Rolandra West

 

rdwest@txwes.edu

 

Texas Wesleyan’s information technology and the Provost’s Office are furthering their efforts in technology and making improvements through the SMARTboards system, the Classroom NEXT addition, and now the Learning Management System (LMS)-Blackboard.

 

Blackboard is a system for all online and web-assisted classes, and is convenient to Wesleyan students. The Blackboard system is designated to help teach the basics and assist online classes.

 

Texas Wesleyan’s Blackboard was upgraded from 9.0 to 9.1 in 2011. For professors to be able to use Blackboard for their classes, online certification is required through the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).

 

Elizabeth Alexander, associate professor of history, said she loves teaching with Blackboard, but it can be frustrating at times.

 

“It can be time-consuming to create the material for a class on Blackboard, but I think it’s worth the time,” Alexander said. “I would hate to lose it.”

 

According to the CETL website, Blackboard features many different tools including: navigation tools, course management tools, interaction tools and assessment tools for professors to use.

 

“I started about 10 years ago with WebCT and have used a course management system ever since.  It has many useful functions, including the ability to post extra material for students,” Alexander said. “I use it to post special essays, guides to films from YouTube, course information, announcements, copies of the PowerPoints I use in class and links to podcasts.”

 

Alexander said WebCT is a web-based program that was bought out by Blackboard and is no longer used by Wesleyan.

 

The web-assisted courses are courses that specifically use the Blackboard system. Alexander said some teachers use other web-related technology but the university’s standard is Blackboard.

 

Krista Hughes-Bailey, executive academic administrator of the Provost’s Office, said there are currently 96 web-assisted Blackboard courses and an additional 30 that are strictly online classes. She said all professors are allowed to use Blackboard for their classes.

 

Bailey said the professors can request the system through the Provost’s Office and then work with IT to learn how to set up their classes in Blackboard.

 

Janee Alexander, junior English major, said she likes using Blackboard and it is pretty simple to use when taking quizzes.

 

However, Alexander does not think it is good for taking notes. She said instead of worrying about paper turn in’s, all a student has to do with Blackboard is click submit and he or she is done.

 

“I think it [Blackboard] is a good essential need for college students,” Alexander said. “It’s a new wave of technology that all teachers should implement in their curriculum.”

 

According to the CETL website, tutorials and resources are available to those interested in learning about Blackboard or how to get started for both students and teachers. For more information visit www.txwescetl.com.

 

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