14th Durham BB Users Conference


The 14th Durham Blackboard Users Conference took place on Thursday and Friday, 9th & 10th January 2014 located again in the Calman Learning Centre at Durham University and in Durham Castle. Optional workshops were offered on Wednesday, 8th January 2014.

The theme was the “Life of i” ….

We’re took liberties with the title of a well-known novel and rather expensive devices designed in California but made in China, to look at personal and personalised lifelong learning, supported through technology.

Questions/areas we hope that the event will address include:

  • To what extent does technology emancipate students, freeing them to make their own learning decisions?
  • How can we effectively support students harnessing personal technologies to promote life-long personal learning?
  • To what extent can and should institutions facilitate personalisation of the learning experience?
  • In providing digital solutions for the personal are we creating an isolating experience for the private?
  • Personalised learning en mass: Rhetoric or Reality?

We invited members of the Blackboard User Community (and their friends who may have jumped ship) to share their insights and experiences. Some suggestions for submissions were:

  • “Digital native”?
  • Digital Literacy
  • MOOC pedagogy: can you personalise mass education?
  • Just in time teaching
  • Flipping the classroom making the most of face to face
  • Supporting Reflective learning using technology
  • Designing Flexible eLearning not Distance Learning



We have two Keynotes again for this year:

Patrick Carmichael

Patrick Carmichael

Our first Keynote is Professor Patrick Carmichael who is Professor of Education at the University of Bedfordshire.  Between 2005-2009 he was Head of Research and Evaluation at the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies (CARET) in Cambridge before taking up a Chair in Education at Liverpool John Moores University.  He has directed a range of research projects concerned with virtual learning environments; academic applications of social networking software; and most recently the educational applications of semantic web technologies (Ensemble: http://www.ensemble.ac.uk).

His keynote ”tentative” title was  “Presence, Personalisation and Pedagogy – Using Digital Video in Online Environments“.


Robin Goodfellow

Robin Goodfellow

The second Keynote is Dr Robin Goodfellow, who is a senior lecturer in Teaching with New Technology at the Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology. He has researched and published in the field of literacies and technologies in Higher Education since 1996. His co-authored and co-edited publications include ‘Challenging E-Learning in the University – a literacies perspective’ (McGraw Hill/Open University Press 2007), ‘Learning Cultures in Online Education’ (Continuum 2007), and ‘Literacy in the Digital University – critical perspectives on learning, scholarship and technology’ (Routledge 2013). He has been course director and author on a number of OU online Masters courses in distance education, and is currently working on developing learning analytics with the Faculty of Health and Social Care.

His keynote title is “The Life of ‘e’: first Dialogue, then Design, now Data”.  Here is a link to Robin’s Blog with links used during his Keynote: http://t.co/guETEuwSsR


Blackboard Keynote

Jim Hermens

Jim Hermens

Jim Hermens is the VP of Industry Management within Blackboard’s Industry and Product Management organization, leading the direction of future solutions informed by industry needs across the world.

Prior to this, Jim was the General Manager of Blackboard Analytics after having served as SVP of Learn Product Management. Jim has also served as SVP of Blackboard Global Services, and the General Manager, Transact, giving him over 9 years’ experience of leading strategic developments for Blackboard.

Jim’s previous roles include VP of Product Management and Services at Spectrum K12 School Solutions, a leading provider of management solutions for special populations in K-12 education; as a Managing Director with Hollinger Digital, the venture capital arm of the Daily Telegraph corporate family, and the VP Operations at Laureate International Education.

Jim holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from Princeton University and an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School. An Air Force and Desert Storm war veteran, Jim served as a White House military social aide for Presidents Bush (41) and Clinton.


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


Durham University www.durham.ac.uk

Durham University

Blackboard Inc www.blackboard.com


and also to our 2014 sponsors who help to keep Registration costs so low!









Pre-Conference Workshops

A Day in the Life of LTI

Conference Submissions : Thursday, 9 January 2014

Deeper Understanding as the Key to Deepening Digital Literacy?
Sarah Horrigan & Laura Hollinshead, University of Derby

The Blackboard Festival: Creating a Sense of Excitement and Enthusiasm for Staff Development Sessions
Sharon Flynn, National University of Ireland, Galway

Using the iPad and iTunesU
Ralph Holland & Neil Clark, South Tyneside College

Using ‘Formally’ Informal Blogs to Create Learning Communities for Students on an Introductory Teaching & Learning Programme: Peer Mentoring and Reflective Spaces
Elaine Tan & Eleanor Loughlin – Durham University

How LTI is being Utilised outside of Higher Education
Matthew Wheeler – Pebble Learning [Sponsor]

ePortfolios for Learning Engagement, Feedback, Plagiarism Detection and Electronic Marking
Andy Raistrick – University of Huddersfield

Video Assignments: Managing Large Submissions
Chris Boon –  City College Norwich

Supporting Reflective Learning through Technology
Graeme Boxwell & Franck Michel – Newcastle University

Automating Testing – Saving Time & Money
David Barrett & Blayn Parkinson – University of York

Revolutionising Education within the Blackboard Platform and Beyond with Kaltura
Jeff Newman – Kaltura [Sponsor]

Self-Directed / Self-Paced Learning using Course Templates and Community Modules
Maria Tannant – University for the Creative Arts

Working with the Enemy?  Can we Lock Down Flexibility ?
Sue Lee & Nicola Randles – Staffordshire University

Flexible e-Learning to Sustainably Support Laboratory Learning
Sam Nolan – Foundation Centre, Durham University

Conference Submissions : Friday, 10 January 2014

Teaching and Learning in a Digital Age; The Myth of Digital Competence
Sue Watling – University of Lincoln

Coursework Submission: Theory vs Reality
Bryony Bramer & James Leahy – Regent’s University, London

ReallyManaging Assessment / My Progress
Steve Sidaway – MyKnowlegeMap [Sponsor]

Negative Experiences of some Mature Students with Technology
Nick Pearce – Foundation Centre, Durham University

Ombea: Engage, Analyse, Thrive
Mitt Nathwani & Paul Jenner – Ombea / Reivo [Sponsor]

Enterprise Survey Tool
Malcolm Murray, Julie Mulvey, Stephen Applegarth – Durham University

Personalised Feedback vs Consistency
Maureen Readle & Jak Radice – University of Bradford

Pefecting the Interplay between Traditional and Technology-Based Teaching to Enhance Learning Mathematics
Jinhua Mathias – Foundation Centre, Durham University

The Framework-based Staff Development Approach for Embedding Contenxtualised Digital Literacies at NUI Galway
Paul Gormley – National University of Ireland, Galway

A Tale of Two Expectations
Elaine Tan – Durham University

Administrating on the Move
Sandra Stevenson-Revill – University of Derby


We had one poster submission from Bob Harris – University of Leicester.  Bob cannot join the conference but we have posted his submission here for you to view:


Conference RoundUps & Links

Sue Watling – University of Lincoln
DurBBu Ticks all the Boxes but Hides the Car Parking Space
Reflections on the Life of i
Friere & Blackboard – Final Reflections

Sharon Flynn – NUI Galway
Reflections on DurBBU on Storify

Matt Cornock – University of York
ePortfolios, Digital Literacies and Data – what I took from #durbbu 2014.
Blog post: bit.ly/1lN7Zex Podcasts: bit.ly/1cWAL4r

Andy Hulme – Blackboard
BIRT Reports on the Oscelot Website

Wayne Britcliffe – University of York
The Life of i