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The Effectiveness of Blackboard System, Uses and Limitations in Information Management

Intelligent Information Management, 2018, 10, 133-149
ISSN Online: 2160-5920
ISSN Print: 2160-5912
10.4236/iim.2018.106012 Nov. 30, 2018 133
Intelligent Information Management
The Effectiveness of Blackboard System, Uses
and Limitations in Information Management
Jamilah A. Alokluk
School of Arts and Humanities, Taibah University, Madinah, KSA
This paper presents a review of the literature on the effectiveness of Black-
board system, its uses and limitations in information management and high-
lights the ongoing debate of it. A critical evaluation of Blackboard system lit-
erature reveals a good number of academic views, studies, theories,
and experiences regarding the virtual learning environment. The extant lit-
erature shows that the world of information management is always in flux as
it is being impacted on by the learning technology such as blackboard system.
Blackboard system now has a recognised presence in the information man-
agement of the
education system. Now the question is: how effective is this
Blackboard system? The article will explore, in part, how blackboard is de-
signed as suitable learning models in terms of learner cognitive engagement
and constructivist perspective, resulting in the effective Blackboard system.
will further cover to review the effectiveness of Blackboard as an aid to peda-
gogy. Finally, the article will also present a comparison between Blackboard
and other LMS such as Moodle to explore the effectiveness and li
mitations of
the Blackboard for better academic information management.
Blackboard, Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Pedagogy, Learning
Management System (LMS), Information Management
1. Introduction
The rapid development in information technology has revolutionised the prac-
tices of teaching and learning in educational setting. Numerous studies reveal
that the quantity and quality of e-learning systems such as “Blackboard” in
higher education have increased significantly over the years. Students and
teachers access this virtual learning environment together to make effective in-
How to cite this paper:
Jamilah A. Alokluk
The Effectiveness of Blackboard
System, Uses and Limitations in Inform
tion Management
Intelligent Information
, 133-149.
March 23, 2018
November 27, 2018
November 30, 2018
Copyright © 201
8 by author and
Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative
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License (CC BY
Open Access
J. A. Alokluk
10.4236/iim.2018.106012 134
Intelligent Information Management
teraction with one another by way of chat, podcasts, discussion boards, and file
sharing. In fact, the adoption of Blackboard has revolutionised the traditional
teaching system, resulting in the effective educational information management.
Researchers argue that this type of management of information results in the
utilisation of codified knowledge that produces formal representations of infor-
mation entities, allowing process automation, decision-making and information
retrieval. Blackboard goes a long way in converting the tacit knowledge to ex-
plicit or codified knowledge that eliminates the factors of loss of knowledge ow-
ing to memory limitations. Also, the use of e-learning systems such as “Black-
board” helps reduce the costs of knowledge reproduction, leading to effective
knowledge management. Although e-learning offers advantages for teachers,
learners and institutions, it raises basic questions about the learning process [1].
Thus, questions whether e-learning is simply a supplementary help mechanism
for principal learning methods [2]. Presently, many of these e-learning tech-
nologies tend to focus on the delivery of mechanical information [3] [4], that is
termed as digital myopia [5], rather than on innovative pedagogic approach to
learning [6]. Given this context, examining the effectiveness of blackboard sys-
tem, uses and limitations in information management has become all the more
Virtual learning environments include both small single-purpose tools (e.g.,
GoogleDocs and wikispaces) and collaborative virtual learning environments
(e.g., Blackboard, Moodle, Schoology, Edmodo) [7]. These tools facilitate syn-
chronous and asynchronous e-learning. The present study purports to explore
the effectiveness of e-learning environment,
Blackboard that is considered to
make effective contributions to quality teaching and learning as well as find out
those aspects that might appear as barriers to quality teaching and learning. Ef-
fective implementation of Blackboard must address a number of barriers, in-
cluding institutional culture, pedagogical and technical support, teacher’s fa-
miliarity with technology and pedagogical content knowledge, students’ techni-
cal knowledge, and resources [7].
According to Olson & Bruner [8] (p. 150), “The acquisition of knowledge as
the primary goal of education can be seriously questioned”. There are models of
education in the information age, such as Blackboard assesses students’ existing
knowledge level, shares course materials database, supports collaboration
(teacher-student, student-student, teacher-teacher) and evaluates learner goals
and performance in order to maximise the effectiveness of the institutions. It is
in this context that Herrington [5] (p. 4) commented, “…, in the age of course
management software (such as WebCT and Blackboard), why universities might
think they are in the information industry”. Information industry focuses on the
four Gs: “Firms in this industry
, and
information, and
(sell) information to other firms” [9] (p. 2). Building on Miller [9],
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Herrington [5] (p. 5) appropriately observed:
- Teachers
the content that they decide is appropriate for the students
to know;
- They
appropriate and specific resources that are relevant to the con-
tent area;
- They
the information into weekly portions or modules; and
- They
the information to the students.
Literature survey reveals that the above information management approach
has got limitations; as they do not engage the learners cognitively and in con-
structivist approach [5] [10] [11] [12]. Thus, most e-learning models do not fo-
cus on rich interactive experiences. Rather, they emphasise on the model of eas-
ily digested packets of information, evaluated by stand-alone tests in an isola-
tionist way [13]. Therefore, the effectiveness of blackboard rests on more con-
structivist, interactive online learning environments [14] [15]; and the ability to
design learning activities which can cognitively engage the learner, and cause
them to think about the course materials that are uploaded, in terms of meaning,
relevance, application and contexts [12].
It is true that technology has an important role to play in the development and
expansion of online education. In order to address the afore-mentioned limita-
‘digital myopia’ [5], a synergy among learner, task and technology
needs to be created. This synergy can be created by designing learner-centric
technology with meta-cognitive tools that are based on learning behaviour or
providing simulations of complex system that learners can benefit from [16].
