Blackboard - Value proposition declines as Canvas LMS becomes more mature.
September 15, 2015

Blackboard - Value proposition declines as Canvas LMS becomes more mature.

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

9.1 April 2014

Modules Used

  • Blackboard Learn
  • Blackboard Collaborate

Overall Satisfaction with Blackboard

Blackboard is used as a course management system on campus at our institution. It's utilized for courses, training, and special projects. It allows instructors to teach online as well as provide online materials, assignments, and exams for on-campus or hybrid courses. It is being used as a training method for some training programs and initiatives on campus to provide course materials and asynchronous training as well as a supplement to face-to-face training. For special initiatives and projects, this is being used to collaborate and communicate with team members.
  • Blackboard provides a service where you can lock down content to a particular audience, which is very useful for coursework.
  • Blackboard has a large number of features, which allows instructors to implement their course in whatever way they see fit. Many less mature products on the market today do not have quite as many features.
  • Blackboard is a mature product, with years of experience in the LMS market. When implementing a product with less maturity, it's more difficult to gauge whether or not there will be significant changes in the future for products and/or company structure.
  • Blackboard's interface is old and clunky. They are developing a new "Ultra" experience, but it's only available to a very limited number of customers. This old design makes it less than pleasant for sophisticated web users, and students are becoming more sophisticated in their usage of online technology.
  • Blackboard does have a feature rich environment, however these features are often overly complicated and buggy. Blackboard needs to work on making their system more easy to use and get out of the way to allow instructors to teach.
  • Administrator visibility and statistics are available... for an extra fee. Many institutions cannot afford to increase their licensing costs, so Blackboard needs to find out a way to make some useful information available in their core product for no additional fees.
  • Increased integration with "the cloud" such as OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and the like would make it much easier for students to submit assignments, and for instructors to add content to their courses.
  • Students make decisions on what school they will attend based on many things, one of those is the quality of web services that the institution provides. Overall, our students are satisfied with what services Blackboard provides.
  • We don't really have any data that shows that Blackboard helps with student retention. I feel that when Blackboard is running well, it's a value-neutral proposition, but if students are frustrated with the interface or with a specific software bug, their opinion of the institution goes down.
  • Blackboard licensing fees go up every contract year, and while that is to be expected, I actually feel that Blackboard's inability to be agile in the education industry is a detriment to their value as a vendor. They really need to step it up if they want to retain customers.
Canvas is Blackboard's biggest competitor... I've been in the room when the CEO of Blackboard stated this fact. Their agility and ability to integrate well with other products makes their product very attractive. Canvas was not available at the time we selected Blackboard, and I feel that Blackboard has relied on the fact that the cost to switch to a new system is so high that customers will remain loyal. Overall, the value proposition that Canvas provides is hard to ignore especially as university budgets are shrinking. Desire2Learn aka Brightspace and the open-source market (Moodle, Sakai) really don't hold a candle to Canvas or Blackboard. They are just as (if not more) "clunky" and user-unfriendly as Blackboard is.
Blackboard is well suited to customers who wish to remain conservative in their software offerings at their institution. Blackboard's been around for a long time, and will likely continue to be around a long time. It offers basic LMS functionality, and it's relatively simple to keep the same content from semester to semester. It will definitely do all of the things you'd expect an LMS to do.

If you're offering large seat classes where you're using the gradebook, giving exams, and the like... Blackboard historically has struggled with that. Also, if you don't have someone on campus to write integrations for you (plug-ins, data process), you may have to spend extra dollars to contract a third party to create integrations. If you want to easily integrate content from cloud resources, Blackboard's getting there but is behind other LMS offerings. If you want a state-of-the-art interface that will attract potential students, Blackboard has been slow to keep their interfaces to that standard.

Using Blackboard

35000 - Students are a large portion of the user base. They are consumers of content, takers of tests, discussion board posters. Instructors provide content to students, and use the gradebooks to provide feedback on student work. Staff and other Employees take training courses, and provide instructional design help for instructors.