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|Initial release||January 21, 1997(as Blackboard Learning Management System)|
October 2014citation needed][
Blackboard Learn (previously the Blackboard Learning Management System) is a virtual learning environment and course management system developed by Blackboard Inc. It is 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 January 21, 1997, Stephen Gilfus and Daniel 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. 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.
In 2015 the company announced a major upgrade to the user experience, called Ultra. According to company statements, Ultra is to be an optional user interface sitting on top of the existing Learn 9.1 architecture.
In October 2017, Blackboard partnered with OpenEd to integrate OER with Learning Management Systems.
Blackboard Learn 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.
Blackboard Inc has had several legal issues, including faulty patent rights claims. In addition, a number of educational institutions, teachers, and students have expressed concerns about the reliability of Blackboard. McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, has replaced their Blackboard system after multiple problems during one year of use. Citing numerous glitches and high costs, many universities are turning to the cheaper, open source alternative Moodle, including Montana State University, Vassar College, California State University, Long Beach, and many other schools. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's implementation of the system notably suffered sporadic outages in the Grade Book section during the finals of the Fall 2014 semester.
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