10 Reasons Why Blackboard Learn Sucks

Why I haet Blackboard Learn:

1. There is no mass edit.

2. It’s sticky as all hell. When you create something new (an announcement, test, file, module, -anything-), you get a dashboard with a box for a title and then a box for the text. Sometimes, you try to type in one of the boxes and you simply can’t. It hangs. The only way to work with this is to click in whatever is the opposite box until it un-sticks. So if you’re in the title box, click on the text area and wait for the page to unstick. What utter effing b.s.

3. It takes forever to refresh. Hum de dum. La la la. Solitaire, Minesweeper. File my nails. Oh, it’s refreshed.

4. Corollary to #3 – Everything must refresh to change. For instance, test questions must be uploaded in RTF without formatting. So you have to go back and edit every one individually (corollary to #1 and #2). When you add formatting to multiple choice questions, like adding capital or lower case letters to the distractors, the page refreshes in the middle of the process. So you have to wait for it to reload before you finish editing the question.

5. When you load up multiple choice questions, Blackboard strips the apostrophe and double quote marks. If you write your test on a word processor, cut and paste it into an RTF file in Notepad, you must remember to change all apostrophes and quotes. If you don’t, you have to edit EACH question BY HAND and wait for the page to REFRESH for each question.

6. You have to mass upload the questions in an RTF format. This means all your formatting such as bold, underline, and italic is stripped. To correct…well, see #1 – 5.

7. You think you might be able to cheat and save some work by copying a test from one section to another the way you can copy a document. But nooooo. You have to download the test into a .zip file and then upload it to the other section.

8. When you write things in the text boxes, sometimes the first letter is automatically nudged over with a random space, thereby messing up your formatting, which is bothersome for an OCD person like me.

9.  Discussion boards are stupid. You can create a board several different ways but the boards created are all different. You can’t access them in one place; you have to go through the same route that you went to create them. Confusing? Yes! I mean that you can create a board either through the tools panel or through the module/page tab. Create and/or insert. That’s what they really mean. Or? What?  It’s just effing confusing.

10. It sucks.

7 Comments

  1. At university orientation day, one of the IT big heads remarked, ‘by the end of your degree you should be able to design a better system than blackboard.’ A bigger head, in a better suit then replies, ‘by the end of your first week you should be able to design a better system than blackboard.’
    Blackboard sucks.

  2. Completely in on the “sticky” comment. And I keep short stories and anecdotes by the laptop so that while I’m waiting for the unstick I can read sententiae. How much of my life have I whittled away during these moments? It’s absolutely stultifying.

  3. I completely agree freaking blackboard is terrible! We had a crappy system called “Vista” before and while not as bad as the OS with the same name, it had tons of little bugs but yet it was much more user friendly and reliable than dam BB learn.

  4. I’m basically a data analyst/programmer that hides out as an ecologist. I’ve written computer programs in many languages that did very complex things, and I’ve taught myself many software programs that are large and complex.

    I can’t figure out how to do many things in Blackboard or they don’t work as promised or it is something the software should do but cannot. It is overly complicated crap. There are learning seminars every year for this software. I refuse to sit for 3 hours for 3 sessions to learn how to do what should be obvious. I suppose I should just bite the bullet and do it though.

    My intuition is that the architecture of the software was not designed to do all the new features, and they did not simply hire some very skilled software engineers to re-design how things worked. Instead, they are basically trying to turn a Honda Civic into a Toyota Camry by riveting odds and ends onto the external structure. That is my sense when I see all the extraordinary steps that must be gone through to do something simple. In order to achieve something, you’ll have to visit all these areas and click this and that in set order or it won’t work.

    This is why I now only use Blackboard because: 1. I am forced to incorporate it, 2. I can simply use it as a way for students to send messages and do very basic things.

    My advise is to not use the higher level functions in Blackboard unless you are forced to because the course is entirely online.

  5. You have really missed the big picture here– Blackboard sucks because nothing is explained. Every single thing on this shitware has to be done by trial-and-error. Clunky, slow, and generally unpleasant is the least of it. I’m stopping plagiarism checks because SafeAssign is far worse than nothing at all, as it will nuke submissions if you don’t constantly remind it not to. I email my grades out because the Gradebook sometimes links to assignments even though I don’t want it to– and I can’t get rid of the link. The whole thing is counter-productive bullshit.


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