In “Top Ten Mistakes for Academic Web Design, ” Paula Petrik claims that course ware authoring sites, such as Blackboard, are indeed one of these mistakes. She says that these sites can be hard to use and can “seduce faculty into bad Web and pedagogical design.” Petrik’s examples include the unnecessary discussion boards, fragmented course aspects, and inability to see the overall course. She further questions the advantages and disadvantages that we (teachers? students?) get from using “‘courses in a box.'” (http://chnm.gmu.edu/essays-on-history-new-media/essays/?essayid=3)
I have heard more than one college professor complain about the usability of Blackboard. They either use other online programs, such as e-grader, to post grades, or they create and design their own class websites. Some professors even rely on just email to communicate syllabi, study guides, and course announcements. Some teaching assistants and professors setup class pages on social media sites, like Facebook.
I, as a student, like Blackboard. It is a valuable resource that I can use to access all of the classes at once, download pertinent information, and communicate with my fellow classmates and professor. I have used the discussion boards on Blackboard to post assignments and comment on other students’ assignments in more than one class. I have not found it difficult to use.
However, I have not used Blackboard as a professor. I cannot comment on its usability from that perspective.
Do you (as a student or teacher) like or dislike Blackboard? Is it and other courseware sites poorly designed? How would you improve Blackboard?