Critical Analysis on Blackboard’s Visual & Functionality & Survey Results
Within my proposal I have stated that Blackboard, an educational web portal and learning management system is a definitive inspiration for Student Connected and what it aims to achieve. Student Connected is built to work alongside Blackboard as an addon service that will enhance the average university students experience – this next section will delve into the service and why it has prompted Student Connected’s creation.
Used by tutors and students, Blackboard is one of the UK’s largest services for hosting educational material and is used daily by millions up and down the country, however Blackboard’s functionality is one of the main issues found with both tutors and students alike. This knowledge was gained through a survey recently taken at the university of Lincoln and by students attending other college’s of arts such as Cardiff University. The site’s visual and functionality problems tend to be one and the same, with layouts and organisation systems in place across that site that jeopardize the entire learning management system for their students.
Modules are spread so thin within multiple folders, sections and files which makes it incredibly easy to get lost and miss crucial information. Throughout multiple responses that I received it was clearly noted that most of the issues stemmed from the structure of the website and how Blackboard visually gets this information across to the user. This is something that I’ve had to deal with countless times and have found myself opening 6 or 7 different folders within a single tab when the document I am looking for is in a completely different tab within another 4 or 5 folders. I aim to work around this issue within Student Connected as its a concept that if solved would immediately solve a lot of issues found within Blackboard.
As each year passes more modules get added onto Blackboard, these modules appear frequently with similar names making it difficult to distinguish between a first year Digital Media module & a second year Digital Media module.
Submitting essay’s and files to Blackboard can be incredibly difficult for students at times, primarily due to the layout of the webpage and the many links that need to be clicked before reaching the submission page. Having a system that can act in this way is reckless and doesn’t offer the best service for students – especially on deadline day where any submission even if a mistake is registered and counted. This will be taken into consideration when designing interface that students and tutors will be interacting with.
I personally find that Blackboard is a service that has the possibility to be incredibly useful and informative to both students and a platform for tutors to distribute content – it is minor errors like these that cause major discomfort within the platform for users. Student Connected will once again take all of these issues into consideration & will build upon them to help create a system that will support Blackboard and hopefully increase the usability of both platforms. Blackboard tends to be too rigid, corporate and uninteresting, it doesn’t give any incentive to sit down and do work or be creative. These are the issues faced daily on a desktop system which allows more control and screen space, blackboard’s app amplifies these problems and is usually disregarded by students soon after installing.
I have found that there are too many problems that I have studied within the survey monkey report & what I’ve personally noticed – all future improvements will be created for the Student Connected app and then justified in the R&D & presentation file.
Two clear examples showcasing the multiple tabs issue which was mentioned in the SurveyMonkey responses.