Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching


Common Themes in BB Survey Answers

Rough summary of comments provided by respondents

 Threads in 2016 Blackboard Review Survey

Students Faculty Organizations

Want Blackboard to be better connected to Presto



More attractive interface and colors – IIIII IIIII   II – 12

Clunky/Doesn’t look good – IIIII IIIII   IIIII II – 17
Blackboard has many glitches, the interface is clunky, and it’s not a smooth process to use. There’s a call from all users to simplify the UI. Users want the Blackboard process to be smoother, more attractive, have less clutter, options, tabs, and links. There is too much going on at a time with Blackboard which makes it confusing to complete simple tasks. Overall users don’t seem to like how BB looks and want improvements.

teachers using sites similar to eachother, more tools- IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIIII   IIIII II – 27

using grade center or not – IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIIII   IIII – 34

not making assignments available or easy to find – IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIII – 19

Integration between tools and features – IIIII IIII – 9
Another common complaint from student users is that not all professors use Blackboard, and many that do, do not use it well. A major complaint is that professors use grade center poorly. The grade center does not reflect their full grade. Many professors don’t use the tool at all. Students also raise the complaint that many assignments aren’t easy to find and sometimes aren’t made available. Student users call for professors to use similar sites with similar tools, and more functionality built into their blackboard sites.
 slow grade center loading and confusing layout/order- IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIIII   IIIII III – 48

Weighted grades in grade center

wish more profs used it

calculated incorrectly or no percentage

hard to find feedback

Final grades

Grade Center – IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIIII   III – 23

Anonymous grading bad

Would help to drag and drop

Feel pressured to use it

Math/Weighted Grades

The grade center is the third largest source of complaints amongst users. Users note that the grade center loads very slowly and has a very confusing layout. Students call for weighted grades to be shown, as well as a fix for incorrectly calculated grades and percentages. Students also would like final grades to be represented in Blackboard. Another issue raised is that it is too difficult to access feedback on graded assignments. Finally students want the ordering of the grades in the grade center overview to be fixed as well as having more professors utilizing the grade center well. Faculty users are frustrated with the anonymous grading function as well as the algorithms Blackboard uses to calculate grades and weighted grades. Faculty also feel pressured to use the grade center even though it is not an intuitive tool. Faculty users call for a simpler, faster, more intuitive system and drag and drop functionality would help.
Discussion board (and blog) clunky – IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIIII   IIIII II – 47 Discussion board (and blog) bad format and clunky – IIIII IIIII   IIIII III – 18

Wiki tool – I I I 3

Wikis – III – 3
Both professors and students are very frustrated with Discussion boards and blogs. The primary concern is that the design of the discussion boards are too unintuitive, glitchy, and frustrating to use. Many students users brought up that the Discussion Board tool doesn’t foster real discussion because it is too difficult to reply to posts and access the full functionality of the tool as well as professors using the tool to simply submit short written assignments. Another point brought up by students is that having a public discussion board for reading responses allows some students to skip the readings and simply read through the discussion board posts before class. There are also many glitches with the tool as well as poor formatting, and some student users mentioned that responses or threads wouldn’t appear or were inaccessible. Faculty brought up many difficulties with creating the tool and using it for their site. Such issues included grading, managing discussions, replying to responses, and general management of the tool being too difficult and clunky. Professors also noted that students will be able to skip class and rely on the lecture pdfs and Discussion Board.
 Annoying announcement notification bubbles – IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIIII   IIIII IIIII   IIIII 45

annoying daily notification summary email – IIIII IIIII   IIII – 14

dont send enough important emails ex. due dates

No mobile scrolling on updates page

 Announcements not working, email better – IIIII IIIII I – 11

want .pdf inserts (posted not attached, like an image)

 Email Announcements – IIIII IIII – 9
Users have had various difficulties and annoyances with the Blackboard announcement system. A primary grievance for students is the notification icon in the top right not functioning smoothly. It takes at least two clicks on the red notification icon to make it disappear, but many students were annoyed with it not going away once checked once. Students were also annoyed with these notifications being cluttered with primarily useless news, such as a professor adding a reading that wasn’t due in the near future. Because of this most students hated the daily notifcation summary email that Blackboard sends out because it usually only has useless information. This is contrasted by the student desire for a higher frequency of important emails, where professors send an email when an important announcement comes up such as nearing due dates and time sensitive class information. This common complaint is directed at professors for not sending an email with an announcement as that is already a easy to use function in Blackboard. Faculty find announcements to be too difficult to manage and prefer simply sending emails. The main reason given for this is the formatting is frustrating and not ideal. Some professors also want to be able to insert pdfs into the announcement in the form of an image, as well as generally having posted files and images as well as able to link to more content within one announcement. Similarly people using organizations were frustrated with the emailed announcement’s formatting as well as distribution and wanted the system to function better for their needs.

Hard to find grade for quiz

Glitches with the system, too easy to lose all progress.

Want timer to stay on screen as users scroll

Quizes – IIIII II – 7

Click on calculated score to see comments is dumb – IIII – 4

Easier way for students to receive grading and feedback

Quizzes – IIII – 4
Writing/submitting assignments – IIIII IIIII   IIIII II – 17

Can’t be edited after submitted even if it is not due yet.

