Saturday, March 3, 2007

Blackboard nails student engagement

From Blackboard's press release this week announcing Blackboard Outcomes:
The platform is organised around the stages of assessment, ‘Plan,’ ‘Measure,’ and ‘Improve;’ with specific tools to help users meet the challenges in each stage. Tools enable building rubrics; documenting curriculum maps; managing standards; collecting and evaluating artifacts of student learning; surveying attitudes and interests, running online course evaluations; managing departmental improvement projects; analytic and operational reporting, and other key activities. Such a diverse set of tools in one system dramatically simplifies the work for faculty and administrators trying to improve learning at their institutions.
Mmmmmmm, doesn't that sound inviting? If I was a student I don't think I could wait to get started. Oh wait, my bad, now that I read it I see this doesn't have a darn thing to do with the student. How silly of me.

I'm reminded of a quote from Henry Jenkin's talk at Beyond Broadcasting last weekend:
We're poking the eyes out of our kids... it's a mass de-skilling..." (via Doc Searls )
Can we please interject some sanity into what we're doing and start focusing on creating a high quality learning environment? These "tools" to ease the "teaching" experience are a nightmare.

1 comment:

Adam Fletcher said...

I do not want to sound defensive for Blackboard; however, I do want to acknowledge what seems to be their intention. While the technology they've compounded sounds heavy, I would rather students learn how to use the new technology available to enhance their learning instead of allowing the latest Wii controller to consume their technological interests. The simple fact of the matter is that students today absorb technology in a way that my generation (X) and previous generations were not able to. I think that what Blackboard is trying to do is embrace that - and I believe we should support any attempt to make learning more relevant to students. In that way Blackboard has created an interesting student engagement tool.