Blackboard technology problems being addressed

September 23, 2011 | UToday
By Meghan Cunningham

The University of Toledo and higher education institutions across the country are experiencing problems with the Blackboard assessment tool for online quizzes and exams.

Students and faculty members are reporting long delays when saving answers and moving between questions and in some cases the quiz freezes and makes it impossible for students to progress further, said Dr. Ben Pryor, vice provost and dean of the College of Innovative Learning.

“It is important that all faculty and students understand that this problem is not local and is not due to idiosyncrasies in our implementation of Blackboard,” Pryor wrote in a letter to UT faculty and students. “Institutions across the country are reporting the same problems, and online communities for Blackboard administrators are alive with discussions of this issue.”

Pryor said UT Academic Support is working with Blackboard to address the issue, and he wrote directly to the CEO of Blackboard to express the University’s displeasure with the learning management system’s software.

The problem appears to have been caused after the installation of the latest service pack, which was needed to repair issues with the testing tool but caused problems of its own, Pryor said.

Until the issue with the technology is solved, Pryor is asking faculty members of distance learning classes to postpone quizzes if possible or to consider allowing more time for timed quizzes. He also asked people to be respectful to the UT Help Desk, as the University is not responsible for the flaws and the staff is working diligently to help students and faculty understand the situation.

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