Debating the benefits of Blackboard

By DUSTIN CLARK, Ranger Reporter:

From viewing assignments and sending emails, to entering and checking grades, everyone at Amarillo College uses Blackboard. With so many users, it’s not surprising that such an intricate system can have some mixed reactions.

Blackboard has a tendency to start malfunctioning during times when users are constantly accessing it, such as the beginning of the semester. “Day one Blackboard tends to run slow, and on final exam week it tends to run slow or crash,” said Brian Farmer, professor of social sciences.

Some students have also noticed some lag time. “There have been a few times where Blackboard starts to chug a little bit, but it hasn’t been as bad so far this semester as it has been in the past,” said Steven Potts, a business administration major.

Arsalan Mehrabkhani, a biology major, disagreed. “I think it’s been running fine,” he said, “like all the other websites I check out.”

New students said they are adjusting to the system. “I like it. It’s hard to get used to at first, but after getting to play with it, and trying to figure out what tabs go where, it really does get a little bit easier,” said Marina Chico, a biology major.

Mehrabkhani said his favorite feature is being able to access the website easily on his phone. “It’s been awesome.  If you know the URL you can always get into it,” Mehrabkhani said.

Chico said her favorite aspect of Blackboard is the Courses tab because it helps her stay up to date with what’s happening in her classes. “Through that I was able to find what announcements my professors had and what assignments are needed,” she said.

Potts said that he enjoys the ease of things like viewing grades, but vented his frustration about trying to work the email system on Blackboard. “It’s not the best system, but it’s far from the worst,” he said.

Farmer, however, is not a fan of the system. “Ever since we went to Blackboard, it has actually changed how I do things,” Farmer said, explaining the he can no longer do things like drop exams and plans to switch to a point based grade system.

Farmer added that the older systems had their own kinks to work out.  “What it amounts to is, if it weren’t Blackboard, it’d be something else.”

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