Blackboard Catalyst Award Innovative Development


I was presented a catalyst award this year from Blackboard for Innovative Development. I released a building block used by our university for course evaluations and apparently some other universities liked it enough to nominate me for this award. I was very honored to bring recognition to our university (pdf).





There are certainly plenty of other developers out there who are more innovative than me, but nonetheless I walked up to the stage (twice) and accepted the handshake and all that good stuff.

I almost missed the first acceptance because I was busy talking to so many people was in front of the DevCon audience with George Kroner and John Fontaine. Look how sexy I am. ^_^

The second acceptance I received was at the Catalyst Awards lunch where I got to shake hands with the CTO of Blackboard - Ray Henderson. Ray pretty much manages the entire academic technology side of Blackboard, while the CEO, Michael Chasen, is the figurehead and strategy giver.

And speaking of figureheads, I got this big huge shiny award to take home and put on a shelf. I haven’t quite found a place for it yet, and I think I’ll have to clean out my office first before I get it out of the box. I wonder how much these glass awards cost - think I could eBay it or something? Maybe I’ll check that out later… but enough about my award, let’s discuss Blackboard World!

It was exhausting.

My wife, daughter and I actually made it in the background of the BbWorld recap video) - talking with other award winners. Blackboard World was extremely busy this year. I started with Open Source Day (pdf) Sunday morning, DevCon Monday through Tuesday, and finished up BbWorld Thursday night. I meet a lot of interesting people, saw a lot of new stuff and worked my butt off every day.


Here’s my re-cap on my experience in New Orleans:

  • They say birds of a feather, flock together - which is probably why I like open source day so much.
  • I presented at DevCon. (next post)
  • My favorite DevCon session was by William Boyd about Spring @Security and Blackboard entitlements.
  • Best speech was by Sal Khan who shared how Khan Academy all started and the direction its headed.
  • Didn’t really have a favorite BbWorld session (those were kind of boring).
  • Ate tons of Cajun food, including duck gumbo, fat shrimp and ratatouille
  • My favorite part: Got to feel my little girl playing the drums in her momma’s belly (as we walked by Bourbon street performers playing drums).

By the end of the week we were exhausted of New Orleans and ready to go home and rest.