75 things to do inside the CMS teaching box (supposedly)

There’s be a couple of posts on the mailing list tech-rhet today with the subject line “75 reasons for using Bb,” which is Blackboard, one of the larger course management system set-ups out there. The critiques on tech-rhet with these things have been (basically) a) Bb doesn’t do all of this stuff that easily, b) this isn’t a list of reasons “why” so much as it is a list of capabilities, and c) you could do most (if not all) of these things with other tools, either competing products or “free standing” content management systems and/or good ol’ fashioned web sites, email, and the like. I’d write more about this, but since I am in the midst of grading things tonight, I’ll just let this list stand for itself:


The following list was compiled from responses made to the larger national Bb listserv.

75 Reasons to Use Blackboard


1. To put unlimited additional resources in the hands of students
2. To post course syllabus for easy access
3. To add content and learning objects
4. To link to library resources and databases
5. To post daily news, quotes, words, trivia, etc.
6. To publish classroom notes or study guides
7. To provide supplementary reading material
8. To create a virtual art gallery
9. To post movie clips
10. To post audio lectures
11. To provide links to useful websites
12. To allow students to read or listen to material repeatedly for understanding
13. To provide students who must miss class with easy access to materials
14. To include a glossary of course terminology


15. To enhance student-to-student communication
16. To enhance faculty-to-student contact
17. To distribute email messages to students
18. To encourage out of class discussion via discussion boards or chat rooms
19. To provide online homework help (virtual office hours)
20. To encourage collaborative learning
21. To connect students with community leaders and outside experts
22. To get 100% participation in class discussions
23. To reach “shy� students and allow them to express their thoughts
24. To provide opportunities for learning communities
25. To share community events
26. To set up groups for classes (large or small)
27. To send specific emails to a subset (group) of students
28. To facilitate group projects by allowing students to discuss particular topics or exchange certain files
29. To remind students of important deadlines
30. To share student ideas and projects
31. To develop a mentoring system
32. To collect student quotes
33. To help students find study partners
34. To assist in creating connections and inclusion
35. To communicate expectations and objectives
36. To provide advance organization for in-class discussion


37. To allow students to monitor their own progress
38. To post assignments and allow students to submit work digitally
39. To assess student progress with just-in-time methods
40. To record, display, calculate, and analyze student scores
41. To publish student writing
42. To conduct student surveys for quick feedback
43. To provide self-help or self-improvement quizzes
44. To create drill and practice exercises
45. To post extra credit work
46. To post answers
47. To give students immediate feedback on quizzes and assignments
48. To keep students apprised of “how they are doing�
49. To facilitate test review
50. To measure student access to course materials and tools
51. To develop formative and summative assessments
52. To provide interactive activities
53. To gauge student understanding and interests
54. To eliminate time consuming exam grading
55. To encourage reflective thinking
56. To organize student papers electronically
57. To promote peer editing for review and suggestions
58. To gather suggestions from students for course improvements


59. To time control access to information by students
60. To copy things from one place to another (within the same course or between courses)
61. To provide continuous access to a student roster
62. To reduce printing and copying costs
63. To provide more time for classroom instruction and activities
64. To encourage students to read their textbook
65. To help students come to class prepared
66. To put an end to the “lost papers� excuse
67. To engage students with different learning styles
68. To provide consistency in course structure
69. To improve retention of course material
70. To engage students outside of class
71. To allow students to review lecture before or after class
72. To meet student expectations
73. To integrate technology into curriculum
74. To provide 24×7 access to course materials—anytime, anywhere
75. To make teaching and learning fun!

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