Professors say Blackboard is still relevant

By on March 7, 2007

A majority of Quinnipiac University professors are using the online educational tool Blackboard, in addition to using traditional classroom instruction.

Sixty-five percent of Quinnipiac instructors use Blackboard, said David Vance, the manager of training and communications of Information Services at Quinnipiac.

“That is 522 professors,” said Vance, who trains faculty members on how to incorporate Blackboard into their teaching style. “Ninety-four percent of students at Quinnipiac University have at least one course that requires the use of Blackboard.”

No matter what professors use it for, Blackboard is a basic part of their courses.

“I .use Blackboard mostly to communicate with all my students. When I send group e-mails, Blackboard is the best way of doing so,” said Lisa Reeves, a professor of economics.

The frequency with which teachers use the educational tool ranges.

“[I use Blackboard] to send group e-mails, place readings and post exams,” said Cynthia Duarte, a professor of sociology. “In the beginning of the semester, [I use it] a few times a week” Duarte said. “During midterms I was on Blackboard every day for a week.”

One professor finds that Blackboard helps students succeed in her classes with the help of a tool called Gradebook. “I like it because it allows students to track their grade very early in the semester rather than waiting until the end of the semester and then realizing that they have a lower grade than expected,” said Kathy Livingston, a professor of sociology. “Without Gradebook, I find that students put off doing their work, and then think they have a lot of time to ‘catch up’ on their studies, when in fact, they don’t.”

“Toward the end of semester, when they realize they do not have time to increase their grade, they get very upset and angry and even hostile,” Livingston continued. “So by posting grades every week, students know where they stand and those with low grades in the beginning of the semester [can] come to me during my office hours to ask how they can increase their grades.”

Blackboard consists of many features, including announcements, syllabus, assignments and course materials. Although many professors find Blackboard useful, not all students are as keen about it.

“I only use it to see my grades and when my professors post PowerPoint notes,” said Nicholas Piro, a sophomore psychology major. “I don’t like [to use] Blackboard because it’s annoying to keep checking it. [Professors] don’t know how to use it and they don’t tell you if they [have] posted something.”


About Sharon Ng