Blackboard doesn't play well with Vista

PC Mag is reporting on problems that Blackboard (BB) is having with Vista. Blackboard is a simple "Learning Management System" that supposedly offers lots of communication possibilities between teacher and student, but actually only offers enough basic functionality to put a check mark in each field while having extreme usability problems and not leveraging things that are already in use by people.

For example, people tend to have their own email accounts, but Blackboard insists on you writing emails from inside the Learning Managment System (LMS), thus not letting people access their address books or having these sent messages merged with their other sent messages.

Furthermore, the system is quite geared to the American syllabus-based method of college teaching, being a rather bad fit for many German schools. I've been saying this for years, but who listens to me?

Me? I use Moodle. It is open source (meaning you don't have to pay BB a steep yearly fee), it fits nicely into the teaching workflow (BB and others make you adapt your workflow to something comfortable for the programmers), understands what communication and collaboration is about, and leverages things you already have such as E-Mail Clients while offering a lot of flexibility for individual configuration. I like it more and more each semester, even if there are odd quirks, it is not a major hassle like BB. Oh, and it es so easy to use, even teachers without PhDs in computing can use it :)


Anonymous said...

Why create a title about Blackboard and Vista if you just want to Rant about how much you like Moodle?

It is not only Blackboard that is experiencing problems with VISTA, Novell hasn't come out with a client and McAffee and Acrobat both have problems with Vista.

For Blackboard the core of the problem appears to be centered in the problematic 'visual editor' which can be disabled by either the administrator or by the individual user.
“Disable the Visual Text Box Editor in your Blackboard account. To do this, click on Personal Information on the left side of the My Blackboard tab, then choose "Set Visual Text Box Editor Options", and change the option to "Unavailable". This will allow you to type messages in the Discussion Board, but you not have all of the formatting features available to other users.” http://vs1webit.regent.edu/helpdesk/knowledgebase/index.php?action=artikel&id=64

Scott Leturno
Moraine Valley Community College

WiseWoman said...

Oh, I always rant about Blackboard. You are welcome to use it, but it cements you into a very old LMS with quite limited communication and collaboration facilities.

I also rant about M$ products. In an informal, unscientific poll of my students who had moved to Vista (n=5), there were quite strong feelings: 1 was enthusiastic and 4 were debating removing it from their computer.

The fault is probably distributed about 50-50. Blackboard messes around with OS calls that got themselves dropped or radically changed in Vista.

I'm just happy not having to have to deal with BB anymore. The last few times I was forced to do so, I just put in a link on the front page to my Moodle Collaboration room, and took it from there.