Blackboard Just So-So
August 18, 2017

Blackboard Just So-So

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 3 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Modules Used

  • Blackboard Learn
  • Blackboard Mobile
  • Community Engagement
  • Content Collection

Overall Satisfaction with Blackboard

Blackboard is the learning management system used by the faculty and students of our college. Blackboard provides an online place to manage all aspects of course administration for faculty and a place for students to access course content and grades. Blackboard is used by most faculty for at least posting a syllabus, but use of other features varies per professor.
  • Blackboard has purchased a number of companies to add functionality to their product
  • Their customer support is inconsistent. Sometimes it is fairly good, but right now we are more often frustrated by the lack of concern for what the customer needs. What company tells a user that they are aware that something is broken but that they are choosing to not fix it? Blackboard does.
  • Things that the user needs to do are buried down a few layers and are not intuitive to find. For instance, to make a course available, the user has to go to the course control panel, click "Customization" and then "Properties." Then it is necessary to scroll down to find the "Make course available?" question and click the "Yes" radio button. This could be so much simpler! Just add a toggle button at the top of the instructor interface that says "Make Available?" with the ability to toggle between yes and no. They already do something similar with the edit course function.
  • The Grade Center is clunky and not intuitive. Faculty complain most about this feature.
  • Blackboard has had a neutral impact on our business objectives in that some faculty use it more than others. We don't hear much about Blackboard unless a feature is broken.
  • I do think that Blackboard is very frustrating for many faculty to use.
Sakai does not measure up well against Blackboard because it takes lots of manpower to maintain. It was also buggy.
From the reviews and my ability to play around in a demo account, Canvas is greatly superior to Blackboard. It is among the LMS products we would consider should we move away from Blackboard.
Blackboard was created with the college classroom in mind, and its features apply most to this environment. It has the tools to work well in the online classroom scenario. It may not be a good fit for the corporate training world.

Using Blackboard

200 - Faculty and faculty support
3 - Those with technical skills and problem-solving skills who have the ability to work with people.
  • Distance Learning
  • Traditional classroom courses where Blackboard is used to supplement the teaching learning environment
I don't think that Blackboard gives users a great experience, though it is adequate. Users do not find it intuitive, at least from the feedback I receive. The customer support is not always good.

Evaluating Blackboard and Competitors

  • Existing Relationship with the Vendor
We had been using Blackboard and our faculty were not vocal about making a change. At the time we were making the decision the main thought was there was no need to replace Blackboard because it was adequate.
I think we would accept user feedback about their experiences with Blackboard, but the decision on product would be made by the technical group. Getting too many cooks in the kitchen complicates matters.

If it were up to me only, I would have asked a couple of competing vendors in to see a demonstration of their products.

Blackboard Support

Support is adequate; however, on more than one occasion over the years we have gotten the response that something is "a known issue but we aren't planning to fix it." Recently a colleague raved about the support from another of our vendors and lamented that Blackboard's support couldn't be that good. Sometimes it takes a push to get Bb support to care for an issue, though this isn't a common occurrence.
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Support understands my problem
Quick Initial Response
Difficult to get immediate help
No - It costs more money.
Yes - I have reported several bugs to Blackboard. Sometimes the resolution was satisfactory and sometimes not. I don't feel that Bb makes fixes in a timely way.

Using Blackboard

Blackboard's usability is adequate at best. The interface needs massive redesign to make functions easier to find and more intuitive to use. When I train new users, I skip teaching about certain features because I know that these features are cumbersome and confusing to use. Recently when I was researching how to accomplish a task, I couldn't even find information from the online help section on this task.
Do not like to use
Unnecessarily complex
Difficult to use
Slow to learn
Lots to learn
  • None of the functionality stands out as being easy or elegant when using Blackboard.
  • Making a course available
  • Using the Grade Center
  • Most functionality is less intuitive than it should be.