# Christ, I hate Blackboard

January 24, 2014 | davenoon

Hundreds of years from now, after disease and fire and famine have thinned the human herd to a shrunken patchwork of sagging, skeletal bands of jagged, half-mad wraiths — when the parched soil chokes forth desiccated roots and the air is a toxic brume slumping down on the arched, knotted backs of the still-barely-living — a remote spur of humanity will somehow recover the capacity to speak, an ability long since abandoned by their ancestors, who were mute-struck with the unfathomable despair of those cursed to watch everything they love die. After generations of dry-throated croaking and lung-starched wheezing, their tongues swollen with thirst and punctured with abscesses that never heal, these distant people will bring forth a new language to survey the boundaries of their pain.

At first, their speech will flow together in single, blasphemous strands of adjectival protest; they will speak without subjects, no proper names or pronouns to jolt them into the kind of self-recognition that could only serve as a spur to mass, urgent suicide. In time, their words will be hacked into tinier fragments of salivated fury, as their lips and tongues and few-remaining-teeth jostle ruthlessly to disgorge themselves into the foul space that separates one antagonist from another. With arm-sized splinters of trees that were fortunate enough to perish centuries before, they will jab massive holes into their upper palates to accommodate the new sounds needed to register their misfortune and threaten each other with gross physical harm. Inbred mutants with hideous nasocranial deformities will gain selective advantage in the linguistic struggle for existence. They will use this new language to enslave one another, to plot out gristly sprees that might be called murder if there were anything near to law restraining them, like a weak sphincter, from unleashing their worst. There will be decades of forced labor, violent spasms of resistance and recrimination carried out with grossly disproportionate injury to bystanders who are, alas, never as innocent as they seem.

On the outskirts of this new language, lurking on its crimsoned frontier, will lie words that will themselves have been cast into exile – foul offgassings within a lexicon that itself stands as a towering monument to the boundlessly obscene, words that will curve backward and devour themselves, each one an afflicted universe in the process of total collapse, words that exist for microseconds before streaking, unremembered and unmourned, into the void.

These are the words, if I could shit them into being, that I would use to catalogue the depth of my loathing for Blackboard. When I die, I want my whiskey-pickled body larded into a cryonic chamber, then buried deep in the earth. A thousand years from now, I want these loping, crookspined human gargoyles to dig me up and reanimate me. I will learn their language; I will amble to the profane horizon of their blood-gorged vernacular; I will force them at spear-point to build me a time machine; then I will murder them all with my bare hands. I will return to all of you then to bear witness, in a rapturous tornado of filth, to my contempt for that unholy system of course mismanagement software.

1. catastrophus says:

We are Blackborg. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

• iTunes U says:
• ferongr says:

I’ve had my fill of dysfunctional uni systems in my neck of the woods but I’d honestly prefer them to a proprietary application that can be more dysfunctional at times and that locks students into a specific hardware vendor.

• não quero spam says:

blackboard is also a proprietary application. also, itunes can be used on non-mac hardware.
of course, your microsoft paycheck is arriving as we speak…

• ferongr says:

Blackboard is (to my understanding) a web-based application. That means I can use it on my Android phone, GNU/Linux laptop or FreeBSD-based lab terminal.

And that remark about paychecks was really unwarranted.

• Anonymous says:

you have no clue what you are talking about.

i had to install sun jre on my wifes debian box so she could access the class content.

blackboard crap required a specific version of sun jre, that was already deemed insecure by the entire world… to play a wav file.

fuck that.

• volker says:

…and the problems continue: When you wish to use collaborate, you are required to download a java applet onto your computer – as a participent (!). If you are not a tech savvy IT-geek, you’ll never make it to the webinar, as troubles with Java versions will firewall you from getting there in time.

• Calming Influence says:

I pretty sure the Blackborg say “Resistance is fruitless!”

• kzsh says:

Some pretty thick, evocative writing, and yet no where a reason not to use it.

2. Nancy Reagan says:

I am not, shall we say, a huge fan of Blackboard. I’ve also found that it is incredibly unstable on I.E., which makes it all the more frustrating that our IT folks will only install I.E. on the machines in student computer labs…only that worthless piece of shit, which makes BB even worse than it is.