Appropriate technology can enhance the effectiveness of the Blackboard by of-
fering the relevant type of interactions, leading to the promotion of metacogni-
tion and self-regulated learning [17]. Research shows that properly designed
technology-rich learning enhances learner self-regulation and causes positive
learning behaviour modification [18] [19]. Therefore, “the design of the [Black-
board] should take into account both the cognitive and affective domain to en-
hance self-regulation” [15] [20] [21]. Boekaerts [21] is of the view that the
e-learning environment in Blackboard should provide technology-rich supports
for students to learn how to: “select, combine, coordinate their cognitive strate-
gies in connection to the new knowledge, and prompted to reflect on their strat-
egy use, extending their metacognitive knowledge with strategy and capacity be-
liefs” (cited in Y. Vovidesa [15] (p 67). Consequently, limitations in information
management can be addressed by quality learning that is facilitated through
more constructivist, interactive online learning environments [14] [15].
2. The Utilisation of Blackboard
Blackboard is a learning management system (LMS), which is used not only as a
repository of information,
course materials and course information but also
used as a tool for communication through emails, announcements, discussion
boards and podcasts etc. The utilisation of Blackboard solely depends on the ef-
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ficiency of the users. Users need to be able to utilise this educational technology
competently to facilitate the learning. Otherwise, it will be “one step ahead for
the technology, two steps back for the pedagogy” [10] [11] (p 239). If teachers
use Blackboard incompetently, then Blackboard becomes less useful to students.
Proper utilisation of Blackboard depends on the ability of the teachers to inte-
grate the technology with student-centered learning [7]. According to a study,
“only 23 percent of teachers surveyed feel prepared to integrate technology into
their instruction” [7], (p. 7). Also, it is true that students and teachers need to
have the motivation to become expert users of e-learning. If not, it can limit
their use of innovative pedagogies [22]. Thus, the utilisation of Blackboard de-
pends on assessment of current realities,
addressing the constructivist peda-
gogy. Current realities reflect that because of the educational technology revolu-
tion, Blackboard can deliver personalised, learner-focused contents and activi-
ties. It also promotes interactivity, and engaged learning with immediate feed-
back [22]. Blackboard is used by more than 70% of the U.S. colleges and univer-
sities [22].
2.1. Utilisation of Blackboard by Faculty
Teachers play a fundamental role in ensuring that Blackboard promotes stu-
dent-centred learning. According to Carvendale [23] (p. 26), “Professors at
many universities say that course-management software helps them organize
their courses better and brings new levels of interaction both among students
and between students and professors.” However, another study conducted by
Anderson [24] reported Blackboard system to be perceived as inflexible by fac-
ulty, and difficult to use by students. This can happen because of Blackboard’s
limitations and lack of technical flexibility. Another study was conducted at
University of Wisconsin System (UWS) that explored how faculty members used
the Blackboard, and what features were regularly used [25]. The study also in-
vestigated the circumstances that would induce faculty members’ greater use.
The key findings of the UWS study are as follows [26]:
1) Poor LMS uptake rates because faculty feared loss of control of instruction
and believed that the inflexibility of LMS procedures would undermine peda-
gogy. There was no reported evidence that showed that the LMS improved
2) Most faculty (80 percent of those surveyed) limited their use of LMS only to
content presentation tools. The faculty reported limited use of LMS interactive
parts, with strong focus on the ‘static’ tools (SafeAssign, surveys, quizzes and
3) Faculty members’ adoption of LMS had less to do with pedagogy and more
to do with class management.
4) Faculty adoption of LMS is mostly due to persuasion of departmental
chairs, provosts and deans.
5) The UWS study also found that training was crucial. Most faculty expressed
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that their use of LMS would grow if the software were easy to use and the train-
ing were more available.
This finding at serial number (d) reflects one of the observations made by
Lane [27] (p. 5), where he advanced, “more instructors embrace online teaching
because they are pressured to”, not because they want to. Consequently, teachers
are more prone to use administrative and static tools rather than uncover peda-
gogic perspectives. Continued use of Blackboard does not necessarily lead to
more creative use of pedagogy. It is found that even faculty members with long
experience make requests for help that tend to focus on simple technological is-
sues rather than how their teaching and learning goals can be achieved through
Blackboard. One study indicated that even experienced teachers use Blackboard
for mere grade administration, email and presenting static content [27].
A study conducted by Blin and Munro [28] concluded that despite widespread
usage of Blackboard system at Dublin City University, nominal change in the
arrangement and composition of teaching and learning had occurred. Much of
the Blackboard system use of the faculty was concentrated on administrative and
dissemination purposes. Only static, content-based resources were the main fo-
cus of the faculty that were added to the Blackboard. They attributed this situa-
tion to lecturers’ shortage of technical skills. They found that training would be
needed to address effective use of the Blackboard. On this issue, their study
seemed to agree with the University of Wisconsin System study, which also
highlighted the importance of training. Literature survey also reveals that many
new faculty members are web novices. They do not know how to use the tools
and features of Blackboard as they do not have profound understanding about
effective use of e-learning technology [26]. Therefore, due to the complexity in
predicting the reason for quality blackboard outcomes, researchers point out
that it is because of the way technology is used, rather than the effect and impact
of technology itself [29]. Al-Busaidi [30] is of the view that if faculty members do
not have well-developed sense of the applications or tools within the blackboard
system, most faculty members will stop using it. Thus, to improve the way tech-
nology is used, training is important in terms of enhancing the effective utilisa-
tion of Blackboard.
