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Students shouldn’t suffer for Blackboard’s faulty technology


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Illustration by Liz Coffee

Illustration by Liz Coffee

Now that Blackboard Collaborate has been rendered completely dysfunctional, professors and distance students are bending over backwards to complete course requirements.

Getting dropped from video feeds, poor audio quality, and empty lecture archives have made Blackboard Collaborate more of a sinking ship than a well-oiled machine. Technology in the classroom is great when it serves students and professors; but in this case, it’s just crippling.

Blackboard Collaborate needs to iron out its kinks now before more students are barred from the education that they’ve paid for. And if that doesn’t sound feasible, then Chico State needs to reevaluate how they plan on offering online courses to distance students.
If a student chooses to skip a class and flush away their tuition’s worth, that’s their choice. But Chico State students don’t have to worry about getting involuntarily shut out of Butte Hall, missing a whole day’s lecture.

The comparison seems extreme, but that is basically what happens for online students anytime a live feed cuts out, audio is lost or archives are wiped. They’ve been robbed of a whole day’s worth of lecture and discussion.

Furthermore, Blackboard Collaborate’s ineptitude isn’t only crippling distance students. Students and professors on campus have complained about how frustrating it can be to try and compensate for faulty technology.

The whole point of attending class in person is professor-to-student interaction. Students shouldn’t have to stand up and address their questions to the ceiling just so a hanging microphone can pick up their voice.

It’s easy to dismiss Blackboard Collaborate’s malfunctions as a product of the program’s infancy. New technology, new hiccups: it’s all par for the course.

But a student said in the interview (see A1) that their online class experience last year was great, and that this year is a nightmare.

A rolling Blackboard blackout that cripples an entire nation of online students doesn’t seem like a routine hiccup.

Blackboard Collaborate is likely scrambling to fix whatever has their systems floating belly-up; but in the mean time, Chico State needs to consider their distance students’ education.

If Blackboard Collaborate’s shoddy software continues to come between students and their education, Chico State should drop the system altogether and find a new way to provide online education.

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Students shouldn’t suffer for Blackboard’s faulty technology