• MAJeff says:

How the fuck does my computer keep defaulting to that nym?

Shit, zombie Ronnie’s eating the cat food again.

• Vance Maverick says:

The Lovecraftian deep purple of Dave’s protest spooked me enough, but now you and Nancy have frozen my spine solid.

• Gwen says:

There are ghosts in the Interwebs.

• Gwen says:

Oh god, Internet Explorer.

What a colossal eff-dash-dash-dash-up that is.

And they’re probably still on IE 7. The sole redeeming quality of IE 7 is that it’s not nearly as bad as IE6.

(Likewise, IE8 is redeemable by virtue of it not being as bad as 7… somewhere around IE9 I stopped hating Microsoft, but we’re still frenemies).

• Ronan says:

Im looking forward to IE28 though. could be okay

• Gwen says:

I think in the early days, up through IE6, Microsoft burned a lot of bridges in the (not-the-CIO/CTO) tech community. They tried to do things the Microsoft Way (co-opt some standards, make new proprietary ones, force everyone to pay them money for the privilege of it) and the result is that every time they released, they broke the Internet. People really, really hate when that happens.

Then in the “middle period,” Microsoft kinda tried to balance between being an evil corporation, and serving its customers. People started switching to Firefox, Opera and Chrome, and Microsoft saw that. Each release seemed primarily aimed at fixing the mistakes of the past release. This is particularly evident in 7 and 8. Practically everyone of these editions might as well be called the “I’m so sorry” release of IE.

Microsoft has since gotten religion regarding standard compliance, and the JavaScript engine doesn’t seem as terrible as it used to be. As I said, I don’t hate 9, 10 or 11. I still use Chrome mostly. But I no longer look down on IE users as much as I used to.

• RTR says:

I don’t like using IE either, but it is basically stable and very similar to the other major browsers now.

And to the credit of the old versions of IE, don’t forget that back in the 90′s Netscape tried to start charging $50 a year to use their browser, and Microsoft’s release of its “almost as good” free alternative squelched this money grab. For about six months there, only IE was both free and worked decently. • Alan Viscnji says: IE9 is as shit as IE8 is as shit as IE7. IE10 is the first one to look promising. • Croggled says: Netscape asking to get paid for their work was a “money grab”? So…. Netscape charging$50 for their browser -> “money grab”. Microsoft charging \$499.99 for “Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate” (which includes Internet Explorer as a bundled component) -> not a “money grab”.

• N__B says:

I believe you mean “Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Pro Gold.”

• Matt McIrvin says:

There was a strange thing that happened around 2000: Microsoft had a separate unit that made a completely different version of Internet Explorer for the Macintosh, which had nothing to do with the Windows version, and for the time, it was actually really good!

IE6/Mac was probably the most standards-compliant browser that existed at that time for any platform. It actually had OK CSS support, thanks to Tantek Celik’s efforts on the layout engine. It blew the doors off IE6/Windows. For a while Apple actually shipped it with the OS as the default browser.

And then Microsoft just stopped really actively developing it. The Mac went to OS X, and the OS X version of IE6 was just a clumsy port of the Classic Mac OS version. Then Steve Jobs got annoyed enough that Apple developed Safari and dumped IE. But I think the episode may have been a harbinger of later improvements in IE on Windows.

• DrDick says:

I always immediately download Firefox and delete IE when the university gives me a new computer.

• MAJeff says:

I had to fill out a work request to get someone from IT to install Firefox on my office machine (and Dropbox, etc) because our IT folks have everything locked down. I can’t even update java or flash without writing out a ticket order.

• Murc says:

I can’t even update java or flash without writing out a ticket order.

We do that because we have to. Letting office workers run wild and free fucks things up immensely. Yeah, sure, you know what you’re doing. Most people don’t, and it’s very wearying to have to wipe and re-image a box because someone can’t stop playing every damn flash game their wife links them on Facebook.

• Hogan says:

I’m under the same restrictions. It’s annoying, but I totally get it.

• BigHank53 says:

A lot of our computers (including mine) have hooks into a database with lots and lots of human research data on it. I’m glad the machine is locked down; if things get hacked it won’t be my fault.

I am thinking about snagging a surplus laptop and putting Ubuntu on it so I don’t have to tug on a coat sleeve whenever I need to change an IP address.

