Blackboard: What is it?

The logo for the LMS known as Blackboard. Students were told that this would be the first school year that we would use the program. Blackboard is available on the web and for Apple and Android devices, and has an overall rating of four stars.

www.Blackboard.com

The logo for the LMS known as Blackboard. Students were told that this would be the first school year that we would use the program. Blackboard is available on the web and for Apple and Android devices, and has an overall rating of four stars.

Nick Sanchez-Zarkos, Writer

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“More information to come.” This was what Olentangy Liberty High School (OLHS) students were told about this year’s new communication and education program, Blackboard. But what is Blackboard? Why are we using it? And what’s so great about it?

Students and staff started this school year with two days of two hour homebase periods. During these first few days students were promised an improved and modified year. Along with this information, the school also announced that this year OLHS will introduce a new form of communication and learning through a site called Blackboard. 

Blackboard, also known as Blackboard Learn, is a web-based learning management system (LMS) similar to Schoology. Based in Washington D.C, Blackboard is used by more than 50% of K-12 schools in the United States and is currently facilitating online learning and course management in over 75% of US colleges and universities. 

Blackboard’s site offers numerous resources and capabilities for both students and teachers. Through its Ultra Course View, teachers are easily able to transfer assignments, grades, and members into multiple courses or semesters. Blackboard also offers a sophisticated calendar that allows both students and teachers to stay organized and know what’s ahead for the year. Unlike most LMS programs, Blackboard allows teachers to annotate student submissions through instant feedback and grade updates. Teachers are given the ability to create Objective Quizzes, Group Discussions, and Assessments for their students, and a large scale video conferencing feature that makes education accessible through lectures at any time or place. 

Students who are familiar with Blackboard’s programs and capabilities might ask themselves why our high school has chosen to use Blackboard now when we are already using sites such as Schoology and Powerschool for courses. One plausible reason is due to Blackboard’s mass notification system called Blackboard Connect. Blackboard Connect is similar to apps such as Remind and Bloomz in that it can communicate with a large number of students through large-scale messaging. After Remind began to charge for its use and limit the number of people able to send and receive messages, schools such as OLHS have been forced to look for different programs that would offer the same capabilities. 

Blackboard is also supported by multiple education publishers such as Cengage Learning, McGraw-Hill, Macmillan, Pearson, and Wiley. Blackboard is compatible on the web, along with apps for both Android and Apple. With over 100 million users around the globe, Blackboard promises to be “Education’s partner in change.” With little information given about when OLHS will begin its partnership with Blackboard, students can look forward to a powerful and effective program that will aid student education. 

www.blackboard.com

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