Best Blackboard Alternatives 2022

Blackboard Learn is a learning management system that helps schools improve the learning experience both inside and outside of the classroom. It has many features, such as a mobile app for students to access courses on the go and robust analytics for measuring course performance. Blackboard Learn integrates with Blackboard’s other solutions (e.g. Blackboard Collaborate virtual classroom tool) and many third-party software solutions.

Blackboard Learn has comprehensive functionality, but users have mentioned that its interface could be more intuitive. Also, it prefers for prospective clients to get a custom quote rather than publicly sharing pricing information.

While Blackboard Learn offers a solution for businesses, the focus of this post is its main target market: K-12 and higher education institutions. If you’re looking to compare Blackboard Learn with other LMS software solutions, here are four alternatives.

Best Blackboard Alternatives

About Blackboard

Blackboard Learn is a web-based LMS that’s used in both academic and business environments to help students and employees improve their learning experience. It’s easily customized to an organization’s needs and integrates with Microsoft OneDrive, school information systems and Dropbox.

Blackboard Learn is tailored to four different markets: K-12, higher education, businesses and government. All four markets share Blackboard Learn’s main features, such as testing/assessments, discussions and a dedicated user learning profile.

Blackboard Learn can be deployed in three ways: cloud, self-hosting (on-premise) and managed hosting.

Pros

Blackboard Assist feature that helps students access their school’s resources, Blackboard App, the ability to measure course or student success.

Cons

Interface looks outdated and isn’t always intuitive.

Bottom Line

Long-time LMS solution designed to help students and employees improve their learning experience.

Pricing

Blackboard has a 30-day free trial for new clients. It doesn’t publicly release pricing information. However, we’ve estimated how much it costs, based on different sources.

Contact the vendor directly for a price quote.

Blackboard Alternative #1: Moodle

With Moodle, users have a choice of either installing their account on their servers or using the solution in the cloud. MoodleCloud has several benefits, such as accessibility anytime, scalability and a very short implementation process.

There’s also the Moodle Workplace solution, which allows companies to customize the LMS to fit their unique needs. It includes features such as the ability to build learning and compliance programs, multi-tenancy, a report builder and social learning.

Pros

Flexible deployment options, the ability for teachers to choose their own content and activities, dedicated Moodle mobile app.

Cons

MoodleCloud plans only accommodate up to 1,000 users, and some users say the interface isn’t always intuitive.

Bottom Line

Open-source platform with a modular design for teachers to build their own curriculum.

Pricing

MoodleCloud has a 45-day free trial that includes 1,000 users and 5 GB of storage. Then, there are five pricing tiers that include all the features of Moodle, such as unlimited courses and activities, a mobile app, a personalized site name, session recording and web conferencing with BigBlueButton. Pricing is in U.S. currency.

  • Starter: $120 per year for 50 users and 250 MB of storage
  • Mini: $210 per year for 100 users and 500 MB of storage
  • Small: $370 per year for 200 users and 1 GB of storage
  • Medium: $870 per year for 500 users and 2.5 GB of storage
  • Large: $1,670 per year for 1,000 users and 5 GB of storage

Moodle is now providing Premium and Enterprise hosting plans for organizations with over 1,000 users, with higher storage requirements or that want more customization and flexibility. Pricing for both plans isn’t available, so companies will need to contact Moodle for a quote.

Moodle Workplace is only available via the Moodle Certified Service Provider network.

Blackboard Alternative #2: Canvas LMS

Instructure is a software provider focusing on dynamic learning management systems that streamline teaching tasks for various settings. One of those systems is Canvas LMS, which was created for educational institutions to better engage users in the teaching and learning processes

Instructure has an integrated and inclusive video platform for online teaching called Canvas Studio. With Canvas Studio, students can easily upload and share videos to a digital classroom, as well as let students and instructors comment on videos to create conversations.

Canvas can also be integrated with third-party solutions such as Microsoft Teams, Google Assignments and Discovery Education.

Pros

Canvas Studio, a new-generation tool that makes educational videos more collaborative.

Cons

No built-in gamification features, but Canvas can integrate with third-party tools that allow gamification.

Bottom Line

An LMS created for educational institutions, Canvas was designed to better engage users in the teaching and learning processes.

Pricing

Canvas offers a free account for educators, even if their school isn’t a Canvas customer. However, it doesn’t contain all the options available to paid Canvas users, such as a calendar scheduler, Slack notifications and the ability to post grades to a Student Information System. The free teacher account also accommodates students and parents.

Educational institutions that want to purchase a subscription to Canvas will need to contact Instructure directly for a quote.

Blackboard Alternative #3: Google Classroom

Google Classroom is part of the G Workspace for Education package that includes Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar and other apps. It’s targeted to teachers and students in both K-12 and higher education markets.

One of the biggest benefits of Google Classroom is it’s simple to use and encourages collaboration between students and teachers. Teachers can create a class and then list apps and assignments in a few clicks. They can add students by name or send them a code to join. Students can then see what assignments are due, participate in discussion forums or message the teacher (either in private or via group chat).

Pros

Strong collaborative focus, easy to set up classes and assignments, virtual classes with Google Meet.

Cons

Accounts for parents aren’t offered.

Bottom Line

Learning management solution intended for schools in virtual or hybrid environments.

Pricing

The Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals platform is free for qualifying institutions and includes features such as Google collaboration tools (e.g., Docs, Sheets, Slides), communication tools (e.g., Meet, Gmail, Chat), data loss prevention for Google Drive and Gmail, and compliance with GDPR, FERPA and COPPA.

There are three paid plans:

  • Google Workspace for Education Standard – This plan costs $3 per student, per year and includes all of the features of the Fundamentals platform, plus a security center, advanced device and app management features, Gmail and Classroom logs for export into BigQuery, and audit logs.
  • Teaching and Learning Upgrade – This plan costs $4 per license, per month and includes all of the features of the Google Workspace for Education Standard, plus advanced Google Meet features (e.g., meetings with up to 250 participants, interactive Q&As, breakout rooms), unlimited originality reports and the ability to check for peer matches across a private repository.
  • Google Workspace for Education Plus – This plan costs $5 per student, per year and includes all of the features of the other plans, plus live streams with up to 100,000 in-domain viewers, syncing rosters from SISs to Google Classroom, personalized cloud search and prioritized support.

Blackboard Alternative #4: Schoology

PowerSchool’s Schoology is a learning management system (LMS) solution designed for collaboration between any kind of learner and instructor.

A core focus of Schoology’s LMS solution is to allow collaboration, with frequent checkpoints to ensure learners are engaging with the material. The most recent addition to the solution is assessment management, which brings learning management features to assessments.

Pros

Strong collaboration features throughout the solution.

Cons

Posting Google Assignments can be time consuming, learning curve due to robust features.

Bottom Line

Schoology allows instructors and learners to communicate easily, and it has built-in grading and assessment tools.

Pricing

PowerSchool doesn’t publicly display its pricing information, so contact the vendor directly for a quote.

Conclusion

Blackboard Learn is a major player in the LMS market with robust features, but prospects will have to contact the vendor to learn about pricing. Keep in mind that Canvas LMS and Schoology also require a custom quote.

Blackboard Learn has a free trial. However, it doesn’t have a free account for teachers and learners, while Canvas LMS and Google Classroom do. For educational institutions that want to compare prices before contacting any vendors, Moodle and Google Classroom are worth looking into.

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