This semester I thought I’d try something new and run my courses entirely within the official CMS. Over the past few years I’ve gotten a serious case of user account fatigue and dread the thought of signing up for yet another userid and password combination to be floating out there in the cloud more or less forever. I’ve used WordPress for class in the past, but these days I’m hesitant to make my students do something I wouldn’t, so rather than make them get a new WordPress account, I thought I’d use the “blog” tool in Blackboard.
It’s a usability and user interface nightmare. Navigation is opaque. There’s no way to see all the class’s posts in a chronological feed (y’know, like a blog?); each student’s posts are in a separate silo (within a silo!); students can’t figure out how to post, or how to see anyone else’s blog; you can’t copy/paste text into a text box in Bb(?!?); there’s no way to see when a blog has new entries (except by remembering how many total entries there were the last time I looked); Blackboard helpfully tells me that there are 10 new posts but unhelpfully won’t link to them . . . ugh.