OCTET

Oberlin Center for Technologically Enhanced Teaching

By

Survey of faculty and students who have used systems other than Blackboard

A recent survey was conducted via Blackboard (Nov 19-22) asking users if they have used other LMS products and what their impressions were of those relative to what we are currently using.

Here are some of the results:

Demographics:

  • 38 Teachers
  • 386 Students

Systems Identified:

Teachers  Students
  • Blackboard (37)
  • Canvas (3)
  • Schoology (1)
  • Moodle (3)
  • Google Drive/Docs (28)
  • Google Classroom (3)
  • WebBoard (1)
  • WebCT (1 – bought by Bb in 2005)
  • Blackboard (381)
  • Canvas (40)
  • Schoology (24)
  • Moodle (87)
  • Google Drive/Docs (388)
  • Google Classroom (85)
  • Piazza (2)
  • eLearning (1)
  • Finalsite (1)
  • SchoolLoop (2)
  • frontier (1)
  • edline (2)
  • Haiku (1)

Usability feedback from faculty

 

Teacher feedback on Blackboard:

  • “I use the grading tool on Blackboard but it’s cumbersome. Also, I wish there was some way to generate an attendance list. I haven’t figured that out yet.”
  • Versatile
  • “something a bit more user friendly– blackboard obscures commands through its menus that are not intuitive. “
  • “Google=1 doc at a time. Bb=many docs reaching whole class w/more functions.”
  • “I’m used to Blackboard and have tons of stuff stored there than can just be copied directly into repeated courses, so I’m resistant to change primarily for that reason. If existing materials can easily be copied to a new system, then I’d be less resistant.”
  • No, it is horribly confusing and clunky.I heartily endorse Google Drive, although it can’t be used for everything that Blackboard does. Blackboard is antiquated and very slow to use. There are too many nested menus and folders to navigate through, and finding what you’re looking for is rarely intuitive.
  • “My basic needs are pretty simple and blackboard does fine with those. There are some things I’ve never entirely figured out (like how to survey students) which I might have incorporated had I been able to make them work. But really it’s fine. “
  • “Using blackboard and google docs allows me to do anything I want. “
  • I know how to use it.
  • Awkward, lack of easy movement through it.
  • Not so happy with it, or Google docs.
  • “Tired of BB. Tired of Banner system, too, but I guess this isn’t the place.”
  • “The interface for entering grades is difficult to use because it doesn’t respond to normal commands (like two-finger scroll) and is too small. That forces you to go back and forth between keyboard and mouse. It also diverges from the standard Excel command of navigating away from an entry with an arrow, and it’s frustrating to have a different set of habits for different interfaces.”
  • “Blackboard: Can’t believe I’m still having to use shift-return when creating an announcement so that the formatting isn’t weird when it goes out by email. Fairly typical of the weaknesses of Blackboard.”
  • far too complicated, too many bells and whistles get in the way.
  • My biggest hurdle for using any of these systems is the learning curve. I am only now starting to figure out Blackboard and I don’t know where I will find the time to learn some new system. That said, the students all seem to use Google Drive so transitioning to something that most of us have some familiarity with could be the easiest transition if we must change. I still haven’t figured out Google Drive in any depth, but that would be preferable to something completely new.
  • You have to set up far too much for even the simplest things. It takes forever to navigate through it. I wish the new system would have a more basic set of options with additional features if one wants or if there was a way of setting up a system for oneself so that it suited one’s own needs rather than having to through unless options each time to set up simple things.
  • All of my college work on one platform – committees classes and advisees.
  • Its advantage is that it is an enterprise-wide platform but it is expensive and lacks a decent mobile app. Given the current financial crisis in the college, I believe we must seriously consider less costly options.
  • A simpler interface than Blackboard currently has would be great.  It’s not terrible, but it seems to me that in 2016 learning technology should be more advanced, less time-consuming, and more reliable.  I don’t love the idea of one massive corporation developing a monopoly on learning technology, but Google’s products do work well and make things simpler.
  • Robust — bad interface
  • Awkward UI, especially when it comes to editing announcements and the like.
  • I’m used to it and can do everything I want to do using it. Some parts are clunky. Sometimes things are hard to find (e.g. making the course available each semester takes ma  while to figure out every time). Not excited about having to learn a new platform unless it is dramatically better.
  • A simpler interface than Blackboard currently has would be great.  It’s not terrible, but it seems to me that in 2016 learning technology should be more advanced, less time-consuming, and more reliable.  I don’t love the idea of one massive corporation developing a monopoly on learning technology, but Google’s products do work well and make things simpler.
  • Notifications don’t get cleared automatically after you read them.
  • “something a bit more user friendly– blackboard obscures commands through its menus that are not intuitive. “
  • “Drop it. If we’re going to save money by cutting admin staff and faculty, just cut it. We can go back to print reserves and paper gradebooks. “
  • Please just don’t change. Bb is clunky but better that than having to learn a new (and likely equally inadequate) program.
  • Disadvantages include the non-intuitive nature of the interface, its inability to keep formatting consistent, and its frequent crashes when students are using it for assessments.
  • I’m not sure what to say, other than I’ve just spent a number of hours each week rebuilding the content on my Blackboard pages this semester (and will continue to do so next semester) because everything was wiped out while I was away when one of the servers was taken down. If the system is going to be replaced, I will need to do that all over again. So if there is a new system, I would hope it would be something where large amounts of media content (scores, recordings, videos, etc.) can be placed within it easily, it will not crash when such content is attached to assessments, and metadata could easily be stripped out of files that are going to be parts of assessments.
  • Handy for storing readings, assignments.
  • Incredibly clunky to upload things, and especially clunky to add users to a course manually.
  • Honestly, most of these systems have way more functionality than I need.  I need 3 things, everything else is just in the way.
    • 1. A way to email the class.
    • 2. A place to store E-Res readings
    • 3. A place to store assignments, handouts, etc.

Usability feedback from students

Usability

Student feedback on Blackboard

  • “Blackboard works pretty well. I haven’t had much difficulty with it at all throughout my four years here. I wouldn’t recommend switching. “
  • “Nobody enjoys blackboard”
  • “Don’t use blackboard.”
  • “Blackboard is crap. The layout is ugly and bad and confusing. “
  • “I just got used to blackboard, so I’d rather not learn something new.”

More to come — ran out of time.