• Calming Influence says:

You have to come up with a “research project” that requires you to add, review, and delete small, obscure and totally innocuous software programs, on the order of 10 or 15 times in a week. By day 3 your IT person will relinquish to you total control of your computer.

• mojrim says:

Brilliant!

• Anonymous says:

So true.

• Anonymous tipster says:

You know that you don’t need admin permission to install Firefox right? You won’t be able to set it as your default, but if it asks for permission during install and you can’t authorize it, the program will install into your Local Settings folder instead (and you have full read-wrote access to this directory). On a Mac, just drop the executable into your Home folder. It works.

• Murc says:

I always immediately download Firefox and delete IE when the university gives me a new computer.

You don’t, actually. IE is still there; or more precisely, IE can’t be decoupled from Windows Explorer, as they’re basically the same thing.

In deference to people like you, Microsoft has made it possible to “uninstall” IE by making it non-obvious that it’s still there. But it is.

• Pee Cee says:

In deference to people like you, Microsoft has made it possible to “uninstall” IE by making it non-obvious that it’s still there. But it is.

I wipe the drive and install Ubuntu Linux. It’s the only way to be sure.

• Lee Rudolph says:

Thermite. That’s the only way to be sure.

• Poicephalus says:

Truth

• Karl Jones says:

“Nuke the entire PC from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

• Tyrone Shoelace says:

DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke) then install some flavor of Linux.

• Brian says:

Look, if you can download Chrome or Firefox, IE works just fine.

3. ScrewyCanuck says:

Software that shitty doesn’t deserve a rant this beautiful.

• Barry Freed says:

I agree with his sentiments. But I only wax wroth like that when I start expressing my utter hatred for APA style.

• MAJeff says:

Maybe you can combine those hatreds with EndNote.

• Barry Freed says:

Haven’t you heard the good news brother? I preach to you the gospel of Zotero which saved this unworthy sinner’s ass as he was writing his master’s thesis.

• Lee Rudolph says:

For my sins, I have had to learn in my dotage how to prepare papers for consumption by those who insist on APA style. On the other hand, except when (as sometimes) I am also forced to submit manuscripts in Word, I can still use (LaTeX and friends, including) bibtex (if I were a better person I would no doubt learn biblatex, but I’m not, and I won’t) together with JabRef to manage my references and Eric Meier’s apacite package to get them to bibtex for me. It’s almost fun. Almost.

• Colin Day says:

Use apa6e.cls and the tlgreek package (APA style demands that Greek-letter statistical parameters be upright, but LaTeX will default to italicizing lower-case Greek letters in math mode). Also, right after \begin{document}, use \raggedright and \setlength{\parindent}{0.5in} to get proper margins.

• Colin Day says:

You might also want biblatex-apa.

• dmsilev says:

Papers is also a pretty useful tool (albeit not free) for reference managing/formatting. And unlike EndNote, it is not a crawling horror from beyond the borders of space-time.

• Anonymous says:

love zotero except when i don’t use it as the point of entry into the library.

have to stick with endnote for batches e.g. systematic lit review.

• Linnaeus says:

I start expressing my utter hatred for APA style.

I’m glad my field doesn’t use that one. Chicago, baby.

• MAJeff says:

The BF recently submitted a paper that required “Vancouver Style.”

We were both, “that’s a thing?”

• Linnaeus says:

I had to look that up. Apparently, it’s a style preferred for scientific and medical publications.

• Daniel Nebdal says:

Hah, I’ve been helping people format to (specific variants of) Vancouver style without knowing that that was the overarching name. It reminds me of usenet-style footnotes, and for that alone I can live with it.

[1] Nebdal, D : Like this. Journal of the internet. 2014; 1 (2-35).

• Daniel Nebdal says:

And of course, I forgot to insert the actual reference tag[1] into the text. Ah well.

[1] See above.

• Barry Freed says:

I came from a that uses MLA style. APA makes me want to scream.

• Barry Freed says:

“I come from a field that uses MLA style” is what I meant to write.

• DrDick says:

See mine below, I loathe MLA.

• Gwen says:

Oppan Blue Book-Style!

http://www.volokh.com/posts/1146606025.shtml

• DrDick says:

MLA is worse, and Moodle is just as bad.

