Blackboard Learn implementation hinders learning?
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 22:08
The issue: PUC’s new technology implementations have not been well-communicated
Our stance: Students need training, too
We’re all a week in now. Students should be starting to get back into the swing of things around PUC. And perhaps they are.
However, this semester brought a few new and not quite well-communicated items to the table.
The transition from Blackboard Vista to Blackboard Learn is in progress. See “Blackboard makes the mobile move” by Richard Chambers on page 1. Most students probably didn’t think much of this before classes started, and overall it is a positive move for the campus. The new Learn platform is much more modern looking and so far seems to have generally user-friendly functions, without mentioning the mobile application which has been a much-needed addition.
The problem with the whole thing is that communication has been lacking in the department of training for students on Learn. Perhaps the thought was that students may be more technologically savvy than instructors, who did receive training. Either way, some students could not even find their classes on Blackboard because of the mixture of classes using Vista or Learn. The Learn login link is buried within PUC’s website, as well. By the way, to find it, go to mycourses.purduecal.edu.
Then there’s the issue of students not being able to find their specific materials on Learn. It is possible to spend 15 minutes searching for one link in a class and still never find it. Students need some kind of help with this transition. There may be different options or preferences that students can customize in Learn, but students do not know about the options because they have just been thrown into the platform.
The mobile app seems easy enough to use, but it is only functional on a wireless connection. If you try to use the app without wireless on your cell phone, a window pops up that says “Sorry, your institution’s configuration does not allow receiving data via cellular connection. Please connect to a Wi-Fi network and try again.” What’s the point of a mobile app without all the mobile functionality?
Many classes rely heavily on Blackboard for either supplemental or required materials, and distance learning courses are held almost exclusively through Blackboard. Students need to know what is going on and how to use the new platform, or it will hinder their learning experiences and grades in classes
Students are not completely innocent on this issue; there has been some information given out by professors of specific classes that are using Learn. Also, it is possible to find Learn’s tutorial videos at webs.purduecal.edu/oit/learn/support-tools. Most students were not informed of these tools, though.
Hopefully, there will be some kind of communication about this issue soon. It just seems a little late in the game.