Thursday, February 10, 2011

A break from your regularly scheduled programming

Blackboard is SO SLOW. It's crashing. When it's not crashing, it takes like 30 seconds to load each student's submission page - an eternity when you have a lot of student and a lot of assignments (that's how we do right now, so don't worry about the pedagogy). Students e-mailing when they can't submit assignments because the site's down - don't worry, ought implies can. Your paper's not late!

Any worthwhile free blackboard replacements out there?

-- Second Suitor


Anonymous said...

Moodle is free, open source, fast, easily customized, and reliable. Highly recommended.

Anonymous said...

I set up my own substitute using Drupal, a free, open-source content management system. One of my students wrote on their course evaluation: "Dr. [McX's] class website is exponentially better than blackboard vista."

It takes some tech savvy to set it up, but once it's up, it's easy to manage. You'll probably need to install a few of the optional modules. The Organic Groups module is essential to manage multiple classes. The Whisper module is useful for having students turn in papers online. The Five Star and Five Star Comment modules are useful for providing feedback on assignments turned in online.

Two competitors, about which I know very little, are Joomla and Moodle. Moodle is aimed specifically at educational uses.

Anonymous said...

One of the institutions at which I teach recently switched from Blackboard to Moodle. I think Moodle's a little more user-friendly, and I didn't encounter any of the problems I've experienced in the past with Blackboard.

Xenophon said...

I've been told that paper works well.

Anonymous said...

You probably don't have the power to switch whole-hog -- at most schools, Blackboard is endorsed at an institutional level and built into the registrars office and the like.

But try updating your browser. I had many of the same problems, until I got the newest version of Internet Explorer (another thing built into the school's body -- no firefox for us)