Creating the Next Generation of Teaching and Learning by Leveraging Blackboard
September 23, 2015

Creating the Next Generation of Teaching and Learning by Leveraging Blackboard

Eric Kunnen | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version


Modules Used

  • Blackboard Learn
  • Blackboard Collaborate

Overall Satisfaction with Blackboard

Blackboard is the enterprise course management solution at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). All faculty, staff, and students have accounts on the system and every course each semester has a Blackboard course site available for faculty to use in their teaching. In addition, organization sites are used by a wide array of departments and student groups.

In addition to traditional face to face courses, the Blackboard learning environment is used by GVSU's online and hybrid classes as the virtual classroom, enabling faculty to deliver engaging content and media while providing active learning-based assignments and assessments which include student feedback. Blackboard powers a collaborative and high-touch campus community with communication tools that span the range of asynchronous (announcements, email, discussion boards, etc.) to synchronous tools that include Blackboard Enterprise Instant Messaging and real-time live capabilities with Blackboard Collaborate.

By leveraging the system to provide role-based information through personalized information with the Blackboard Community system portal, the university can fine tune messaging and help to communicate through the clutter. In addition, the Enterprise Survey tool within the Blackboard system helps to deliver surveys and serves as an effective way to learn the pulse of the faculty, staff, and students.

Blackboard powers the networked learning environment at GVSU.
  • Blackboard is an effortless, easy-to-use, and scalable environment that includes a suite of tools and capabilities that enhance face to face teaching while powering high quality online and hybrid teaching and learning.
  • Blackboard empowers universities, colleges, and K12 schools with the ability to extend the boundaries of the classroom through content delivery, assessment, and a suite of communication tools.
  • Blackboard provides an environment of customization, personalization, and integration through the Building Blocks program. This provides an effective way to extend the capabilities of the system through the addition of third party, open source, and home grown applications.
  • Blackboard is focused on accessibility and the support of a variety of standards that include LTI and ADA.
  • As Blackboard has grown in adoption, popularity, and use over the years, one challenge has been supporting a multitude of users and campus constituencies that are running a wide variety of hardware and software versions. The Blackboard listserv community has come along side of users to assist users by the sharing of clients, along with a newly renewed focus on end user support.
  • With the wealth of tools and capabilities, as well as Blackboard acquisitions over the years, the integration of these tools has sometimes lagged and taken longer due to competing priorities with support, new product development, and maintenance. With new leadership at Blackboard in the past few years, the integration of a variety of solutions and tools is now a clear priority.
  • With a single sign-on, faculty have easy access to sharing course information, communicating with all students, and assessing students through a variety of easy-to-use tools and capabilities. Students are also able to see all of their courses that use Blackboard at-a-glance and access course content 24x7 as well as to check their performance and grades at any point throughout the semester. This has had a positive impact on the effectiveness and access beyond the classroom walls of the university.
  • Because the system is seamless and all the tools are integrated into a common platform, students and faculty are able to move from one tool or feature to another with a few clicks. This creates a system that is effective and efficient in the delivery of teaching and in the students' learning.
  • As the university works to provide flexible learning opportunities that meet the needs of students, Blackboard enables a single scalable environment to deliver high quality education - from the classroom to online.
There are a variety of course management systems on the market today with varying levels of capabilities and features. As a leader, Blackboard provides an innovative set of scalable products and robust tools that help meet the institutional needs and strategies of colleges, universities, and K-12 schools. Strategically, when evaluating solutions for course management, it is valuable to not only look at the cost or features, rather, it's important to look at the entire portfolio of the environment that is selected. This includes not only the product but the leading work of that vendor and the community that is active and surrounds the use of the application across the nation and world. Blackboard has demonstrated success and value across the aforementioned areas and is a valuable solution for education in the creation of the next generation of teaching and learning.
The key questions to ask during the selection process would be how well the product facilitates the following:
1) Ease of Use
2) Scalability
3) Accessibility
4) Support
5) Integration Capabilities
6) Community Activity
7) Quality and Depth of Features