• MAJeff says:

We’ve got professionals complaining about this, and yet we expect students to switch back-and-forth, sometimes between classes in the same semester.

• DrDick says:

Fortunately my university only uses one course utility system. We switched from Blackboard to Moodle. This is why I do not trust anything our IT folks say or do.

• MAJeff says:

I was actually thinking about switching from MLA to APA, not LMS’s. :)

• DrDick says:

My discipline fortunately uses Chicago.

• Lee Rudolph says:

Moodle at least doesn’t have whatever the enormous license fee is that Blackboard extracts from the suckers.

But otherwise, yeah, they seemed to be equally awful.

• DrDick says:

That is its only saving grace.

• Bijan Parsia says:

That and you can hack it which gives you a fighting chance to mitigate some things.

BB crawls to being not worse these days with each upgrade. I’ve not seen any major regressions since we went to BB 9.

…this is not to say that I wouldn’t cheer on a virus that destroyed BB and all its works.

• DrDick says:

BB 9 is what scared off my university.

• JS says:

I’m not a huge fan of MLA, but I am actually genuinely curious how anyone could consider it worse than the utter horror that is APA (and its various obscene mutations).

• YooHooligan says:

APA is a super rigid style. There’s one way to format your headings, two ways to construct citations, and the ref list goes alphabetically in ascending order. It’s restrictive, but easy to edit. Also the manual is delightfully small and comes in a nifty spiral binding.

Chicago is awesome and gives you a whole mess of options, but then the editor has to figure out which option (endnotes? footnotes? author-date? Bibliography or ref list?) and make it consistent, which is why the manual is a 800+ page beast and not suitable for throwing across the room. You could hurt someone.

MLA gives you a comprehensive spelled-out style guide, but the editor ends up flipping back and forth to the ref list to figure out if the citations are correct ’cause the key element is how many works are in there by the same author (can just the name be cited? name + short title? What should the short title be?) and suddenly the editor is spiking coffee with Jameson’s at 11am.

APA: Keeps me off the hooch before noon.

• JS says:

Chicago is 800+ pages because it gives you incredible amounts of very useful usage information. The APA manual (which, umm, doesn’t come in spiral binding—what?), leaving aside its 5000 aesthetic violations, makes me feel I’m constantly being condescended to.

MLA’s just half-ass, but at least an order of a magnitude less objectionable than APA.

(This all, by the way, wearing my copy-editor hat vs. my academic hat.)

• YooHooligan says:

I agree that APA can appear condescending and it is not very good for less-sciencey work. It does simplify things for an editor, I think. I am in violent agreement with you vis-a-vis Chicago and MLA as well. As a writer I prefer Chicago; as an editor, though, I think APA is easier to check.

Scored the wire-bound (you are correct; it is not in fact spiral) APA thinger at a local Barnes and Noble a few years ago.

• Jhoosier says:

Having just begun copyediting in APA(modified — don’t ask me how) for a journal, it does make things fairly simple for me.

• N__B says:

Why wax? I prefer my wroth au naturale.

4. Ronan says:

I like blackbirds

• the ghost of Wallace Stevens says:

A man and a woman are one.
A man, a woman, and a blackboard are one.

• Ronan says:

and then there was st kevin on blackboard..

• rea says:

Wasn’t St. Lawrence roasted on blackboard?

5. Shakezula says:

Sounds like any other day in Jersey.

• Anonymous says:

As a medical student in NJ whose school just switched to Blackboard…you’re out of bounds! If the prof (or more likely the admin tasked with Blackboarding everything) lacks complete tech-savvy, the course BB will be just an ungodly mess. If they are tech savvy, it will still suck goat balls and be less functional than a MySpace page.

6. Gwen says:

Geez, is Blackboard really that bad?

I know some software is sublimely complex… so full of esoteric sorcery that only a few can understand them. At first this provokes frustration and disgust in many, but the few eventually become enamored with it and choose to join its priesthood. It is for this reason that I am currently taking Oracle DBA classes at the local community college (despite having a law degree). It is also why some day I would like to understand Cisco IOS.

There is some software that seems to have a superficial appeal to stupid people. They look pretty, but are all hat and no cattle. I think most mobile phone apps fall into this category.

