Prepare Yourself for College: The Basics of Blackboard
Technology has completely changed the way college students and their instructors communicate between classes. Not only is almost every college student now required to own a working laptop computer to keep up with assignments and course work, but also some courses are designed with a complete virtual classroom to supplement in-person class hours. Probably the most popular platform for keeping students and teachers in constant contact is Blackboard.
Since 1997, Blackboard has been the leading education software and learning management system. Although Blackboard Inc. owns several different products and services, the one that colleges and universities use the most is the learning system, which allows colleges to manage and deliver courses to students. This learning system does just about everything that needs to be done in a college community environment, but it accomplishes those things online.
Benefits for Students
By using such a learning system, colleges can offer students a portal to receive course content, exchange email, make tuition payments, receive important campus-wide announcements and see their grades. Every student who accesses the portal is assigned a student username and a password at the time of enrollment. This username and password allows students to stay connected to campus updates online.
Benefits for Teachers
Likewise, the Blackboard learning system has made teaching a lot more convenient. Instructors can keep track of the students enrolled in their classes and get an updated student roster when someone adds or drops their classes. They can also notify students of meeting location or time changes, especially if they do not have a permanently assigned classroom on campus. One of the best benefits of this portal system for instructors is they have a quick and succinct way to amend homework assignments or deliver reading assignments before the next scheduled class meeting. Some teachers like to give helpful websites or links to articles that help students understand course material more clearly.
Teachers especially like the turnitin.com function that comes with Blackboard. They ask students to submit original papers to this part of the Blackboard site in order to make sure none of their students’ work has been plagiarized. Plagiarism is one of the fiercest battles that teachers must fight during the run of a course. Some students choose the unethical shortcuts and prompt them to either copy papers that have been turned in during by previous students or they submit work that has been copied verbatim without giving proper credit to the original author. The turnitin.com feature frees instructors’ time for more meaningful teaching activities.
Benefits for Colleges
Nothing is more discouraging for students or teachers than an extremely disorganized communication system. Colleges that opt not to use a software like Blackboard run the risk of alienating entire campus bodies simply because the chain of communication is confusing and disjointed. Blackboard boosts a college’s reputation by making information easily accessible and organized.
Blackboard offers more platforms and services to make it easy for colleges to keep meaningful contact with its students, too. Blackboard Collaborate offers video and audio conferencing. Blackboard Connect allows colleges to send important alerts to students, staff and faculty. This becomes especially important when there is inclement weather school closing or other emergency information to deliver. Blackboard Transact allows students to use computerized ID cards to track their meals in the dining hall or purchase school supplies on campus via a student account. This service even works for vending machines on campus and laundry facilities. Finally, Blackboard Mobile allows students to perform all of these functions and more through their mobile phones.
Even those who shy away from technology cannot deny the endless benefits of Blackboard for the modern college experience. These software programs seem to have reduced the need for endless hours of waiting for information to be transferred from one person to another and the tons of paper that accompanies old-fashioned snail-mail and paper filing. The time that used to be spent wading through mounds of paper and lengthy processes can now be spent focused on learning.
Ryan Ayers is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to education. In this article, he explains the benefits of the Blackboard system in education and aims to encourage further study with a MIS degrees.