Blackboard Learn Review

Blackboard Inc.
Product:
Vendor:
Founded:
Headquarters:
Blackboard Learn
Blackboard Inc.
1997
Washington DC
Ownership:
Customers:
Deployment Model:
Free Trial:
Private
Unknown
Cloud, On-Premise
Yes
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Blackboard Learn At A Glance

Good: New Ultra Experience version with streamlined workflow of original features. Also has three deployment options, persona-specific mobile apps.
Bad: Software can be buggy at times, doesn't integrate wtih Google Apps.
Bottom Line: Long-time LMS solution designed to help students and employees improve their learning experience.

Product Overview

Like Moodle, Blackboard Learn is a web-based LMS that’s used in both the 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 dedicated user learning profile. However, some features are market specific (i.e. the analytics feature in business and government markets).

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

Features

Blackboard Learn debuted an upgrade, called Ultra Experience. The upgrade retains the robust features of its Original Experience version giving users a more streamlined workflow. The upgrades include:

  • Upgraded Assessments, including easier assignment creation, more visible due dates of assignments to learners and ability to engage in conversations within an assignment.
  • Addition of learning analytics feature with automatic notifications if failing class, visualization tool and call to action relating to course activity.
  • Users can customize their own profiles.
  • Simpler Discussions feature that encourages social learning, including the ability to view and participate in discussions directly from the Activity stream.
  • Addition of surveys and evaluations of courses that includes survey data reporting functions (i.e. ability to export data to SPSS or Excel).
  • Blackboard Open Content tool for creating, finding and sharing resources without having to import or export anything (users can also insert copyrights to their content).
  • Dedicated apps for mobile devices that’s set to a specific persona.
  • All relevant icons (profile, Activity stream, tools, messages, courses, calendar, etc) are in a navigational bar on left side of screen for one-click access.
  • Customize and send targeted notifications to specific users or school- or district-wide (for higher education and K-12 markets).
  • Integration to PowerSchool (for K-12 market).
  • Ability to access Gradebook in either list view or student view where students can see grading progress of each assignment (for higher education and K-12 markets).

  • Asynchronous Learning?
  • Employee Training?
  • Gamification?
  • Content Library?
  • Mobile Learning?
  • SCORM Compliance?
  • Synchronous Learning?
  • Testing & Assessments?

Target Market

Blackboard is intended for both the academic (K-12 and colleges/universities) and corporate environments. Within the corporate environment, Blackboard is targeted to all company sizes and industries. We’ve listed ten of its clients below:

  • Advisory Board Company
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Dog Academy
  • Fresenius Medical
  • Jiffy Lube
  • Mortgage Bankers Association
  • Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Northern Illinois University
  • OneBlood
  • Tulane University

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Implementation/Integration

There is a wide variety of training options for Blackboard Learn either onsite or online (or both). Some of the training options include:

  • 30-day preview of program materials
  • Introduction to Blackboard and Blackboard Learn
  • Online downloads of new student orientation and training program development courses
  • Onsite and online Learn SaaS Administration courses
  • Technical Administration courses (for systems administrators and developers)

Blackboard also offers training that’s customized to the school or business.

Customer Service & Support

Blackboard Learn users can access the dedicated help site for answers to troubleshooting and other commonly-asked questions. Blackboard also offers tutorials on its YouTube channel and a community forum for connecting with other users.

For system administrators and developers, there is a dedicated site called Behind the Blackboard for support resources, software update downloads and reference materials.

Pricing

Blackboard doesn’t publicly release pricing information. However, we’ve estimated how much it costs, based on different sources.

Please contact them directly for a price quote.

Shortcomings

Users have reported that Blackboard Learn sometimes can get buggy (i.e. a page won’t load correctly). Also, unlike other learning management solutions, it doesn’t integrate with Google Apps.

Screenshots

Blackboard Inc. Screenshot 1
Blackboard Inc. Screenshot 2
Blackboard Inc. Screenshot 3

About

Blackboard Inc. has a long history in the LMS space – it was founded in 1997 with its Blackboard Learn solution debuting in 1998. Its mission is to “re-imagine education” with a goal of making learning more accessible and meaningful for learners.

In addition to Blackboard Learn, Blackboard offers the following modules: Blackboard Analytics, Blackboard Collaborate, Blackboard Open Content, Blackboard Transact (for e-commerce functionality) and Blackboard Social Media Manager.

In 2012, Blackboard acquired Moodle’s Moodlerooms (an open source learning solution) and NetSpot (a free wireless analyzers for Mac users). Blackboard has also provided expertise and resources, such as developers, to Moodle.

Blackboard has received many awards over the year, most recently, the 2016 WebRTC Product of the Year (for Blackboard Collaborate) and the 2015 Campus Technology Readers’ Choice Award.

Headquartered in Washington DC, Blackboard has many locations both in the U.S. and around the world.

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