By Marcos Rubio
Amarillo College’s Blackboard learning management system has started spring semester with a new look. Even more changes are expected soon.
Blackboard is the software that students use to access their classes and work on assignments. Instructors use Blackboard to deliver course material, interact with their students and post grades. This semester, AC has rolled out an updated and remodeled version of Blackboard.
“We made the first switch to Blackboard Ultra at the beginning of January 2022 starting with the Ultra Base Navigation,” Ariana Tiroff, the Blackboard support and services manager, said. “The layout has changed, the way content is displayed.” More changes are still in the works and Tiroff said the system should be fully updated by spring of 2023.
Currently, the upgrade is not finished, which does pose some issues, according to Tiroff. “With this new transition, especially since we lack the other half of the transition of Ultra course view, Blackboard currently has serval limitations and is limited to customization on the base navigation,” she said.
Despite the challenges of the transition, AC officials say the changes are an improvement. “This version of Blackboard has become more intuitive and it has become easier to navigate,” Dr. Lori Petty, the director of center for teaching and learning, said.
Petty has been working at AC for four and a half years and is responsible for overseeing Blackboard operations. “Blackboard Ultra is much more responsive on mobile phones, tablets and laptops. That’s one of the reasons why we made the change because it becomes much more accessible for students. It’s much more mobile responsive,” she said.
Petty said that students appear to be pleased with the changes. “This is my first semester in college and so far I haven’t had any issues with my Blackboard. I like the layout. It is easy to find what I am looking for,” Jacob Hunt, a general studies major, said.