Blackboard Learn and their Managed Hosting architecture works!
September 15, 2015

Blackboard Learn and their Managed Hosting architecture works!

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

9.1.201410.160373

Modules Used

  • Blackboard Learn
  • Blackboard Mobile
  • Blackboard Analytics

Overall Satisfaction with Blackboard

Blackboard is used across the entire university and is an integral part of every college. Blackboard is used for things as simple as electronic file delivery and emailing students, and as complex as 100% online course delivery.
  • Blackboard is very easy for novice technology users to pick up and begin to build a course. They have really expanded on their online help documentation over the last couple years to facilitate new users to the product.
  • It is very easy to integrate Blackboard with our SIS system for automatic course creation and enrollment adds and drops. We have automated everything and have little to no hands-on for higher administrative tasks.
  • Behind the Blackboard Support is quick to respond when tickets are opened requesting software updates, application bugs, usage questions, etc.
  • One major flaw in Blackboard Learn is their Software Updates module. This module is supposed to allow hosted customers, such as ourselves, to be able to apply updates to the software on our own time. Unfortunately, almost every update has this disclaimer: "Managed Hosting clients should create a case on Behind the Blackboard to schedule the recommended server restarts after Building Blocks are updated. To expedite the scheduling process, please include a desired day and time for the restarts to begin." The Software Updates module is pointless if we can't run those updates ourselves.
  • There are little issues that pop up on occasion, such as template colors on new courses occasionally not being set correctly and odd error messages that could be a bit more detailed, but all in all, the application has been very bug free for us since we moved to Managed Hosting (Blackboard's hosting service) in 2013.
  • Blackboards mobile applications are fairly bare-boned and don't offer anything more than what you can get via a mobile web browser.
  • Simplified delivery of electronic content to students.
  • Allowed for increased technology assignments for student involvement.
  • Very simple for faculty to jump in and provide content to their students and get students involved.
When we were evaluating a move from self-hosted Blackboard (version 8) in 2012, it came down to Blackboard Learn and Desire2Learn. Ultimately, we stuck with Blackboard because of faculty comfort. We had been a Blackboard customer for over a decade and faculty wanted to stick with what they knew. In the long run, Blackboard has made huge improvements over the last 5 years and we are happy with our decision to move to their Managed Hosting infrastructure.
Blackboard has been a very stable and heavily utilized product for us. SIS integration was fairly easy between Blackboard and Banner and allows a seamless automation of course creations and enrollment adds and drops.

One area that a potential customer would want to look into is Blackboard's mobile applications and future development in this area, to see if what they currently offer is satisfactory for the customers needs, since this is one area Blackboard needs to improve upon.

Using Blackboard

Blackboard is used for simple classroom content delivery, all the way to 100% online classes. It is also used for staff communities, news delivery, electronic communications, etc.
3 - My support staff is proficient in the use of technology and has quality communication skills.

Blackboard Implementation

Blackboard's Managed Hosting was top-notch in getting us up and running quickly.
Change management was a minor issue with the implementation
  • Migrating content from our self-hosted Blackboard 8 installation to Blackboard's Managed Hosting.
  • Faculty, staff, and student notifications and marketing of the upcoming migration to Blackboard Learn.

Blackboard Support

The majority of tickets are answered and resolved quickly, but every once in a while a ticket gets "escalated" and then the next tier of support is much slower in following up.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Quick Initial Response
None
Yes - Usually yes...

Using Blackboard

Blackboard is very easy to use. A handful of faculty struggle with the Grade Center, but overall, there is very little support needs for day to day Blackboard usage.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
None
  • Posting electronic content.
  • Involving students with groups, discussion boards, assignments, etc.
  • Contacting students via announcements and email.
  • Some faculty struggle with the Grade Center area of Blackboard.
Yes - Their mobile applications are limited. I personally find using my devices mobile web browser to be the easier way to go.