Blackboard Learning System

Blackboard Learning System

Keywords: Online Classroom, virtual learning, higher education learning


Blackboard learning system is a web-based server software [1] that aids the users in course management and helps in the provision of a virtual learning environment.  Its operation as a web-based server, allows for efficient integration with authentication protocols and student information systems. The technology is owned by Blackboard Inc and was developed in 1997[2]. Michael Chasen and Mathew Pittinsky were the founders of this technology while they were working as consultants tasked with the responsibility of providing technical standards for online learning applications [2].

The blackboard learning system has several advantages and disadvantages based on its usage. Benefits associated with this tool include quick feedback, increased availability, tracking, improved communication and skill building [3]. Increased availability is enhanced by the fact it can be accessed through the internet anywhere and at any given time. With regards to feedback, the faculty is able to provide students with any form of feedback. Improved communication on its part comes in the form of discussions, announcements, email and virtual classroom. Skill building is enhanced as users develop time management and organization skills. Despite the advantages, the Blackboard has several limitations too. They include; certain options are restricted to specific operating systems, the software is somehow difficult to learn, bandwidth inefficiencies when there is a need to download materials now and then and the cost of operating the software[3].

The blackboard learning system tends to target higher education institutions [4]. At this level, students have a certain level of maturity and can control various aspects of their lives. They do not need direct contact with the supervisors for them to remain within the confines of the rules and regulations. The tool is different from the in-person interaction due to the flexibility that it brings along [5]. Students can access the Blackboard from any location, and anytime they wish [5]. This means me there is no specific schedule for being online so long as they meet the prescribed deadlines. The aspect makes it easier for the students to indulge in other activities such gaining full-time employment as they study [5].

There are similar tools out there, which act as competitors. They include Moodle and Edvelop [6]. An advantage that the Blackboard learning system has over these competitors is that it operates as a close-source tool [6]. It restricts the users’ freedom of doing anything that comes to mind hence ensuring uniformity. On the other hand, the software has a disadvantage when compared to the competitors. The cost of running the software is more expensive compared to what would be incurred if Edvelop and Moodle were in use [6].

Blackboard learning system requires some technical expertise with regards to installation and maintenance. The skills required include Microsoft SQL Server 2000 experience, running SQL scripts and accessing the database, offline and online database backup, reconfiguration of database parameters, troubleshooting network bottlenecks, experience with threading and experience with IIS among others [7].


Works Cited

Bhagyavati, Stan Kurkovsky, and Christopher C. Whitehead. “Using Asynchronous Discussions to Enhance Student Participation in CS Courses.” SIGCSE Bull. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin 37.1 (2005): 111. Print.

Bradford, Peter, Margaret Porciello, Nancy Balkon, and Debra Backus. “The Blackboard Learning System.” The Journal of Educational Technology Systems 35 (2007): 301-14. Print.

Henscheid, Jean M. “From the Editor: Changing the Learning Environment.” About Campus 14.6 (2010). Print.

Patterson, Donna. “Encouraging and Assisting Faculty Incorporation of Innovative Classroom Technologies.” Proceedings of the 32nd Annual ACM SIGUCCS Conference on User Services – SIGUCCS ’04 (2004): 79-81. Print.

Santhiveeran, Janaki. “Blackboard Learning System on College Campuses.” Encyclopedia of Information Communication Technologies and Adult Education Integration (2010): 896-910. Print.


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