However, in the context of LMS, Blackboard has become a “glorified toolkit”
to meet the demands [31] as “Blackboard is a multimedia curriculum-driven
learning system that provides instructors with control and flexibility” [32]. A
survey conducted on this issue [33] revealed that seventy seven percent of par-
ticipants expressed positive views about discussion boards and emails that in-
creased interaction and collaboration amongst users [34]. Also, Wheeler and
Jarboe [35] observed, the increased faculty use of technology tools in classroom
further induces them to use these tools more comprehensively. A study by El-
dridge [36] reveals that majority of the faculty of the University of Kentucky use
syllabus component of the Blackboard. Other popular components included
“Announcements” and “Full Grade Center”.
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In New Zealand, “Blackboard” was introduced in tertiary education in 1990s
that facilitated e-learning processes, leading to the elimination of the difficulties
of course delivery previously done through the postal services. Since then,
Blackboard has been playing pioneering role in education there as faculty feed-
back is positive [31]. According to Nanayakkara [37], many educational institu-
tions now use online teaching tools such as ‘Blackboard’ as their LMS. In par-
ticular, the study conducted in a New Zealand Polytechnic by Nanayakkara [37]
revealed that peer pressure and influence would strongly contribute to faculty
decision to adopt Blackboard LMS (70% of respondents). Moreover, findings
suggest that the majority of the faculty consider that Blackboard positively con-
tributes to quality of learning and also enhances the traditional teaching with
improved flexibility [37]. Faculty members use Blackboard as it is easy to use
and use tools such as course delivery, classroom activities and communication
[31]. The email communication tool is also a popular tool. Her research also
shows that Blackboard is more used for administrative purposes and less used
for pedagogical purposes. However, there should be a good balance between
them. The balance can be maintained by following the seven online teaching
Faculty members’ utilisation of the Blackboard Learning System should aim at
achieving seven online teaching principles [38]:
Principle 1: Good practice encourages student-faculty contact, Instructors
should provide clear guidelines for interaction with students;
Principle 2: Good practice encourages cooperation among students,
Well-designed discussion assignments facilitate meaningful cooperation among
Principle 3: Good practice encourages active learning, students should pre-
sent course projects;
Principle 4: Good practice gives prompt feedback, Instructors need to pro-
vide two types of feedback: information feedback and acknowledgment feed-
Principle 5: Good practice emphasizes time on task, online courses need
Principle 6: Good practice communicates high expectations, challenging
tasks, sample cases, and praise for quality work communicate high expectations;
Principle 7: Good practice respects diverse talents and ways of learning, al-
lowing students to choose project topics incorporates diverse views into online
Thus, the seven principles contribute to effective learning outcomes. However,
excepting the seven principles, it is evident from the above discussion that the
emphasis is more on the functional and administrative features of Blackboard
and far less on the pedagogy and interactive learning. Also, the features of
Blackboard are not properly designed to enable teachers to focus on the peda-
gogical perspectives. Moreover, faculty members are concerned about unknown
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changes. Technology administrators usually do not communicate with the fac-
ulty about why decisions are made to adopt or stop specific blackboard tools.
Faculty, thus often feel subject to capricious whims of technology [25]. Conse-
quently, faculty feel demotivated to use the pedagogical perspectives of the
Blackboard. Rather, they prefer to use the static tools.
2.2. Utilisation of Blackboard by Students
The effective utilisation of the Blackboard learning system depends on user
readiness, organisational culture and system adoption as the literature supports.
However, Lee and Choi [39] suggest that environmental factors such as
non-availability of financial and social support from family and friends, causes
difficulties to student utilisation of online courses. Also, employment acts as a
significant barrier for students engaging more in their online studies [40]
ficient experience with online learning and other work commitments leads to
poor student utilisation of online learning environment. Morgan’s [25] UWS
study revealed that students had insufficient skills to use online learning features
without training.
Various reports suggest that student retention is positively contingent on in-
novative and engaging online activities and course design [41]. Thus, student
engagement with Blackboard is a key concern for educators as it has been posi-
tively associated with motivation and student grade and educational outcomes.
In a study conducted at Central Missouri State University to assess the quality of
web-based courses and students’ utilisation [42], the results revealed that stu-
dents with higher grades accessed the online activities more than students with
poorer grade.
In a traditional classroom setting, a common disadvantage to face-to-face in-
struction is the cultural differences between the faculty and the student. These
differences can crop up as there are individuals speaking different languages.
However, in blended learning the Blackboard environment offers a number of
online educational opportunities and advantages for students. First utilisation is
when a student gets feedback online to his/her queries from the faculty through
emails, discussion board it encourages a deeper level of thinking where the em-
phasis is on the written word [43]. Also, in a Blackboard learning environment
“students are:
1) Able to write while discuss;
2) Able to revise the class discussions note at anytime;
3) Able to retrieve discussions softcopy at anytime;
4) Able to add on or delete any part of the discussion at anytime;
5) Able to cut and paste any materials from other resources;
6) Able to edit and reorganise teaching materials at anytime;
7) Not constrained by study location” [44], (p. 63).
The above 7 utilisation of Blackboard finds match with four different ap-
proaches to interaction within e-learning. They are: 1) same time, same place 2)
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different time, same place, 3) same time, different place, and 4) different time,
different place.
According to Bradford
et al.
[22], Blackboard Learning System meets the stu-
dent learning needs in a positive way in terms of retrieving their course materials
including assignments, lecture notes, slides, Internet hyperlinks, and au-
dio/visual aid. Duke University conducted a feedback survey in 2004 where stu-
dents were provided with a list of 10 functions of Blackboard and requested to
select up to three functions that they used the most. The first option for 85% of
students was “easy access to course materials and readings [22] [45].
