Making the most of a Blackboard Learning Management System
Mark Nowowiejski | TrustRadius Reviewer
January 28, 2019

Making the most of a Blackboard Learning Management System

Score 5 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Modules Used

  • Blackboard Learn
  • Blackboard Mobile
  • Blackboard Collaborate
  • Blackboard Ultra

Overall Satisfaction with Blackboard Learn

Blackboard is one of the leading Learning Management Systems (LMS) is the education industry. The platform is fairly flexible and integrates well with most Student Information Systems (SIS) allowing a school or higher education university to automate the creation of a 'website' for each section it may be running from semester to semester as well as supporting the manual creation of 1-off 'Organization' sites as needed.

Using the Blackboard LMS allows faculty who may be technical novices to easily share files, store and grade assignments and scan written submissions for originality. While the initial course shell or template is fairly basic, a user with basic HTML/CSS knowledge can unlock a lot of the system's potential. There are also ways to add javascript enhanced elements and SCORM modules from programs such as Articulate or Captivate, but that is most likely more suited for advanced technical users such as Instructional Technologist or Designers.
  • The assignment tool is very helpful, it allows for individual and group assignment submission and can scan all work for originality via the integration of SafeAssign. This feature also acts as a repository for resolving student grade challenges and in collecting data for accreditation efforts.
  • The open HTML features allow for incorporation of video very easily through embed codes or mashup tools
  • Communication - the announcement, emails, discussion boards, and group tools allow enhance the classroom and allow students to stay engaged without the need to know 50 different email addresses.
  • Blackboard ingrates very well with hundred of 3rd party tools either through a building block installion on LTI link. Very help for incorporating publishing content from a textbook for example.
  • The Mobile features off the site and lagging behind, especially if you try to access the site through phone on safari or chrome vs the BB Mobile app.
  • While Blackboard allows for HTML and CSS it has a bad habit of throwing extra tags and other forms 'of junk' HTML after saving that slow down the system and hurt accessibility for screen readers.
  • The UI of BB Learn overall is dated and in major need of modern re-design
  • BB Learn lack a common search feature, mean students have no choice but the hunt and peck around course looking a specfic peice of content.
  • While this may be a result of my version of the system being self-hosted I have found Blackboard to overall be a slower platform than other LMS systems such as Canvas or Coursera
  • Having an LMS such as Blackboard allows for the school to expand its online offerings in a scalable way and increase the student body beyond the limitations of a physical campus.
  • Blackboard requires a lot of support. Depending on the size of your institution you will need multiple IT professionals to troubleshoot and train your staff on how to properly use it. For an online program, a 24 help desk is a must, Blackboard's support services to students are minimal
  • Using an LMS and getting people off the 'paper and pencil' model has lots of positive effects on the environment and gives your organization access to a detailed level of data you would otherwise never be able to achieve.
Blackboard has been the industry standard for a long time but they have gotten somewhat complacent and allowed tools like Canvas to surpass them. To Blackboard's credit, they have been trying to roll out a new version called 'ULTRA' for several years now but it has been riddled with bugs and lacks many of the features, especially 3rd party tool integrations institutions would require to make the switch.

Overall I have found Coursera to be better for 'open' education or MOOCs and Saba or MyLearning to be better for CORPORATE Training.

If I were talking to somebody who has yet to adopt an LMS I would tell them to skip Blackboard and directly to Canvas.
That said Blackboard is best suited for higher education where some sort of verification or course registration is required.

It doesn't do self-registration and lack a shopping cart/pay feature making it hard for 1 - off learning and career development.

Blackboard is not well suited for Corporate Training.

Blackboard Learn Feature Ratings

Course authoring
8
Course catalog or library
7
Player/Portal
4
Learning content
7
Mobile friendly
4
Progress tracking & certifications
2
Assignments
9
Compliance management
7
Learning administration
7
Learning reporting & analytics
2
Social learning
1