Blackboard Learn

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Blackboard Learn
Developer(s)Blackboard Inc.
Initial releaseJanuary 21, 1997; 22 years ago (1997-01-21) (as Blackboard Learning Management System)
Stable release
October 2014; 4 years ago (2014-10)[citation needed]

Blackboard Learn (previously the Blackboard Learning Management System) is a virtual learning environment and learning 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.[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]

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.[3]

In October 2017, Blackboard partnered with OpenEd to integrate OER with Learning Management Systems.[4]

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.[5]


Blackboard Inc has had several legal issues, including faulty patent rights claims.[6] In addition, a number of educational institutions,[7][8][9] teachers,[10][11][12][13] and students[14][15][16][17][18] 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.[19] Citing numerous glitches and high costs, many universities are turning to the cheaper, open source alternative Moodle, including Montana State University,[20] Vassar College,[21] California State University, Long Beach,[22] and many other schools.[23] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1], The Blackboard Learning System.
  2. ^ "The Blackboard Learning System" (PDF).
  3. ^ "What's the Ultra Experience?". Blackboard Help. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  4. ^ "Blackboard Integrates OpenEd OER with Learning Management Systems -- THE Journal". THE Journal. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  5. ^ "THE BLACKBOARD LEARNING SYSTEM" (PDF). The Journal of Educational Technology Systems. 2007.
  6. ^ "Blackboard: Bully or Misunderstood?". Inside Higher Ed. August 18, 2006. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  7. ^ "Florida State University "Blackboard Blackout"". Archived from the original on 2010-10-13. Retrieved 2014-09-19. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ "CUNY "Blackboard Blackout"". Archived from the original on 2009-12-06. Retrieved 2014-09-19. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  9. ^ "Blackboard catastrophic system crash in Utah"
  10. ^ "Great Blackboard Crash of 2009"
  11. ^ "Protesting Blackboard 8.0"
  12. ^ "WTF University Meets Blackboard"
  13. ^ "Oh, Blackboard, Wherefore Do I Hate Thee?"
  14. ^ "Glitches in new Blackboard system a hassle"
  15. ^ ""The 'Official' I Hate Blackboard Group"". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2014-09-19. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  16. ^ "Blackboard 9: Enough is Enough"
  17. ^ "'Official' I Freaking Hate Blackboard thread" Archived December 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Holmes, Pat (September 19, 2010). "Cost-cutting Blackboard update 'hilariously bad' for some users". The Post, Baker University Center. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  19. ^ McMaster University Daily News "A new learning management system"
  20. ^ Rabil, Lily. "Blackboard no match for Moodle". Montana Kaimin. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  21. ^ "Vassar to switch from Blackboard to Moodle". April 22, 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  22. ^ "BlackBoard to be replaced by new system". Daily 49er. September 13, 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  23. ^ Trotter, Andrew (June 13, 2008). "Blackboard vs. Moodle: Competition in course-management market grows". Education Week. Retrieved 19 September 2010.

External links[edit]