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SLATE was originally created as the Midwest Blackboard Users Group, from the concept that all institutions that are deploying and/or currently using Web-based components to enhance their teaching and learning activities, have the same questions, the same challenges, and the need for the same solutions. By drawing together the expertise of the people involved in the entire academic experience and those designing, supporting, and using these applications; faculty support staff, systems administrators, instructional designers, librarians, and students - a broader and more accessible and dynamic support system could be established. Our current membership comes from K-12, Higher Education, and the Corporate sector.

The first group meeting was held at the University of Chicago in May of 2002. The original core of eight institutions included; The University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Moraine Valley Community College, Joliet Junior College, Purdue University Calumet, DePaul University, Northern Illinois University, and Northeastern Illinois University. That number has grown to over 80 participating institutions across the country and has gained international recognition.

The SLATE mission:  To support learning and technology in education through communication, collaboration, and innovation while developing and sustaining a community of practice.

Recognizing that any community needs to adapt and change in order to grow and continue to meet the needs of its participants, SLATE has evolved into a general LMS and teaching technologies support group.  One example of that is starting to form SIG's (special interest groups) to address issues related to other widely-used LMS products (the first is a Moodle SIG) and specific audiences; faculty, media technologies, technical, and accessibility, to name a few.  "It is better to keep the community united with the core values and issues that had originally brought it together - and still apply today - then to lose expertise and engagement just because the community has become diverse".  

If you would be interested in participating in a SIG or have a suggestion for forming one, please contact Ken Sadowski, to discuss it further.

To learn more about SLATE, visit the links below: