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Blackboard Learn 9.1

By Charles G. Doe - Posted Jan 1, 2012
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Company: Blackboard, Inc., 650 Massachusetts Ave. NW, 6th Fl., Washington, DC 20001-3796, (202) 463-4860,

Price: Contact Blackboard for annual licensing options that are based on the size of school communities.

Audience: Blackboard says this is for K–12 students and teachers, but taking full advantage of its many features would be best with students who can read and have had some experience with technology, perhaps third grade and up.

Format: Blackboard Learn 9.1 is a multimedia, web-based service that has components on servers and individual desktops.

System Requirements: Since this is primarily a web-based service, the main requirements are a fast internet connection and a browser.

Description: Blackboard Learn 9.1 is intended to be a complete learning management system for course delivery. The Content Management, Course Delivery, and Community Engagement modules make up the Blackboard Learn platform. Blackboard Drive, the newest feature of the Content Management module, allows educators to save time by editing and managing Blackboard Learn content straight from the desktop.

Overall Rating:4 Stars
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: Installation is a matter of an institution subscribing to the service; being sure desktops, servers, web access, etc., are available; proceeding to develop and deliver courses; and setting up online learning communities. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Blackboard Learn 9.1 is an excellent learning management system that enables complete course delivery, using and managing those courses, setting up user communities, guiding and grading student work, and much more. That is done by setting up online learning environments which parallel real-world organizational structures of institutions, systems, consortiums or districts, and the different parts of those.

Online learning environments feature highly accessible, user-centric learning platforms that are engaging and intuitive for all users, in and out of the classroom. Instructors and learners can easily integrate visually engaging learning content using Web 2.0 resources from YouTube, SlideShare, Flickr, and others.

Assessment and feedback are streamlined as well with real-time feedback, visual indicators, and more. Students can track and monitor their own progress and are kept engaged and motivated by learning from each other with social learning tools that can be used 24 hours a day. Open technology further facilitates this process by allowing educators and students to continue to use external tools.

Interactive Rubrics are a feature of Blackboard Learn 9.1, enabling educators to efficiently and consistently evaluate and provide feedback to students. Rubrics help manage essay responses, open-ended answers, or collaborative submissions to a wiki or blog assignment.

McGraw-Hill and Blackboard have partnered to deliver content and tools directly inside this learning management system, providing easy access to a wealth of McGraw-Hill content and tools. Online assessments such as tests, quizzes, surveys, and polls can be built, taken, graded, and reported online. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: As with many complicated, multifaceted programs, taking full advantage of Blackboard Learn has a fairly high learning curve. However, interfaces are intuitive, documentation is clear, and lots of help is available. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Support is extensive, including an online service called Behind the Blackboard. The company also offers training services featuring flexible staff training options, consulting services, and managed-hosting services. Blackboard also provides support for administrators, teachers, students, and developers, as well as a place for schools to provide customized support to their users. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: Blackboard Learn 9.1 shows the usual marks of Blackboard’s quality programs. It is extensive, enabling schools and colleges to take better advantage of current technologies in many ways. Recommended.

Reviewer: Charles Doe ( is a 39-year teacher, including 10 years as elementary media specialist in Hastings Area Schools in Hastings, Mich. For the past 12 years, he has written articles and reviews for Internet@Schools.


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