Blackboard Learning System

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Blackboard Learning System is a virtual learning environment and course management system developed by Blackboard Inc. It is a Web-based server software which features course management, customizable open architecture, and scalable design that allows integration with student information systems and authentication protocols. It may be installed on local servers or hosted by Blackboard ASP Solutions. Its main purposes are to add online elements to courses traditionally delivered face-to-face and to develop completely online courses with few or no face-to-face meetings.


On Jan 21 1997, Stephen Gilfus and Dan Cane started a company called CourseInfo LLC and were developing a software product that would power online education and be scalable for wider institutional application.[1] At the same time, Matthew Pittinsky and Michael Chasen formed Blackboard LLC and were contracted to help lead the formation of the Educause IMS standards group for online education technology. The two groups merged to form Blackboard Inc., which then developed the Blackboard Learning System.[2]

On October 17, 2012 Michael Chasen, CEO and co-founder of Blackboard, announced that he was leaving the company he founded 15 years earlier.[3]


The Blackboard Learning System provides users with a platform for communication and sharing content.


  • Announcements: Professors and teachers may post announcements for students to read. These can be found under the announcement tab, or can be made to pop-up when a student accesses Blackboard.
  • Chat: This function allows those students who are online to chat in real time with other students in their class section.
  • Discussions: This feature allows students and professors to create a discussion thread and reply to ones already created.
  • Mail: Blackboard mail allows students and teachers to send mail to one another. This feature supports mass emailing to students in a course.


  • Course content: This feature allows teachers to post articles, assignments, videos etc.
  • Calendar: Teachers can use this function to post due dates for assignments and tests.
  • Learning modules: This feature is often used for strictly online classes. It allows professors to post different lessons for students to access.
  • Assessments: This tab allows teachers to post quizzes and exams and allows students to access them via the internet
  • Assignments: This features allows assignments to be posted and students to submit assignments online
  • Grade Book: Teachers and professors may post grades on Blackboard for students to view.
  • Media Library: Videos and other media may be posted under this function.[4]

Product development[edit]

Over the many years of its development, the Blackboard Learning System has undergone several iterations. In addition, academic institutions of all sizes have changed the way they use the Blackboard Learning System including transitioning from augmentation of traditional classroom learning to supporting full online and virtual campus capabilities. Similarly,

The Blackboard Learning System and much of the Blackboard product line has been challenged with:

  • Maintaining the appropriate scalability for the increased level of usage by its customers.
  • Providing seamless and uninterrupted migration paths from one version of the software to the other
  • Supporting the tens of thousands of transaction enrollments and add/drop capabilities that may happen during the first two weeks of class
  • Providing a refined first release product for its customers. Often it is best to wait 6 – 12 months before going to the next version of the Blackboard product. It typically takes this long for the development team to riddle out issues with the most recently released version. Schools have experienced transition and scalability challenges with Blackboard product within the first 6 months of usage.
  • Providing feature parity between its new products and the end of life of other acquired software (WebCT and Angel Learning are examples)

Starting in the late 2000s, the product has faced competition from comparable projects such as Edvelop[5] and Moodle, which is available free of cost to users.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1], The Blackboard Learning System.
  2. ^ "The Blackboard Learning System". 
  3. ^ "Blackboard founder and CEO resigns - What it means for the LMS industry". Zdnet. 2012-10-17. 
  4. ^ "THE BLACKBOARD LEARNING SYSTEM". The Journal of Educational Technology Systems. 2007. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Trotter, Andrew (June 13, 2008). "Blackboard vs. Moodle: Competition in course-management market grows". Education Week. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 

External links[edit]