A research applied the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) [46] to the aca-
demic setting to measure student utilisation of Blackboard in terms of usage,
usefulness, and ease of use. Results suggest that students found that “the Black-
board elements which are associated with Course Content (Course Documents,
Lectures, Student Tools, Announcements, and Quizzes) are used more often and
are seen as more useful than those items that provide Course Support and
communication (Discussion Board, External Web Sites, Faculty Information,
and E-Mail)” [47] [48]. Other researchers are [49] also of the view that useful-
ness and perceived ease of use represent beliefs finally leading to actual utilisa-
tion of information technology. In another study, it was revealed that learning
activities and instructional strategies play a key role in teaching the necessary
skills that in turn, encourage students to positively utilise the online learning.
Thus, teachers have a role to play in the greater utilisation of Blackboard by the
A survey conducted [50] for the purpose of evaluating the usability of black-
board suggested that students’ satisfaction was found to be strongly linked with
the convenience and flexibility in the use of web-based tools. Accessing Black-
board anytime, anywhere and different learning tools that are required for their
different learning styles were also found to be highly significant to students.
The findings of a researchby Al-Hadrami [42] reveal that, ‘prior performance’
and ‘student attitudes toward web-based learning’ are the most significant fac-
tors affecting student interaction and utilisation. Furthermore, environmental
factors, such as student participation in web-based courses and student percep-
tions on instructors’ instructions are found to have a bearing on student interac-
In short, it can be said that the more students use the internet, the more they
interact with the Blackboard and the more experienced they become. The inter-
action with the Blackboard enhances student utilisation. In short, students who
interact with their peers via Blackboard tend to use it more often than those who
3. Level of Effectiveness of the Blackboard System
One of the determinants for evaluation of usefulness is effectiveness. Effective-
ness is how users perceive the course tool as vital to them in terms of learn-
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ing-teaching activities that is also called Perceived Usefulness (PU). Venkatesh
(1999) identified that PU relates to two factors: effectiveness and importance.
The research findings indicated the effectiveness (PU) of the Blackboard in the
following manner:
- Using Blackboard enables me to accomplish tasks quickly;
- Blackboard makes it easier for me to do teaching related tasks;
- I find Blackboard useful.
‘Level of effectiveness’ represents factors such as course delivery, students’
benefits, functionality, technical difficulties [31]. Level of effectiveness is de-
pendent on usage of course tools. Her research findings suggest that high fre-
quent use or low frequent use of course tools is conditioned to a certain extent
by the effectiveness of course tools. Hence, the observation of that ‘[U]sefulness’
of a system has a positive influence on user’s intended usage has been found
valid in this research by Missula [31]. A further study [51] reveals what the uni-
versity teachers reflect on learning through online discussion board: a. providing
time and access:
a) Engaging learners;
b) Fostering a community of learners, and
c) Enabling higher-order cognition and learning.
All it boils down to the fact that university teachers consider the adoption of
online discussion as a strategy to engage learners from constructivist perspec-
tives, pointing to the higher order usefulness of the LMS. Constructivism is a
learner-centred and teacher-directed theory that involves shifts between periods
of teacher presentationand periodswhen students engage …” [52] [53].
According to other researchers [54], blackboard adds value to e-learning sys-
tem in terms of saving time, effort and money for both faculty and students.
Furthermore, web 2.0 applications (a popular method of e-collaborative learning
within the blackboard system) have become very popular because of its ability to
promote knowledge and practical skills. Several tools of e-collaborative learning
within the blackboard are wiki, panel discussions and virtual classrooms.
Wiki is an extensive database that allows the exchange of knowledge, leading
to enhanced collaborative learning process [55]. Scholars
[56] refer to Wiki as
contributing to effectiveness of the Blackboard. In Mathematics classes, it allows
collaborative content creation.
Panel discussions, another important feature of Blackboard, is an effective
asynchronous collaborative discussion, where learners can express their opin-
ions about any topic that starts conversation threads, which other course mem-
bers can reply. Especially, it is effective for shy students who can express more
freely when responding to discussions. A research conducted by Alzahrani and
Aljraiwi [43] suggests that panel discussions can be used in simulating discus-
sions taking places in the face-to-face traditional classrooms. Blackboard effec-
tiveness can be enhanced by panel discussions by following usage:
- Using it as a forum for online discussions and interaction among Partici-
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- Using it as a place for interaction and exchange of ideas.
- Using it as a format for asking questions about homework and content of the
academic courses.
- Using it as a discussion-record that can be revisited by participants.
Virtual classroom provides communicative environment in Blackboard that
includes a synchronous chat room for interactive communications where faculty
can give online lectures. It also allows for the recording of lectures in the black-
board system that can be accessed by students who miss the classes. Thus, it
overcomes the obstacles of time and place [43].
Based on the above discussion, it is clear that the effectiveness of any
e-learning management system,
, Blackboard, is reliant on user acceptance,
usage and satisfaction. Learners’ adoption and use is mandatory for effective
Blackboard system. Measuring user acceptance and satisfaction is a basic ele-
ment in managing e-learning initiatives [57].
4. Limitation of Blackboard
A study conducted [58] at the Park University, USA finds that the only specific
problem with the Blackboard software platform is in the writing of mathematical
equations. In order to solve this problem, Blackboard Collaborate offered vari-
ous alternatives. However, it could not solve this problem completely. Faculty
had to resort to innovative ways to express mathematical equations. The objec-
tives of lectures, be it traditional classroom-based or LMS-based, is to provide
the students with some skills. Psychomotor skills are those that require a com-
plex combination of physical movement and psychological process, “such as
learning how to drive a golf ball. These skills are difficult to teach in a Black-
board lesson, as they require an environment with coaching and detailed feed-
back” [58] (p. 2).
A research conducted at the UWS reveals that Blackboard is difficult to use.
