst Awards team has developed a more streamlined timeline for all of the Catalyst Awards. To give you an idea of the new timeline, we highlight a few important dates below:
Influence and enhance teaching and learning at other institutions
Shape eLearning around the world
Whatever your focus at your organization, we encourage you to submit a proposal. Consider the things that matter to you the most in your role and consider sharing your solutions with your peers. Need some ideas? How about:
Technology Adoption – best practices for improving user success to maximize the value of your technology investment
Digital Content – how advancements in digital content are changing the way students and faculty engage with and share educational information and activities.
Mobility – how to meet the growing expectation that students have for access and engagement through mobile devices
Social Learning – learning from interaction and collaboration with peers through both formal and informal educational spheres.
Analytics in Action – the power of data-driven decision making across the institution.
BbWorld 2012 will convene at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. For more information, visit www.bbworld.com.
Do you feel like you need an update on what is happening for the ANGEL K12 clients? Please join us for a virtual session on Thurs., Jan. 19 at 2:00 pm EST.
Members of the Blackboard team will provide insight into what Blackboard has learned from ANGEL, both as a company and as a product. We’ll discuss the new features of ANGEL 8.0 and the product road map for Blackboard Learn, specifically for ANGEL K12 clients. You'll learn how Blackboard continues to invest in ANGEL while preparing its products for emerging trends in education. Additionally, you’ll learn about the ANGEL Upgrade Program—a set of resources and services for planning a move to Blackboard’s Release 9.1 as well as client programs designed to keep you engaged and informed and to provide a forum for your voice to be heard by the Blackboard Learn team.
Welcome to the latest edition of the ANGEL Connection, your quarterly ANGEL Community Newsletter. Please feel free to email us your comments or suggestions.
Statements regarding our
product development initiatives, including new products and future
product upgrades, updates or enhancements represent our current
intentions, but may be modified, delayed or abandoned without prior
notice and there is no assurance that such offering, upgrades, updates
or functionality will become available unless and until they have been
made generally available to our customers