Blackboard 7.3 Pilot Faculty Endorse Upgrade
90 percent of faculty who participated in pilot recommend move to version 7.3
October 20, 2008
By Sean O'Malley
In a Spring 2008 survey of Blackboard 7.3 pilot participants, faculty and students expressed support for upgrading the university’s version of Blackboard. New capabilities and improved ease of use were the main reasons cited.
When asked if the university should upgrade to version 7.3, 90 percent of pilot faculty answered “Yes.” Wikis received top billing as the most useful tool, with discussion boards and blogging capabilities coming in second and third, respectively. Discussion boards already are available in Blackboard 6.3, though with fewer capabilities. Wikis and blogs both are new additions to version 7.3. Wikis allow collective editing of documents, while blogs facilitate posting and commenting on student work.
Free response questions in the survey included many comments urging the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to move forward with the upgrade. “How soon can we get this done?” asked one faculty respondent. Students who participated in the pilot also had praise for the new version. “Much better than regular Blackboard,” wrote one student. “A good improvement to the older version, more usable,” noted another.
Blackboard 7.3 will be available to all interested faculty starting in Winter 2009. Full conversion to the new version is planned for Summer 2009. Faculty interested in learning more about the new features in Blackboard 7.3 can attend OIT's "Engaging Students with Technology" in the Faculty Commons on November 5 and 6, 2008.