The findings of the research also found Blackboard system “time-consuming and
inflexible” [25] (p. 3). Blackboard tools can be expensive. Other scholars [59]
suggest that security and cost are two of the biggest limitations within an LMS.
According to the American Council on Education, “costs associated with higher
educational telecommunications … be $7 billion dollars, a 35 percent increase
from the prior year” [25] (p. 5). Thus, cost has become an issue as educational
institutes have to procure the dedicated software, hardware and pay the sub-
scription license and hire additional staff to maintain the Blackboard. As Nayak
and Suesaowaluk [60] suggest, “… startup costs, including hardware, software,
staffing, and training, can be very expensive” (p. 22-23). Security is also asource
of limitation because the “drawbacks pertain to the quality of learning in an
eLearning environment which is sometimes sacrificed since there is a high secu-
rity risk in the system” (p. 22-23).
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5. Comparative Usability of Blackboard and Moodle
There are almost 200 LMSs [42]. However, this article is going to compare the
two most famous LMSs such as Blackboard and Moodle. Blackboard and
Moodle provide effective virtual learning environment [48] [61]. Currently, the
major contender in this market space is Blackboard that has thousands of de-
ployments over 60 countries and is available in 8 major languages [62]. Concur-
rently, the most popular open source system is Moodle [50] [63]. Hence, the
comparative usability of the two LMSs is discussed here.
Both Black Board and Moodle promote collaboration, critical reflection,
group work, and communication. Literature survey suggests that both LMSs
have the tools to create groups and assign students to each group manually. Both
systems provide the communication tools through which participants can email
to their peers, the whole class, their groups, or only the faculty. Individual and
collective sharing of documents is possible in both the LMSs which kept a his-
tory of the changes. Both systems have a chat area for communication with tools
for moderation. However, another study [32] has suggested that Moodle is as ef-
fective as Black Board. In fact, the researchers conclude that “in almost every
module or function …, Moodle was favored by course participants over Black-
board with the exception of the Discussion Board module …” [64] (p. 77). One
important difference between Blackboard and Moodle is the available course
format/layout. Blackboard has a compartmentalised presentation that is stan-
dard and cannot be changed. In Moodle, there are three different formats:
weekly, topics, or social. Research has shown [64], when the two systems were
compared in terms of course format/layout, it was found that users favoured
Moodle over BlackBoard.
One added advantage in Moodle system is that users can write mathematical
formulas in Tex notation. On the other hand, there are problems associated with
the writing of mathematical Equation in the Blackboard software platform [65],
[66]. Further, Moodle is open source, meaning, it can be customised according
to local needs and it is free of any license cost. On the contrary, Blackboard is
expensive as it has procurement cost and requires payment of the subscription
license [66]. However, it is true that open source software is only for IT experts
and ordinary users find it difficult to install and use; above 66% Moodle users
are teachers, e-learning learning researchers or administrators of educational in-
stitutions [49].
Blackboard has a competitive edge over Moodle, in that it is very intuitive.
Because of its e-collaborative learning tools, learning becomes social and par-
ticipatory Downes [53], e-collaborative learning provides “learners with the op-
portunity of social interaction and participation … for continuous learning
based on technology and modern means of communication” [43]. The effec-
tiveness of e-collaborative learning in promoting knowledge and skills has been
evidenced by several studies. For instance, researches have [61] has emphasised
the effectiveness of e-collaborative learning.
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Another study [67], e-collaborative learning provides a platform for learners
to interact with each other, which requires instructors to motivate learners and
plan well ahead for their academic courses and teaching methods. This direct
interactive participation helps learners build knowledge and new skills and pro-
vides them with the opportunity to voice their inquiries and learn from each
other. Therefore, blackboard promotes constructivist, interactive online learning
environments [14] [15].
6. Conclusions
Global e-learning market is experiencing growth with e-Learning being increas-
ingly used to facilitate talent management. According to Product and Users, the
LMS market is expected to experience a growth of 23.17% between 2017 and
2018 [52].
In conclusion, it appears that Blackboard is a useful LMS that promotes
pedagogical gain and constructivist perspectives. Blackboard provides collabora-
tive and user-friendly environment for teaching-learning in terms of communi-
cation, assessment, and over all information management system. Thus, con-
structivists call for conducive e-learning environments that represent Blackboard
system [68] that has the capacity to improve learning outcome [14]. Knowledge
construction occurs through more interactive experiences as richer media tools
are there in Blackboard environment. It is also evident that higher interactivity
can lead to higher learner engagement that in turn impacts positively on better
learning outcome and pedagogical gain [69]. However, absence of incentives
such as training, financial rewards, positive attitudes and behaviours are factors
that limit the use of e-learning technology [57] [62]. Thus, training is an impor-
tant factor to facilitate maximum utilisation of Blackboard in terms of enhanced
knowledge, skills and attitudes. Training motivates students to engage in an in-
novative way of learning through interaction and collaboration. Also, training
serves to develop and implement technology that improves every aspect of edu-
cational technology.
The article advances that advantages of the Blackboard system are numerous.
It offers access to a diverse means of didactic presentation and provides teachers
with innovative ways of presenting knowledge. Blackboard is also a means for
creation of motivational environments for learning.
Conflicts of Interest
The author declares no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.
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... Many previous studies have explained the importance of implementing the Blackboard with the teaching system. Alokluk (2018) points out that using Blackboard revolutionized the traditional system of the learning/teaching process and resulted in effective education. However, the Blackboard system is one of the early software that provided a virtual learning environment. ...
