Over the past several weeks, we have heard from thousands of you around the world as the education community collectively wrestles with how best to plan for the Coronavirus global pandemic.  

In this time of uncertainty, schools, institutions, companies and even governments are faced with making decisions in hours whether to shut down and move online. At the start of this week, through a series of webinars, we engaged with over 2,000 members of the education community, providing an opportunity to learn about our suggested best practices, tools and solutions to support them. But most importantly, it was a chance for them to share ideas and best practices with each other.

Through these conversations, we are seeing that the entire global education community is focused on three big challenges:   

  1. Quickly standing up virtual classrooms to provide continuity in teaching and learning 
  2. Quickly training faculty and academic staff to effectively leverage technology in delivering teaching and learning
  3. Ensuring that the content they deliver online is engaging, accessible and inclusive for all students

As you look for solutions to help manage through this change, we have seen increased engagement with our existing platforms. In just one day this week, we saw over 120,000 downloads of our Blackboard Student App – the single biggest download day in the app’s history. And Blackboard Collaborate, our virtual classroom solution, has enabled members of our community to connect over 133,000 concurrent students and instructors via a single cloud deployment, and that number is nearly doubling every day.

At Blackboard, we are passionate about education–that is why we have been in this business serving you for over 20 years. We know that together, we can do more. We are by your side to face your challenges together for the long run. And we are working hard every day to make it easier for you to quickly activate solutions that can help you address your most pressing challenges in this rapidly changing environment.

To help quickly activate an online classroom, we’ve launched our new self-service portal, enabling departments to order a Blackboard Collaborate license within minutes, and launch virtual classrooms for students within hours.

Using our expertise in instructional design and technology, we’ve made it easy for institutions to train their faculty on applying a pedagogical approach to using technology more effectively in the classroom. Our Digital Teaching and Learning Series makes it easy for academic staff to get trained on best practices for delivering online learning.  

We have made our Ally accessibility checklist available on our website to help faculty to determine whether their content is inclusive, accessible, and engaging.

We also have a number of additional online resources that you can leverage as your institution considers transitioning to online:

Online Course Facilitation using Blackboard Collaborate (Select Free Courses in the left menu bar)

  • This free course is designed to enable you to consider how current teaching practice might be translated into the online environment, with special emphasis on web and video conferencing tools.
  • Continuity of Education Community Group – Please join this group to learn about and share resources on how institutions manage and prepare for continuity of education when a crisis, natural disaster or pandemic arises.

By connecting our deep understanding of education with the power of technology, we are poised to offer the support that can give your institution confidence to achieve its goals now and in the future. To learn more about all of our solutions, please visit www.blackboard.com.

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