Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blackboard 9, you so fine

Okay, so after messing with Blackboard 9 for my course, I think I would really enjoy actually creating a course in it.

Instead of splitting your Build, Teach, and Student View between three pages, it's all in one. Build and Teach tools are on side bars, and you switch between building and student view by clicking on the "edit mode" to toggle the editing on or off.

What I like besides the streamlining is the fact that you can totally manipulate the course menu (a sidebar with links to content and tools, which is available for you and the students). My favorite thing is the Content Areas - you can have a Content Area for each section of your course (each book, or each chapter of your textbook, or each concept) or you can have a Content Area for each type of content instead (Course Information, Web Links, Lesson Plans, Discussion Boards, etc.).

Another neat thing is the improvement to Group formation. You can still manually add people to groups, but there is also the option to create self-enrollment groups. Signups for topics could be really easy that way - you could do it all online, and let them sign-up. You have the option to allow them to see who is already in the group (or not), and to limit the sign-up numbers.

The Grade Center is also interesting, as it has a few ways to look at assessments. One is the Full Grade Center, with everything worth a grade, whether or not you've graded it. Needs grading is for ungraded submissions, and can be sorted to narrow the list. Or you can look at just Assignments or just Tests.

I will say that it has a "healthy-sized" learning curve. Some of the things I learned, I learned because I messed around with it for a long time. Some of the things I learned, I learned by watching video tutorials (which I couldn't pause). I'm sure I didn't figure out everything - after all, sometimes it's best when you have a real course to create, and you have students, or even a demo student, to try out the student side of things. I was able to figure out some things on Blackboard Vista by using the demo student (like, "how do I grade their discussion submission?").

I also realize that, like other learning systems, Blackboard Learn won't always work perfectly. But I am really excited about it anyway.


  1. Good overview of features in Bb9 - if you are interested, check out the signup sheets option for creating groups in eLearning Commons. You might like it!

  2. i totally agree that having the build/teach/student views all together is one of the best features! i waste so much time waiting for my slow netbook to load eLC everytime i switch views and THEN have to click back from the home page to where i want to be!