Interesting insights Jen. I use Blackboard just like Donna. It is what we are
given at many universities. We usually have very little choice in the matter
and sadly this is the case with most K-12 schools. I support your ideas about
using web based clients. There are many out there, like TappedIn that are
free. I did investigate Moodle, but I decided I didn't want to go there
because it was just too technical for me. I figure most art teachers would not
want to go there either.
I have been frustrated with the lack of innovation in Blackboard. Also, they
are not very Mac sympathetic. If you use a MAC, for example like I do, you
have to put in your own HTML to format basic text. Also, you have to go into
the HTML code and strip out the "offending" body tags to get it to work
properly. I have had to learn all of this by trial and error.
Blackboard is actually a "course management" program. I emphasis management
because that is what it really does. In order to use Blackboard as a
constructivist student centered learning environment, you have to do all kinds
of pretzel twisting, to move to that type of paradigm. It isn't intuitive with
Blackboard. Well since it bought out WEB CT I suspect they will have their hands
full trying to satisfy this audience which is used to more sophisticated
functions. It will be interesting to see what happens as they take over WEB CT
I tried Angel briefly while teaching part time at a junior college. It was
simple and elegant. I liked it because it was so very easy! Blackboard is an
example of a system that has found convoluted ways to do things...Nevertheless,
I do like the fact that anyone can purchase a license to Blackboard and put up
their own shingle so to speak. One of these days....I will probably introduce
workshops online through my own web site. Right now that is just a dream.
I've got my head down teaching art education classes right now.
Good dialogue Jen...thanks for sharing.
Quoting Jen Ellis <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
> Agreed Diane,
> Vickie, I think if you are trying to cut costs in the beginning you
> need to make sure you consider web-based products, not software based
> products. Web based just require you to create an account online, all
> information can be accessed through any computer that has internet
> access. There doesn't need to be a server, or tech support as the
> system is all hosted on the web. All you need to do is either login
> (if you would like something password protected) or type a url in the
> address box.
> Two basic forms of communication should be considered. The live chat,
> and the forum based chat. All can be found free or cheaply by doing a
> search on the net. I use Campfire Business Chat for a freelance group
> right now if you are interested: http://www.campfirenow.com/ >
> Forum chats can be created by Yahoo, blogs, lots of different sources.
> Price will raise if you want your site password protected and ad free.
> The best option would be Diane's, trying to get everything hosted on
> your own site. It's possible. If you want more advanced options like
> online grading and evaluations ask around, I am sure a couple of young
> programmers could help you on the cheap. All they would have to do is
> get everything to save in a database table and then export to a web
> format. It may sound foreign, but trust me it is VERY simple.
> As for Blackboard, to be completely honest, that company is overrated.
> (no offense to you Donna, many schools use this, I have for many years
> at other institutions) But for crying out loud they just declared
> themselves the creators of online education and are trying to put a
> patent on their techniques! (big lie)
> "After purchasing and killing Prometheus in 2002 and WebCT last year
> (and many other companies, though not strictly speaking CMS/LMS
> companies), Blackboard seems to have a long-term strategy of not
> developing good or original technology but buying competitors and, now
> it is clear, trying to keep others out of the field by getting an
> absurdly broad patent for common uses of technology if that technology
> is employed in the context of education. Not only do we need to worry
> about the future of open source initiatives such as Moodle and Sakai,
> but we also need to worry about using a blog or wiki with a class of
> students. In fact, simple networking protocols, authentication
> practices, and the like, if undertaken by a school could well be
> jeopardized by this patent."
> I have to say in this instance "Don't feed the beast!" (please?)
> Jen Ellis
> Continuing Medical Education
> Cleveland Clinic, Ohio
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