Overview of Blackboard LMS

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are online softwares that allow an organization to house information for users. “The role of a Learning Management System varies depending on the organization’s objectives, online training strategy, and desired outcomes (Pappas, 2017, para. 2). LMS allows for organizations to store and track information. A couple of LMS include Blackboard, Canvas, Google Classroom, and Moodle. Each bring different platforms and engagement experiences for the user.

Blackboard is an LMS that can be used in higher education, K-12, government and business organizations. A free version of Blackboard is Blackboard Coursesites and a paid version is Blackboard Learn. Blackboard is a virtual learning environment that is web-based. Some of communication benefits of Blackboard include announcements, chat functions, discussion board, and email. The content that can be shared through Blackboard includes course content such as articles and assignments, calendar feature, learning modules, assessments, grade book, and a media library.

Blackboard can be accessed through the web on a desktop, laptop and mobile devices. Blackboard is also an app available for iOS and Android users to download. By having access to content, community, and learning experiences virtually, Blackboard allows a platform where education can be attainable at any age, location, or time of day unlike traditional face-to-face education which requires a specific time and location.

Through discussion forums, learners can engage with one another through responses to critical questions, start discussion threads and share thoughts, links to informative articles, and provide feedback on assignments. Blackboard also allows for groups to be setup within the course and those groups can have their own discussion boards. This is a great feature for group assignments without having to use an outside platform such as emails or text messages. When using external communication platforms, the instructor is not privy to the discussion. In some instances, students in a group experience difficulties or need guidance and using the discussion forum allows for the instructor to see what is communicated within the group without needing to be cc’d later.

Blackboard allows for customization to the left navigation so that each instructor can label and identify the specific course content as they see is appropriate. For example, some instructors have a syllabus link, start here, announcements, discussion forum, and then weekly module breakdowns. Other instructors have links for chapters, blogs, course schedule, and WebEx access. The flexibility in the left navigation makes the course accessible according to learner priorities.

Examples of Blackboard Left Navigation Menus


Pappas, C. (2017, December 3). What is a learning management system? LMS basic functions and features you must know (2019 update). eLearning Industry. https://elearningindustry.com/what-is-an-lms-learning-management-system-basic-functions-features

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