... The majority of the students reported that Blackboard helps to get course content, helps to do tasks & assignments, and helps to obtain the study material as Word, PDF, PowerPoint, audio, and video files. This result is consistent with Alokluk (2018) and Al-Nofaie (2020), who reported that most of the students are comfortable with things like getting materials, doing searches, and downloading files. However, some students reported problems downloading the course content, and uploading homework and assignments. ...
Full-text available
We are very happy to publish this issue of the International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research. The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research is a peer-reviewed open-access journal committed to publishing high-quality articles in the field of education. Submissions may include full-length articles, case studies and innovative solutions to problems faced by students, educators and directors of educational organisations. To learn more about this journal, please visit the website We are grateful to the editor-in-chief, members of the Editorial Board and the reviewers for accepting only high quality articles in this issue. We seize this opportunity to thank them for their great collaboration. The Editorial Board is composed of renowned people from across the world. Each paper is reviewed by at least two blind reviewers. We will endeavour to ensure the reputation and quality of this journal with this issue.
... Online learning can be of two types: synchronous type, where students are required to join classes at a particular time of the week, and asynchronous type, where students view instructional materials at any time of the week [2]. Blackboard is one of the collaborative virtual learning tools use for higher learning that has been found to be an effective and efficient means of interactions between teachers and students and offers effective educational information management [3]. Additionally, it has been noted to be cost-effective in terms of knowledge reproduction, resulting in an efficient educational management system [3]. ...
... Blackboard is one of the collaborative virtual learning tools use for higher learning that has been found to be an effective and efficient means of interactions between teachers and students and offers effective educational information management [3]. Additionally, it has been noted to be cost-effective in terms of knowledge reproduction, resulting in an efficient educational management system [3]. The current COVID-19 pandemic made the use of virtual learning via Blackboard and others a solution. ...
Full-text available
Blackboard is a collaborative virtual learning tool used for higher learning that has been found to be an effective and efficient means of interactions between teachers and students and offers effective educational information management. The aim of this research work is to assess the preclinical and clinical dental students’ perception of Blackboard Collaborate as a quality teaching and learning tool as well as to find out areas that might appear as barriers to quality teaching and learning. This cross-sectional study was conducted online using survey monkey involving 245 dental students who had participated in the virtual classroom lectures during the pandemic with 18 students not completing the survey. The survey instrument was a nine-item questionnaire that included the age, sex, and year of study of the students as well as previous exposure to online lectures. The data collated was analyzed using IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Statistics for windows version 22. Among 245 respondents that were enrolled in the study, 227 respondents completed the survey, of which 58.1% (n = 132) were male while 41.9% (n = 95) were females. Of the 227 respondents that completed this study, 74.8% (n = 170) of them experienced minimum to moderate technical problems regarding connectivity during the online sessions while 1.8% (n = 4) of the respondents experienced very severe technical problems. The majority of the respondents 54.2% (n = 123) support the continuation of online lectures even after the pandemic. In conclusion, we found a positive perception of our respondents to online lectures using Blackboard Collaborate. Internet connectivity as well as a decline in the comprehension of the lectures as compared to face-to-face learning were found as barriers to online learning.
... Universities and colleges around the world adopted LMS systems, such as Moodle and Blackboard, to provide onsite, hybrid, and online courses based on their capabilities to support communication, content creation, administration, and assessment (Alokluk et al., 2018;Berechet and Georgescu, ) LMS systems build and swiftly distribute individualized learning materials and information in addition to automating and centralizing a variety of administrative processes including setting up and managing student accounts, establishing a syllabus, assignments, assessments, and grading, etc. (Shchedrina et al., 2021). These methods also encourage the reuse of instructional materials. ...
Full-text available
In recent years, there is a lot of interest in modeling students' digital traces in Learning Management System (LMS) to understand students' learning behavior patterns including aspects of meta-cognition and self-regulation, with the ultimate goal to turn those insights into actionable information to support students to improve their learning outcomes. In achieving this goal, however, there are two main issues that need to be addressed given the existing literature. Firstly, most of the current work is course-centered (i.e. models are built from data for a specific course) rather than student-centered; secondly, a vast majority of the models are correlational rather than causal. Those issues make it challenging to identify the most promising actionable factors for intervention at the student level where most of the campus-wide academic support is designed for. In this paper, we explored a student-centric analytical framework for LMS activity data that can provide not only correlational but causal insights mined from observational data. We demonstrated this approach using a dataset of 1651 computing major students at a public university in the US during one semester in the Fall of 2019. This dataset includes students' fine-grained LMS interaction logs and administrative data, e.g. demographics and academic performance. In addition, we expand the repository of LMS behavior indicators to include those that can characterize the time-of-the-day of login (e.g. chronotype). Our analysis showed that student login volume, compared with other login behavior indicators, is both strongly correlated and causally linked to student academic performance, especially among students with low academic performance. We envision that those insights will provide convincing evidence for college student support groups to launch student-centered and targeted interventions that are effective and scalable.
... The expanding use of technology in education is unsurprising, as numerous prior studies have demonstrated and documented numerous benefits of technology use, particularly in the classroom and for student learning. These include reducing instructional time in the classroom (Kaizer et al., 2020); improving communication between teachers and students (Liu et al., 2020); increasing students' classroom participation (Alokluk, 2018;Ghosh et al., 2019); and increasing students' academic achievement (Erdem, 2017;Simes et al., 2022). As a result, educators are urged to incorporate technology into the classroom. ...
