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​​Computer Science Student Named Blackboard MVP

Eric Silva, a sophomore computer science major at The University of Texas at Brownsville, was recently named a Blackboard MVP by Blackboard Inc.

Silva, 18, of Brownsville was the only student selected for the second class of Blackboard MVPs who exhibit expert knowledge and give feedback about the technology platform used by businesses, companies, governmental entities, schools and universities worldwide for online training, retention, talent and recruiting, mass notifications and other actions. UTB students and faculty members use Blackboard.

“It was shocking,” Silva said about his selection. “It is one of those ‘wow’ moments.”

People selected as Blackboard MVPs keep the designation as long as they stay in good standing with the company. They maintain Blackboard and personal blogs, have professional development trainings, are given product briefings and use social media to interact with users.

UT Brownsville student Eric Silva on Tuesday, Jul. 1, 2014 at the University Library. Silva is the only student selected in the second class of Blackboard MVPs for his knowledge of the technology platform.UT Brownsville student Eric Silva on Tuesday, Jul. 1, 2014 at the University Library. Silva is the only student selected in the second class of Blackboard MVPs for his knowledge of the technology platform.

“This program is incredibly powerful as it provides a platform not only for users to collaborate and learn from each other, but also for our company leaders to hear directly from the people who use our solutions in the field, every day,” said Jay Bhatt, Chief Executive Officer of Blackboard. “Blackboard MVPs are truly helping improve the learning experience and address important challenges in education.”

Silva keeps up with what is going on in educational technology by reading blogs and journals in his spare time. He said he is intrigued right now with devices used in classrooms, whether they are iPads and iPhones students bring from home to use or they are assigned an iPad by the school to use.

Being a Blackboard MVP should help Silva in the job market in a few years. He wants to pursue educational technology after graduation.

“I want to pursue education technology because it fascinates me how education is evolving due to the new technology,” said Silva.

Silva will be part of the faculty and student panel “Teaching or Learning: What’s Driving Change – and Student Success – in the Digital Age” at BbWORLD 2014 from Tuesday, July 15 to Thursday, July 17 at The Venetian/Palazzo Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas. The panel appearance is separate from his Blackboard MVP designation.

Silva first became interested in Blackboard when he was a junior at the Science Academy of South Texas in Mercedes. He said the Science Academy’s engineering and computer science curriculum helped him with critical thinking and problem solving skills.

“It was because I was always actively helping the teachers and giving them ideas on how to incorporate Blackboard into their classes,” said Silva.

One of the teachers he worked with was Dr. Celeste Cardenas, his former Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment English IV Instructor at the Science Academy.

“Eric is focused on attaining expertise in the Blackboard online program,” said Cardenas. “I saw his potential and invited him to co-train with me and South Texas Independent School District personnel on the mechanics of Blackboard for instructional coursework. This is a hands-on workshop designed to meet the technology and curriculum needs of teachers. Not only is Eric determined, but he is respectful, responsive and resourceful – traits that will lead him to be extremely successful in this life.”

Currently enrolled or future students can visit the Enrollment Center @ The Tower at Main to register for classes, talk to an academic advisor, make payments and do other tasks for the fall semester. The fall semester registration deadline is Tuesday, Aug. 12. The payment deadline is Thursday, Aug. 14. The first day of class is Monday, Aug. 25. For more information call 956-882-8254.


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