Don’t you hate Blackboard for managing courses?

Last September in the same email we got told both that our university had just signed a three-year contract with Blackboard and we got asked what we thought of Blackboard. Doesn’t that seem backward to you? Clearly they don’t really care about our opinion since they signed the contract first.

Frankly, I hate Blackboard. It is clunky, old fashioned, difficult  to manage, and screws up a lot of things really easily. Lots of other universities are switching to a platform called Canvas, which looks a lot more intuitive and easy to use. Why even our own medical campus is trying it out. University of Texas announced the transition to Canvas a couple of years ago. I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know, but I do know Blackboard is a pain.

So why has Wash U stuck with Blackboard, even signing a three year contract as Blackboard falls off the cliff of market share at the best universities? Is there someone at Wash U that wants to force us to stick with it? Some group that has invested in it in some way? I don’t know, but this is really frustrating. Why just look at all these instructions for students to use specific things on Blackboard! Isn’t there something easier?

I would venture to say that any time you get asked your opinion about something they have already signed a three year contract on, you can guess they don’t actually care about your opinion if it is negative. Maybe they are post hoc searching for support. What other old-fashioned ways of doing things are we being forced to stick to without even realizing it?

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About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
This entry was posted in Politics, Teaching and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Don’t you hate Blackboard for managing courses?

  1. We were Sakai, now Canvas…and while they have some great features (posting and calculating grades) I just like the simplicity of WordPress for courses and wrote about it here: http://brunalab.org/blog/2014/01/03/updating-to-mmultisite/

  2. utah_guy says:

    Not sure how to resolve your problem, but I agree that Canvas is much better than Blackboard.

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