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Blackboard: a Popular Tool on Campus Or an Unnecessary Nuisance

Using blackboard on campus

By Andrea Deignan

In the new technological age, the ways in which students, and teachers interact is changing. The ipad has also changed how students are using technology on campus. One of the included apps is a Blackboard app. The site is now becoming more popular since the ipad was made available to all students.

Blackboard originally launched in 2004 and is used in over 3,000 colleges and universities all over the world. The site provides teachers with the ability to create a page for a course and upload course content onto that page. Students can then view a syllabus, print notes, or watch videos related to course material.

The site also allows for teachers to communicate with students in various ways. They can post messages to a class, or start a discussion board. Students can respond back to an individual classmate, or the class as a whole.

“I think Blackboard is really useful,” says Junior accounting major Annalisa Crecco “I can get all my class notes and PowerPoints in one place. I can also see if my teachers post any messages to the class, or make any changes.”

Many teachers on campus find Blackboard a useful classroom tool. English professor and WAC coordinator Wendy Ryden uses Blackboard often in her classes.

“Blackboard is a convenient way to make links and files available to students without the hassle of photocopying, but what I really like about the software is that it provides me with ready made tools to teach writing that is collaborative and dialogic,” says Ryden.

Ryden uses the site to start discussion in her classes. “Students interact with each other through the discussion board feature, sharing and responding to one another¹s writing,” says Ryden. “Their communication gains an authenticity often lacking in school writing assignments.”

English professor John Scheckter has chosen to create a site of his own instead of using Blackboard. Using Google sites he has created a website where he uploads content for his classes to use and download. “There are only a few things I want a website to do: posting syllabi and prompts, embedding pictures, and linking film or sound clips,” Scheckter said. Blackboard offers management functions that I haven’t needed yet.”

Using the site is the choice of the individual instructor. Blackboard can be a useful tool for students to access information and communicate with teachers and students. The site can also be useful in prompting discussions in the classroom.

Blackboard allows students to stay connected while they are in school, and at home. “At its best, we see this wonderful web of interaction–from teacher to students, students to teacher, student to student.  So we all become co-constructors of knowledge,” says Ryden.


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