Monday, September 15, 2008

More of Blackboard as bad, bad, bad

Continuing my previous post:
1. It is very difficult to link to anything within Blackboard.
2. If you don't think like the Blackboard design team--most of whom I'm guessing have little actual educational experience--than nothing will be intuitive about the system. Look, I've used a lot of Blackboard. Try and do something simple. For example, enter a grade for a student in the gradebook; it is a lot more difficult a process than you would think. I've had to write it up with about ten lines of directions for some of my adjunct instructors. Try and make a suggestion about what would work better, forget it. Changing the corners and colors of the buttons does work well.
3. Why doesn't Blackboard recognize that I am an instructor when I log in so that I have the tools that I need as an instructor available to me from my carefully chosen menu buttons?
4. I also think that BB is close to being illegal by seeming to protect instructional materials from perusal and use by the citizens of the state that have paid for those materials.
5. BB destroys the entire premise of the web which is the free access and sharing of materials across all disciplines and boundaries. If I create something for one of my history courses, other students in other courses can have access to those materials and use them if they wish. They can learn! The web is great at fostering collaboration; but not BB because you can't get to or share anything in there unless you have the magic password.


CTE said...

Just a few more elements of BB's badness came to mind:
1. The integration between Peoplesoft, our student data system, and BB is tenuous at best. For example, while BB can get a student enrolled from our data system, BB cannot update that enrollment data. So if a student drops the course, the student is not automatically dropped from BB.
2. There are limits on the files sizes and total file availability with BB.
3. BB only works with pre-approved tools and plug-ins.

CTE said...

Got another one--they just keep streaming out of me!
I must have thirty or so BB courses listed when I log into Blackboard, but do you think that I can list those courses in an order that would be useful to me and save me time, such as my current courses at the top and the oldest courses from the summer of 2007--Yes, those are still there from a year ago--Nope, BB always defaults to oldest courses first so that I have to scroll all the way down the list. You've no idea how many times I've ended up in the wrong courses. More later, but boy is this bad.

CTE said...

Oops, almost forgot about the update process. For some reason,, BB can't just issue patches or small updates that don't disrupt everything. As bad as Microsoft can be, you don't have to install an entire new operating system every time that something is changed. Not so with BB. Every few months, there is a new version, day BB 8.01 that has to be installed and then you have to do all sorts of conversions to make sure that what you were using, you still can be using. If that makes sense.