No Chalk Dust Here
Inez Whipple | TrustRadius Reviewer
February 15, 2014

No Chalk Dust Here

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

9 service pack 13

Modules Used

  • Blackboard Learn

Overall Satisfaction

The college uses Blackboard to develop and deliver online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses for students. We also use it for faculty and staff training. It is the only learning management system used at the college and has been used here for quite a few years. It helps us keep our course content together and allows documentation for grades and communications between faculty and students.
  • It's super easy to use. Blackboard was originally developed for K-12 users and requires very little student training. It's mostly point and click for students. Faculty do need some in-depth training, but it's the simplest LMS I've used.
  • It's the biggest educational LMS, so they have a ton of experience in dealing with clients and IT departments. Our recent migrations and upgrades looked seamless from my POV - i.e. as someone not involved in the process.
  • They provide a lots of training resources for students and faculty on their YouTube site.
  • The biggest thing that annoys me about Blackboard is the HTML editor. It picks up the propriety code from Microsoft documents and adds it into the background of the text when you copy and paste from a MS product. This code slows down loading times for students which is especially important during timed testing and faculty don't even know they're doing it. I've seen test questions with at least 5 pages of code attached to it and another 3 pages attached to EACH question. Multiply that by 50 or 100 questions and it can really slow a student down. Blackboard really needs a "Copy from Word" button to strip this code.
  • I would love to use the module tool, however, it adds a Table of Contents that steals a ton of real estate from the screen. It would be great if that could be minimized.
  • The gradebook is terrible to use, but I haven't seen something better anywhere.
  • It's super expensive
  • We recently worked with Blackboard to upgrade our system which is seriously reduced our unscheduled downtime.
  • It allows us to create a model for online learning that is clear, consistent and compliant so that we can accomplish our mission of offering students quality education.
While not involved in the selection process, I have used other learning management systems at other institutions. Blackboard is robust and very easy for both students and faculty to use. Whenever I have been involved in choosing a LMS, Blackboard usually comes in first or second. I'm generally happy with it.
Our faculty recently reviewed a competing product and decided to stay with Blackboard, not only because they were used to it, but also because they were excited about some of the new features they would have access to. I doubt that this feeling will subside as we move forward with implementing the upgrades.
Blackboard is probably best for institutions that are either really big or really small. Better options exist, but you really need to employ programmers to make them good, so it's usually not an option for smaller schools.

Usability

It is very usable for both faculty and students. The interface is pretty intuitive and most students can use it without a lot of additional training. Faculty do need some training to effectively use the interface, but they usually get it pretty quickly. We have had to create some additional programming to give faculty a way to delve deeper into the content.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
None
  • adding content
  • creating courses
  • grading
  • wiping MS propriety code from text copied and pasted into the HTML creator
  • moving text from an HTML creator (Dreamweaver) into the course
Yes - It works for the most part. I have a problem with having to pay for it.