The Michigan Blackboard Users Group (MiBUG) 3 rd annual conference was a successful event. Donna Wicks and Jon Kowalski from Kettering University began this initiative, and hosted our conference. This collaborative group has the common thread of uniting Michigan Blackboard users. The spirit of the conference was captured in the practice sharing between 120 participants including Blackboard users, Blackboard vendors, and Blackboard personnel. Attendees were from over 15 educational institutions, including the UK. The MiBUG Conference provides an opportunity for partnering with colleagues for evolving the use of Blackboard and e-Learning tools for teaching and learning.
The experience of participating in MiBUG enables Blackboard users to engage in learning new ways to enhance their practices. Over 28 breakout sessions in this two day conference provided a diverse variety of topic selections (view the agenda at http://www.mibug.org). Popular topics focused on hands-on applications for adding techniques to your personal tool boxes. Bridging Blackboard to e-Learning was another area broadening approaches of Blackboard users. Strategies of best practices were also shared in roundtable sessions. In addition, a new Transaction Users track was included in this year’s program.
On a personal level, I enjoyed the MiBUG conference. This event provides a forum for communicating and networking between colleagues. It is in this dialogue that the collective sharing and support gives you a feeling that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This experience provides an opportunity to reunite with familiar colleagues, while meeting new ones. On a professional level, I realized that participating in the conference revitalizes your outlook on integrating blackboard and e-Learning tools into your educational community. Therefore, strategies for using Blackboard and e-Learning tools will continue to be the focus of future programs.
In summary, the strength of a user group is made up of the participants who continue voluntarily sharing ideas with colleagues. This commitment to communicating your ideas and listening to what colleagues are doing promotes collaboration. By supporting each other, Blackboard users all benefit in this process. The Michigan Blackboard Users Group invites your participation in upcoming conferences hosted at the following academic institutions: Grand Rapids Community College in 2005, and Lawrence Technological University in 2006. With so many things to gain, it reinforces my point, User Groups Matter.