15th Durham BB Users Conference

The 15th Durham Blackboard Users’ Conference will take place on Tuesday the 6th and Wednesday the 7th of January 2015.

There will also be some “free” optional pre-conference workshops and user group sessions on Monday the 5th of January 2015 – Make sure you save the dates.

The conference will be held in the Calman Learning Centre at Durham University and at Durham Castle for our hospitality evening. More details about the conference, such as the keynotes, call for papers, etc. will be added to this page nearer the time.

Conference Theme – Partnering with Students

This year’s conference theme picks up an issue being discussed across campuses this year. We first looked at the student learning experience at #durbbu in 2005 when the conference title was “In front of the Blackboard: the learner’s experience“. We feel there have been significant developments that merit us re-visiting this topic, and doing so from a slightly different angle. It’s also something that members of the Learning Technologies Team here at Durham have been exploring, with a recent “Student-Led” project providing some very candid and perceptive feedback on the local e-learning experience. We know that others have been active in this area too, a good example of this is the report Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education that Mick Healey, Abbi Flint and Kathy Harrington have just published via the HEA.

We feel this is a very timely topic, which offers a challenge to our assumptions, practices and beliefs about learning and teaching. Many of the people involved in delivering and enabling online education are trying to create an educational experience that is very different from the one they experienced themselves as undergraduates. Are our own experiences still valid reference points? Does embracing the concept of partnership mean we need to reconceptualise what it is to be a student, and/or a teacher? This view is not universally accepted –  what are the consequences of rejecting or ignoring this challenge?

Taking the conference theme to heart, we’re changing the format of the conference slightly this year based on our own experiences when presenting the findings of the Student-Led project together with students. We will be adding a strand for papers co-authored with students and we hope that students will be involved in the presentation too. We plan to offer funded places for a limited number of presenters who are current students at your institution – more details will be available shortly, but we hope this encourages you to get planning now!

A second change is partnering with students as consumers of and commentators upon the conference activities. We are delighted that journalism students from Sunderland University have agreed to attend and blog about the conference – thanks to Neil MacFarlane for making this happen.

We are very excited about these changes and hope that number fifteen will be even more inclusive, energetic, insightful and engaging than those before. To make that happen we’ll need your support – as presenters, reviewers and delegates.

About the Conference

This is a conference organised by the user community, for the user community. Whilst we welcome the involvement and support of Blackboard and other commercial companies, they have no influence on the conference theme, the programme or the content. Delegates are free to offer constructive praise or criticism of any product as they see fit.

This long-standing e-Learning event regularly attracts over 140 delegates – a few years ago we had to move to bigger premises because we had exceeded the old venue’s capacity! The audience is a mix of repeat attendees and first time visitors: learning technologists, librarians, academics, administrators and even the odd manager. It is a great networking opportunity at a low price.


Our thanks go out to Durham University and to Blackboard Inc for making this conference possible

Durham University

Durham University

Blackboard Inc


and also to our 2015 sponsors who help to keep Registration costs so low!









 Eesysoft logo



If you are interested in being a sponsor for our upcoming conference please drop an email to julie.mulvey@durham.ac.uk

Hospitality Evening

Dinner at Durham Castle

On Tuesday, 6 January 2015 we will be hosting the Durham Blackboard Users Conference dinner in the Great Hall at Durham Castle. The dinner commences at 8.15 pm in the Great Hall

There will be a Drinks Reception at 7.30 pm in the Senate Room, Durham Castle where you will be given a warm glass of Mulled Wine or a glass of non Alcoholic Fruit Punch along with a selection of canapes of which there will be one meat, one fish and one vegetarian option.

The Undercroft Bar at Durham Castle will be open from 6.30 pm for people to meet up and buy drinks before this – and it will be open from after the dinner until late.

Additional Information

Our Social Media Twitter Hashtag is #durbbu

For information how to set up your laptops/mobile devices please click on the following link: Link to Internet Connection page

Please note that Durham University has signed up to eduroam which you can use at the conference.  Delegates will also be given a temporary Conference ID when you arrive.

Here is a link to a map of Durham University

Check out our FAQ pages. If they don’t provide an answer then contact us by emailing julie.mulvey@durham.ac.uk or calling Julie Mulvey on 0191 334 2781.