“The submission WYSWG editor is atrocious (even if tinymce is industry standard and free, its just not cutting it in terms of usability)”

Uploading nonstandard file types is impossible

Edit assignments after submit/submission glitches – IIIII – 5

Assignment upload problems – IIIII III – 8

formatting – III – 3

Video uploading slow/glitchy – IIIII I – 6

Use Vimeo for video instead of Blackboard because it’s too slow – IIII – 4



 Useless Calendar tool – IIIII IIIII   IIIII I – 16

Want to sync with google calendar

Bad calendar tool and Google calendar integration (or easily imported) – IIIII IIII – 9  Calendar – III – 3
 Don’t know how to remove/manage old courses – IIIII IIIII – 10

Know how but want them automatically removed from homepage and grade center after each semester

Importing courses year to year hard – IIIII IIIII   II – 12

Making a course live unintuitive

Transferring useful documents is difficult, can’t select wanted documents

Don’t understand difference of .doc and .pdf – IIIII II – 7

Want .doc viewer or only .pdf uploads – IIII – 4

Uploading files hard – IIIII IIIII   IIII – 14

Users think google docs is better

Want Drag and drop functionality

Difficult to organize files and content

File upload and organization – IIIII IIIII  IIIII II – 17

Need better way to upload files in bulk in an organized way.

Too hard to organize files on site and transfer them to use outside of blackboard.

Issues with file folders

want docx to function like pdf in bb/inconsistent – II – 2

Community Sites – IIIII II – 7

Groups and Orgs no presence – IIIII III – 8

Update Org sites – III – 3

More of a department presence – 1

Remove old content – II – 2

Photo roster – IIIII – 5

Privacy issues

Directory too intrusive, customize personal info – IIII – 4

Photo roster should show preferred name and shortened email – trans* inclusion – III – 3

Photo roster issues – IIIII – 5

Faculty have difficulty accessing roster off campus

Appointments – III – 3

Too hard and confusing to communicate as a class through Blackboard

Appointments – IIIII I – 6

Can advisees use this? No. Use Google appointments

 Auto log out interrupting work, not logging into same page (can’t resume work) – IIIII – 5

Workaround – Log in on a new tab and then refresh the old tab, it should resume work

Stay logged on – III – 3
Miscellaneous Problems
Distributing surveys – II – 2

Having trouble distributing surveys and don’t like system.

Don’t want course evals online.

Communication hub – II – 2

Too cluttered, not used well.

Having to get accustomed to updates and changes – IIIII IIIII – 10

Always needs a tutorial

Want functionality to change and tools to be improved on but already has difficulty learning and don’t want new challenges

Search function – 1

Help out older users auditing classes from community

Search button for specific items – I I I I 4

Most recent search for documents – 1

Multi generational training on what is possible with bb

Use app for everything doable on computer – IIIII III – 8

screen readers, web content accessibility guidelines – II – 2

Better simpler software used – II – 2

Canvas, Schoolloop

Tutorials (or links) made available on home page

Attendance – IIII – 4

Want to take attendance through Blackboard

Sections that can be used in all courses a prof teaches – III – 3

Time card – 1


Quoted Feedback:

“We fear change.” Call for making a move to a new system

“Training! Please train faculty. Don’t make them go through training, because that’s not helpful or fun for anyone. But the option of training would be so useful. Maybe even just a nice “how-to” guide they could access for things they need to do that’s very clear, with instructional videos and pictures. They have enough to work on without having to wrestle with technology. Also, some kind of guide for students would be useful too. Not a long one, because no one will bother with that, but a very little walk-through you could pitch to freshmen as at least not a total waste of time. Or make blackboard learning a part of freshmen seminars, along with the library things we seem to have to learn.”

“Blackboard should adopt agile development methods. Your feedback loop is too slow, by the time someone who asked for a feature gets it delivered they have graduated already.”

“You should maybe send out some kind of “What you can do with BlackBoard email” at the beginning of the year – I feel like I’ve learned a lot of BlackBoard functionality just from filling this out that I would have used earlier in my college career if I had known I could.”

“I seem to have found a minor bug regarding attaching and detaching rubrics from test questions. Steps to reproduce: (1) Create a new rubric (2) Create a new test (3) Create a new question group (4) Create a new question (5) Apply the rubric to the question, accept its point value as the points for the question (6) Publish the test (7) Have one student take the question (8) Create a new rubric with a different point value (9) Edit the test question, replace with the old rubric with the new rubric (10) Accept warnings about re-scoring (11) Submit through (12) Delete the old rubric entirely from the course (13) Go to score the student’s test question — the old rubric still appears and cannot by any means be separated from the question.”

“Instead of using XHR/AJAX calls, “submit” buttons often cause a full page reload.It remains ugly, clunky-looking, doesn’t work well in a smaller browser window or on mobile devices. Instead of using XHR/AJAX calls, “submit” buttons often cause a full page reload. These things bother my sensibilities as a programmer, because the technology is dated and out of style, but they do get the job done.When people change language pack it screw up User Directory”