Invitation to Pilot

Air Traffic Controlman Third Class (AC3) Jemal Wiley from Catskill, New York and AC2 Bruce Bivins from Reno, Nevada, in the Carrier Air Traffic Control Center (CATCC) aboard USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65).

Keeping track of pilots.... (Public Domain Image, click to see source)

In order to keep track of who has agreed to pilot what for the project I have set up a wiki within our Blackboard system. (It can be found in the Organisation “DEVELOP” under the link “Pilots’ Wiki”, though only a few people are enrolled on the Organisation so far.)

So far I have identifed about 20 people (now listed on the wiki) and am currently in the process of contacting them. The people on the list either expressed an interest in getting involved in the project or have been involved with projects we have run in the past. I am trying to gage which of the widgets they would be most interested in trying, or which would be most useful or relevant to the work they do with their students.

In order to do this I’ve had to describe the widgets in a concise but (hopefully) appealing way, while at the same time allowing for the fact that we will be considering input and ideas about how they should develop from the pilots themselves. So I’ve settled on splitting them into three categories, or mini-projects. This is the text that I send out to each of the pilots when I contact them:


– Continuing on from the ASSET project, we shall be trying to make it easier to integrate video (particularly feedback) into your Blackboard course.

– We shall be looking at ways of making it easier to embed content from other sites (e.g. Destinations) into your Blackboard course.


– We shall be attempting to enable students to begin with readymade outlines (containing all templates needed) when building their e-portfolios on Blackboard.

– We shall also be looking at making feedback more flexible, e.g. by enabling you to comment on specific sections of a student’s Blackboard e-portfolio.

– We also want students to be able to export a Blackboard e-portfolio in standards-compliant formats that potentially make it possible to use on other systems.


– We would like to explore different ways of presenting information to students within your Blackboard course by creating a tagging widget, which would allow for different forms of navigation and discovery.

– We’re also looking at a “Recommender” widget for Blackboard which would recommend other materials to students based on previous viewing history or other data.

As people respond, I shall also be opening tickets on our ticketing system (Remedy) so I can track conversations and respond quickly even on non-project days. This approach seems to have proved effective enough in other areas of my work and it will keep the wiki free of stuff that only I need to know, so as to make it clearer for others to read.

About Guy

I am currently Enhancement Officer (for Education Technologies) at the University of Reading. I am also studying for a Masters in Research at the University's School of Systems Engineering.
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