Full-text available
Teachers' behavioural intention (BI) to use technology is a crucial aspect of the success of technology use in the classrooms. There have been many models that were developed and extended in different contexts adding different exogenous variables to three initial variables of the Technological Acceptance Model (TAM) (Davis,1989): Perceived usefulness (PU); Perceived ease of use (PEOU), and Facilitating Conditions (FC) to determine teachers' BI to use technology. Not many studies in the past have attempted to investigate the role of Technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) and Facilitating Conditions (FC) in determining teacher's BI to use technology. Further, mediation through PU and PEOU to determine BI remains untested in earlier studies. Thus, this study was conducted to examine factors influencing teachers' BI to use technology by using the extended TAM model (eTAM). For this, using the convenience sample technique, an electronic survey questionnaire consisting of 22 items was distributed across the schools in two western districts of Bhutan. A total of 207 in-service school teachers voluntarily responded to the survey. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to analyse the data; first, to examine whether there is any direct influence of TPACK and FC on BI or not, and then the mediating effects of PU and PEOU from TPACK and FC to BI. The findings revealed that there was no evidence of a direct influence from TPACK and FC on BI though there was a significant effect of TPACK and FC on teachers' BI when mediated through PU and PEOU. This study concludes with theoretical and practical implications concerning the factors influencing teachers' BI to use technology.
... Blackboard (BB) can be used in educational contexts not only as a source of online learning, but also as a tool for communication through emails, announcements, discussion forums, and podcasts (Alokluk, 2018). Furthermore, along with providing asynchronous communication to both students and teachers, Blackboard Chatbox (BBCB) can also serve as a synchronous platform where students and teachers communicate through written messages in real time. ...
Drawing on the sociocultural approach, this study aims to explore EFL learners' perceptions toward collaborative writing, and the role that learners' emotions play as a factor influencing their collaboration and achievements in face to face and Blackboard Chatbox as applied in their EFL classes. A mixed-methods research approach was used with a sample of 58 male students enrolled in writing courses at three levels (Levels 1-3) at the Department of English Language and Translation, Qassim University. Three instruments were used for data collection; a 45-item closed-ended questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, and the learners' overall performance. The findings shown that most learners have positive perceptions toward studying online through Blackboard, and Blackboard Chatbox. Furthermore, Blackboard Chatbox could provide necessary affordances to facilitate learners' emotion, which could enhance their collaborative writing. However, no significant difference was observed between learners' performance in the two models of instruction (Sig. = 0.287). Taken together, the results of the present study enhance current understanding of the role of learners' emotions in collaborative writing with the use of technology.
... We chose this system for our study because it is currently a popular education technology that is used by more than 150 million learners and teachers worldwide [34], [35]. A variety of learning management systems (LMSs) are currently available to meet the demands of students and teachers. ...
... Several students benefited from using this learning system before and during the pandemic. Alokluk (2018) reviewed the effectiveness of the Blackboard system. He concluded that Blackboard promoted pedagogical gains because this system provided a collaborative and user-friendly environment for teachinglearning in terms of communication and assessment. ...
Full-text available
Abstract: To determine the incoming college students’ preparedness for reading before the pandemic, several post-secondary institutions used the Accuplacer test and other multiple measures. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic (CDC Museum COVID-19 Timeline). Due to the limitations of administering the Accuplacer test during the pandemic, Kean University, USA used the Departmental Reading Test. Incoming first-year students who were placed in a Developmental Reading course based on the evaluation of their transcript of records and GPA took this test on the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS). This study investigated the difference between the course placements of students before and after they had taken the Departmental Reading test, the advantages and disadvantages of taking the Departmental Reading Test during the first week of classes and before the start of the term, and the effects of administering the Departmental Reading Test on the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS). Some students qualified to skip Developmental Reading courses in Fall 2020 and Fall 2021 after they had taken this test. There were more advantages of taking this test before the start of classes than during the first week of the term. Taking the test on the Blackboard LMS was very helpful to the test administrators, faculty, and students. Using the Departmental Reading Test in addition to other multiple measures to determine the students’ Developmental Reading course placements was helpful.
... These include announcements shared by faculty members with students, chat functions, discussions, email capabilities, content sharing, a calendar, assignments, a media library, and assessments. However, studies have also identified some issues that may interfere with the ability of students and instructors to collaborate effectively over the Blackboard platform [11], [12]. ...
Full-text available
Learning Management Systems (LMSs) are increasingly utilized for the administration, tracking, and reporting of educational activities. One such widely used LMS in higher education institutions around the world is Blackboard. This is due to its capabilities of aligning items of learning content, student-student and student-teacher interactions, and assessment tasks to specified goals and student learning outcomes. This study aimed to determine how certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on student interactions with Blackboard helped to forecast the learning outcomes of students. A mixed-methods study design was used which included analysis of four deep learning models for predicting student performance. Data were collected from reports on seven general preparation courses. They were analyzed using a documentary analysis approach to establish possible predictive KPIs associated with the electronic Blackboard report. Correlational analyses were performed to examine the extent to which these factors are linearly correlated with the performance indicators of students. Results indicated that a predictive model which combined convolutional neural networks and long short-term memory (CNN-LSTM) was the optimal method among the four models tested. The main conclusion drawn from this finding is that the combined CNN-LSTM approach may lead to interventions that optimize and expand use of the Blackboard LMS in universities.
Full-text available
This study presents two studies. The first part of this study (n=230) involved validation of the E-Learning Acceptance Model (ELAM) proposed by Teo (2010) for its applicability in the context of the study, using Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). This was followed by an investigation of the Bhutanese HEIs students' (n=206) acceptance level of the e-learning system. A total of 436 students from five different colleges under the Royal University of Bhutan participated in this study. While the findings of the first run of CFA revealed that the ELAM model was a bad fit for the present participants, modification indices disclosed that a better fit would be obtained if some items were correlated and removed. In doing this, the present findings supported only 17 of 21 items from the ELAM model. As for the second section of the study, the findings showed that the present participants held an above-average acceptance level of the e-learning system used in the context. This study concludes with theoretical and practical implications of the findings, together with directions for future research.
