Blackboard is used at Sheffield however my team and I do not utilise it given the nature of the support we offer. I have used Blackboard, Schoology, and Moodle in the past. Blackboard is perhaps the VLE I would have the most familiarity with and have found that it has several benefits and some clunky disadvantages.
– Useful platform for online content that facilitates student’s asynchronous learning
– Provides a platform that allows students to refer back to content
– Acts as a platform for live webinars
– Allows for easy communication between students and tutors
– Can be used to obtain student’s thoughts/quizzes etc.
– Allows for peer-to-peer discussion
– Allow sof the development of a learning record via journal entries etc.
Some issues that arise and can be problematic in my experience include
– The app can be difficult to navigate and tends to freeze regularly
– Trying to find assignments and key documents can be tricky for students
– Replying to discussion topics on treads – I have seen students begin new threads accidently multiple times when trying to do this!
In terms of improvements, perhaps the functionality around embedding more audio-visual content could be improved. Also I think syncing with third party programs like Quizlet or Padlet would greatly improve the interactivity and perhaps even engagement with students. I agree with earlier suggests regarding assignments and perhaps the ability to post and comment on written documents in a similar manner to ‘Google Docs’ would be beneficial for students.