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Survey results suggest changes to Blackboard

Bryan Talbot / The Arbiter

In an effort to enhance learning management systems at Boise State such as Blackboard Learn, faculty and staff from a variety of campus organizations met a year ago to help bring a more consistent user experience to students using the Boise State website. Blackboard was the main focus of the survey.

This survey was conducted  to assess the attitudes and preferences of students, instructors, course designers and staff participants towards learning management systems. Most responses to the survey came in April 2014, survey results were published in June.

Blackboard is a resource  used mostly by students to check grades, participate in discussions and as a source of information on their

“Yes, we were really looking for more detail on the Blackboard side but we didn’t want to give the impression that we were moving to something else,” said Drew Jossis, technical support specialist for Blackboard. “We didn’t want to create a sense of panic.”

A new Blackboard interface will initiate in spring 2015 and will change according to comments made by respondents.

Of the 492 responses to the survey, 40 percent focused negatively on the user interface; the most common response being that Blackboard is too cluttered or crowded.

Another 30 percent of comments received were about teachers’ use of Blackboard as an instructional tool. Teachers are often inconsistent with updates which hinders students more than it helps them.

Hannah Barnett, a senior at Boise State, has firsthand experience with this inconsistency.

“A lot of professors don’t keep it updated, or change dates or make the effort to use it as a reference,” Barnett said. “That’s when it becomes more of a hindrance.”

This, according to Jossis, is an error which can’t be fixed with new technology. Teachers will need to learn to work with Blackboard. Otherwise, he recommends asking the teacher to update information more quickly.

Twenty percent of the comments focused on bugs users experience while working with Blackboard Learn and other systems.

“I hate to say it, but it’s the nature of the beast,” Jossis said. “It’s software”