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Fail, Fad or Future?
The Nineteenth Annual Durham Blackboard Users' Conference

Fail, Fad or Future?

You are warmly invited to join us at the largest and friendliest Blackboard Users Conference in the world. Delegates will share their experience of using Blackboard Learn from the perspectives of the learner, the lecturer and those who support it. Over half the delegates who attended in 2018 rated it as the best conference of the year! Why not start 2019 at #durbbu?


Registration and the call for papers has now closed. All submissions have been peer reviewed and a draft programme issued.  Accepted presentations and workshops follow one of these themes:

Fail, Fad or Future?

The challenge for learning technologists and lecturers alike is to separate the long-lasting solutions from the lemons. Which tools and approaches should you invest your time, reputation (and money) in? Some will be short-lived fads (think Second Life) some may fail from the start (Sinclair C5) but other might turn out to be the future of learning. How do you tell?  Is it wrong to experiment with a fad or failure?

Submit your stories of using technologies that you think are a fad, a failure or the future and share what you've learnt from doing this.

Pedagogic Practice

If you have something you want to share but you don't think it is best presented by shoe-horning it into this year's theme despair not. We always welcome papers about innovate approaches, effective techniques and general lessons learned. That's what this track is all about. 

The best presentations in this track are those supported by evidence, not just anecdote.


There's always space for technical articles. Share your latest building block and Rest API triumphs. Wave the flag for LTI. Inspire us with your custom styling of Learn. Talk us through your best sys admin tips. Show us how you've beaten the integration process into submission.

You're doing great things every day. Share them...


See the Final Programme

Version 2 released 7th January 2019

Early Bird

£ 140 pp
  • Full access to workshops, main conference and dinner.
  • Ended 31st October


£ 160 pp
  • Full access to workshops, main conference and dinner.
  • Ended 7th December

Last Minute

£ 200 pp
  • Full access to workshops, main conference and dinner.
  • CLOSED - we are full!


These run from 2pm until 5pm on the afternoon of Monday the 7th of January - the day before the main conference. Attendance at a workshop is free for all conference delegates - please book it when you register. There is also a post-event drinks reception from 5 to 6pm for workshop participants.

MoCo Bb User Group

Blackboard Mobile/Collaborate Users Group
A chance for members of the Blackboard MoCo Users' Group to meet face to face in Durham, talk to staff from Blackboard and share their experiences. The meeting will begin with a live online discussion, followed by a hands-on session.

Amy Eyre, Sarah Sherman and Gillian Fielding
York University, Bloomsbury and Blackboard

Blackboard Ally User Group Meeting and Workshop
Join us for a 1 hour hybrid online Ally European User Group meeting (14:00-15:00 GMT), followed by an Onsite Ally Workshop to include an Introduction to Ally, demos, new features, user Feedback, FAQs and more!  

Claire Gardener, Kristen McCartney-Bulmer and Nicolaas Matthijs
University of Derby, Northumbria University and Blackboard


The PebblePad Challenge: Documenting learning journeys
Showcase and task-based portfolios are an integral part of online learning and assessment. This workshop includes a hands-on session with further activities throughout the conference and a chance to see how Northumbria integrates their portfolio capability with assessment.

Patrick Viney and Sarah Copeland
Northumbria University and PebblePad

Turnitin Workshop: Spot the cheat: an introduction to forensic linguistics
A short introduction to the fascinating area of forensic linguistics. How does it work? How good are you at spotting a cheat? This is your chance to see Turnitin's new Authorship Investigate, in action.

Jamie Whitehead and colleagues

We love it, but don't just take our word for it

The following are all genuine quotes from delegates who attended the 2018 conference

The chance to see how others are using the tools in Blackboard to solve Teaching and Learning issues. Every year we come away with ideas on how we can improve practice.

Excellent presentations and workshops that covered many relevant topics. I found all of the ones that I attended to be honest, approachable, and often inspiring.

Best things? Quality and honesty of presentations. Community feeling, genuine interest and positive contribution by Blackboard and other companies

Excellent organisation, highly relevant content, fantastic location but perhaps above all, by far the most welcoming conference I attend each year. Can I also add that the food at all venues, particularly the conference diner, was outstanding.

Good size and amount of people - it was manageable and allowed for networking with lots of people. Networking was important and lots of friendly people sharing their experiences. Sessions were interesting and varied - good lengths. Theme was spot on and easy to understand.

A good range of speakers and topics of discussion once again; a great chance to catch up with friends and colleages; and a superb dinner in what has to be the most amazing location possible. Bb Durham is the highlight of each year.


Durham Business School
Mill Hill Lane
DH1 3LB 

University College
The Castle
Palace Green


Monday 7th January 2019

Tuesday 8th January 2019
Wednesday 9th January 2019

Tuesday 8th January 2019

Phone 0191 334 2781
Tweet @LearnTechDurham


This conference is organised by the Durham Centre for Academic Development which is part of Durham University.

DCAD  Education by Design