Student view of Blackboard upgrade

At Duke,  Blackboard will be upgraded from version 6.3 to version 8, to ensure support from Blackboard Inc. for our system.  While this upgrade is taking place, Blackboard will be unavailable for three days, from May 7, 2009 at 6 p.m. through May 10, 2009 at 6 p.m.

How will this upgrade affect students?  Depending on how an instructor uses Blackboard, students may not notice a difference. The major changes are in the grade center, which has been completely redesigned from the instructor view.  Other changes include additional features in the discussion board.

Students who tested the new version of Blackboard were unconcerned about the upgrade.  Here’s what they said:

The new display isn’t very different from the original user interface.  Other than the comments, everything else looks basically the same, so I didn’t have any trouble adjusting.

It’s not that complicated. Anyone who is familiar with version 6 will be fine with the new version.

I find the interface pretty intuitive to use.

it’s pretty straight forward and similar to the old version.

I think that comments are useful.  It will make it easier for teachers to give feedback on things without giving everything back.

I don’t think it will be difficult, because it fairly similar to the old version.

I don’t think the difference is that big, although it is definately a good way to get additional information on your grades.

It is pretty similar to the last version, so I think students will be able to figure it out fine.

The only difference I noticed was that now there is a field for instructor’s comment

This new display is very similar to the old one. Plus the labels are very clear.

Overall, there is not much difference between the new version and the old one.

It should be pretty easy for students to get used to it.

Faculty members who have tested the new version of the grade center in Blackboard experienced some minor problems, but overall, their comments were positive:

I reviewed some of the new grade book…So far it looks excellent. I can see this replacing Excel for most of what I do to set grades.

I played around with this quite a bit and overall I really like it.

Faculty who would like to get familiar with the new features of Blackboard can:

  • attend a workshop in May
  • contact us to arrange for training for a group of instructors, or an office visit to help you get started
  • check the help pages for short video tutorials and more information (new site available May 7)

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