Learning curve for Humber’s Blackboard 9.1

Published On September 16, 2013 | By jaredclinton | News, Sci/Tech
A newer version of the Blackboard app is available for students to download.
A newer version of the Blackboard app is available for students to download.  Photo by Erinn Kenney
by Erinn Kenney

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

As the fall semester picks up, homework assignments, tests and readings will begin to mount for students and teachers.

The majority of this work is managed through Blackboard, a sophisticated Learning Management System (LMS) that acts as an online course presence according to the Humber IT services website.

According to the Blackboard Learn brochure, the latest version, Blackboard Learn 9.1, has many new features like peer support, efficient teaching tasks, and a student centered LMS.

Also available to students this year is an improved version of the Blackboard App for compatible phones.

Ryan Burton, Humber’s director of I.T. Planning & Client Services said the decision to stick with Blackboard was thought out and tested.

“You look at the perspective of what the people need and what is it the product offers,” Burton said.

“Like any other product, there’s a comprehensive analysis of what’s available now, what’s important to Humber, where the gaps are and what your willing to tolerate.”

However, not everyone is convinced that newer is better.  Several students and faculty have had to deal with crashes, frequent refreshing, missing assignments and a whole new learning curve this year.

Osei Boaten, a second-year Radio and Broadcast student, has faced many of these problems this year in a program that relies heavily on the use of Blackboard.

“This year we’re going on air to take shifts and the only way to do our scheduling, what songs we’re listening to and what were ad-libbing over is basically through blackboard,” said Boaten.

“So it’s incredibly inconvenient when blackboard crashes or refuses to load.”

Steven Leandro, a second-year Humber student, said the difficulties he’s faced with Blackboard this year come from design elements and finding what he needs.

“Some of my teachers post something under assignments, some might post under learning materials.  It gets complicated to find what you need,” Leandro said.

“It’s obvious that students aren’t the only ones trying to learn the system while facing these problems.”

Burton said that most of the feedback on Blackboard has been well received up until this point but should problems persist, help is available.

“Like all services that are offered here from a technical measure, the appropriate channel to explore is the IT support center,” said Burton

“Were happy to help any student and make their problem go away.”

The Blackboard app has a simple design that's easy to navigate, when working.

The Blackboard App has a simple design that’s easy to navigate, when working.  Photo by Erinn Kenney

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