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic forced higher education institutions around the world to find ways of maintaining education while adhering to public health guidelines. As classes went online, instructors struggled to balance new technology demands with the stress of teaching during an emergency, hereafter referred as emergency remote teaching (ERT). This chapter presents teaching tools and techniques, assessment strategies, emergent technologies, and recommendations that apply to the COVID-19 ERT. Videoconferencing tools promote students’ sense of community when used to foster real-time conversations between students. However, when they are used as a lecturing platform, these tools can increase the digital divide. Using a combination of synchronous and asynchronous tools can provide the best of both worlds, allowing students to effectively communicate with each other with the freedom of accessing course material when time and social demands necessitate alternative learning means. While some instructors struggled with academic integrity and technical issues during exams, others reflected on the pedagogical purpose of student assessments and developed new assignments to better measure learning outcomes. The accelerated application of emergent technologies and practices has minimized the educational disruption through adaptive learning and extended reality. Although these tools are mostly experimental, they will play a key role in the transformative change of postsecondary education. Effective training in online teaching is essential to maintain student engagement and vital assistance and should be disseminated internationally. Digital inequalities need to be addressed by identifying and remedying “digital desserts.” With the growing rate of education disruptions due to climate change, disease, and war, institutions must become proactive in their planning for future emergencies.
Full-text available
This paper discusses the effectiveness of the videoconferencing software Blackboard Collaborate for carrying out instruction at college level to students attending classes synchronously at multiple locations. The paper describes the motivation for this study, a brief literature review on the subject, the methodology used, and the results obtained. The main conclusion of this study is the confirmation that synchronous instruction, in general, and Blackboard Collaborate, in particular, is an effective environment for tuition of students at a distance. Based on this study, several recommendations to be used in synchronous education are provided.
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Constructivism is a major referent in education, although it has been understood in various ways, including as a learning theory; a philosophical stance on human knowledge; and an approach to social enquiry. In terms of informing teaching, constructivism has variously been seen by different commentators as a basis for progressive, mainstream or failed approaches to pedagogy. This is unfortunate, as the different ways the term has been interpreted have confused debate about the potential of constructivism to contribute to planning effective teaching. This chapter sets out the basis of one version of constructivism: that which is informed by findings from both cognitive science, and from educational studies exploring learners' thinking about curriculum topics and about classroom processes. A key concept here is the way in which new learning is contingent on features of the learner, the learning context and the teaching. This version of constructivism (which has been widely embraced) offers a theoretical basis for designing effective pedagogy that is accessible to classroom teachers. The chapter will explain that although constructivism understood this way certainly offers the basis for learner-centred teaching, it is far from 'minimally-guided' instruction, as caricatured by some critics. Rather, a feature of this approach is that it does not adopt doctrinaire allegiance to particular levels of teacher input (as can be the case with teaching through discovery learning, or direct instruction) but rather the level of teacher guidance (a) is determined for particular learning activities by considering the learners and the material to be learnt; (b) shifts across sequences of teaching and learning episodes, and includes potential for highly structured guidance, as well as more exploratory activities. When understood in these terms, constructivism provides a sound theoretical basis for informing teaching at all levels, and in all disciplines.
A Dutch policy scientist once said the information and knowledge in the twenty-first century has the shelf life of fresh fish, and learning in this age often means learning where and how to find something and how to relate it to a specific situation instead of knowing everything one needs to know. On top of this, the world has become so highly interconnected that we have come to realise that every decision that we make can have repercussions somewhere else. To touch as many bases as possible, we need to work with knowledgeable others from different fields (multiple agents) and take heed of their points of view (multiple representations). To do this, we make increasing use of computers and computer-mediated communication. If computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) is not simply a newly discovered hype in education, what is it and why are we writing a book about it? Dissecting the phrase into its constituent parts, we see that first of all CSCL is about learning, and in the twenty-first century this usually means constructivist learning.
Conference Paper
Wikis are one of many Web 2.0 components that can be used to enhance the learning process. A wiki is a web communication and collaboration tool that can be used to engage students in learning with others within a collaborative environment. This paper explains wiki usage, investigates its contribution to various learning paradigms, examines the current literature on wiki use in education, and suggests additional uses in teaching software engineering.
Research on asynchronous online discussions has primarily focused on their efficacy in relation to learning outcomes. Rarely are there investigations on how the design of online learning activities or how discussions could be incorporated into student learning experience. We contend that successful online activities need careful and meticulous design. We are particularly interested in how the design of 'rules' or protocols for group interactions contributes to the quality of student learning experience. This article reports a three-year study on designing and refining such rules for online discussions. Specifically, we studied how rules support or inhibit online discussions. Reported in the article are the processes and rationales for each refinement of the rules based on real interactions. We argue that existing learning management systems still fall short in supporting various learning activities afforded by these rules. Therefore, various tools are proposed based on our findings. These tools should be integrated into existing learning management systems such as Blackboard or Moodle.
Online learning is rapidly becoming a permanent feature of higher education. In a preponderance of instances, online learning is designed using conventional educational practices: lecture, grades, group discussion, and the like. Concerns with traditional pedagogy instantiated by course management systems raise questions about the quality of learner’s online experiences. There is a need to reconsider the design of learning opportunities in light of emerging online delivery modes. This study compared learner perceptions of two online courses—one using the more traditional approach capitalizing on the affordances of Blackboard and one using the COPLS one-on-one model (Norton, 2003). Results revealed that both environments were perceived as providing a high quality learning experience. In addition, results point to the importance of self-regulation, the role of the instructor/facilitator/mentor, and the role of the group as factors influencing learners’ perception of the quality of their learning experience, positive aspects of their learning experience, and challenges that influenced their learning experience.