BbWorld is going on now in Orlando, and I'm 1,400 miles away. Haven't been to BbWorld now for a few years, and I'm starting to wonder if I should be re-adding the conference to my list?
I should say that I firmly believe that if you are a Bb customer (or potential customer) then you should definitely be (well) represented at BbWorld. Whoever is your Blackbord czarina/czar should attend. In particular, the sys admins and anyone doing Building Block or other integration work should definitely be at the Developers portion of the conference.
What I'm wondering about is if people who mostly put together courses, people like me, should definitely attend? From a distance, this BbWorld seems to be filled with some big news, news that is causing me to question my decision to stay home. The e-textbook integration announcement is I think an important development. It seems as if the publishers are finally recognizing that they need to make their content as services as discoverable and usable from within the LMS as possible. Of course, the Wimba and Elluminate purchase is also big news, and I would have liked to have gotten the hallway reactions from conference goers.
Reasons Why I Stopped Going to Bb World:
--Colleagues Already Attending: Other people at my institution are already committed and energized to go each year, so I get the news from them.
--Value Proposition:The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference is a must for me, and Blackboard is well represented at this event. Not sure what is the comparative advantage over only going to EDUCAUSE if I'm not a developer / sys admin?
--Conference and Travel Burnout: Traveling has just gotten worse each year, the demands from both home (kids etc.) and work seem to escalate for all of us. The bar to travel to a conference feels like it has been raised, we all need an overwhelming compelling rationale to attend with specific goals we need to have met if we are going to undertake the travel and manage the time away. Currently I have 3 conferences that I think are "must" to attend: the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, the ECAR Symposium, and the EDUCAUSE ELI Annual Meeting. Can I really add a 4th?
--Expense: Conferences are expensive, and getting more so. We are all very careful how we spend our budgets nowadays, and conferences need to demonstrate clear ROI.
Reasons Why I'm Thinking about Going to BbWorld 2011:
--Blackboard's Strategic Roadmap: The most productive part of conferences are not the presentations, but the ability to spend significant time with decision makers and peers. BbWorld is an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with the leadership of Blackboard to both understand and advocate for a medium-to-long term strategic roadmap. There are some key directions I hope BB goes in terms of openness, integration, features, and service - BbWorld seems like the best place to make this case.
--The Vendor Ecosystem: The products and services that are built on top of Blackboard are critical to understand. BbWorld is the best opportunity to engage with Blackboard partners, and to get a sense of the level of long-term commitment and plans for those partnerships. BbWorld is also a great opportunity to learn about vendors in the Blackboard ecosystem that I many not know too much about.
So I'm on the fence for Bb World 2011. What would you recommend? What made your Bb World 2010 a must attend event? What conferences do you never miss?