There is some software that is powerful and well-written, but that attracts a cult-like following among people who are overpaid, who attribute to it powers that it does not really possess. The rest of us just sort of shrug our way through it. I am pretty sure that Salesforce.com, and possibly 37Signal’s suite (Backpack, Basecamp, Campfire) falls into this category. I vaguely recall a David Brooks column in which he says poor kids would be successful if they all had Backpack accounts.

There is some software that is simply, and utterly, crap. It is badly executed, but it has a lock on the marketplace, so you have to use it. I think a lot of ERP projects fall into this (I haven’t ever used any, so I wouldn’t know). A lot of government IT projects also seem to fall into this category.

I’m not sure which category Blackboard falls into… it might fall into a whole category of its own. But shouldn’t we at least examine the patient further before concluding he’s an asshole and sending him off to the Death Panels?

• Gwen says:

Sorry, I have a bad habit of attributing every stupid column I read to David Brooks.

I think it was actually this column by Gene Marks at Forbes.com.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/quickerbettertech/2011/12/12/if-i-was-a-poor-black-kid/

• Colin Day says:

Sorry, I have a bad habit of attributing every stupid column I read to David Brooks.

A reasonable first approximation, but he is not the only bad pundit out there.

• Anonymous says:

I have to use BB, and have managed IT project procurement in governmen in a former life. It’s mostly the latter: crappy software, impossible for lay people (teachers or students) to use effectively or intuitively, larded with many “features” that sound great on paper (calendar! chatboards! notifications! quizzes!) that sound great on paper but are (as Dave points out) neither very capable nor well-integrated nor simple to implement. It honestly strikes me as something that is typically purchased by IT departments acting with a long set of “requirements” for an RFP and little input from faculty or students as to acceptable usability. The attitude at my school seems to be: “if the software sucks…yay! More trainings!”

• Gwen says:

I bet they have a services team too that specializes in implementations and integrations!

• Ghoul says:

No, lamentations and recriminations.

• Gwen says:

Hmm, definitely more accurate!

• Pee Cee says:

Incidents and accidents.
Hints and allegations.

• BigHank53 says:

Imprecations and infestations, more like.

• I_Love_Bb says:

“It honestly strikes me as something that is typically purchased by IT departments acting with a long set of “requirements” for an RFP and little input from faculty or students as to acceptable usability.”

I am am college IT manager. My team runs Bb. Where do you think we got the long set of requirements? From overly opinionated faculty and students – when it comes to unnecessary ‘features’ – they are all up in your face with “I want it and I want it NOW”

• Anonymous says:

‘”Overly opinionated?” Last I checked, universities exist for students and faculty, not bloated, self-important IT departments.

• Anonymous says:

You’re not wrong, but:

Students / Faculty list a set of features they *must* have
->
the list becomes long and complex
->
RFPs are written from those requirements
->
product selections are made from a huge checklist of features
->
companies are incentivised to spend resources implementing long lists of esoteric features, not making a simple, well-integrated and well-though-out product that people will actually like to use

• Will says:

Unnecessary features like being able to track attendance? Clearly that’s obscure arcane shit right there.

• Anonymous says:

I can attest to that, having suffered under BB for seven years. I also feel vindicated by davenoon’s delectably written little diatribe. Such a humorous was to vent.
I was in an academic unit of IT at a large university. Our little group was responsible for supporting (instructional design, training and tech support) Blackboard for faculty. We went with it after they bought WebCT during an RFP (we had been using WebCT since 2000). At the time, instead of it being a step up from what we had, it was by and large a step back.

Thinking back on all that it just reinforces my joy at being retired. Our U. switched to Instructure Canvas in Fall 2012. I was involved in testing it but left before implementation. I liked it. Such a new kind of animal. At the time, my main concern was how well BB courses would migrate. Didn’t look pretty. Anyway, my former colleagues have never expressed to me that it was terribly painful.

• Ann Outhouse says:

From the various rants I’ve read, I would say this is just plain old crap, designed and written by any one of the 90% of people who call themselves “programmers” or “developers” but who are really only coders.

I know some software is sublimely complex… so full of esoteric sorcery that only a few can understand them.

Ah, Rational ClearCase.

• Matt McIrvin says:

Many years ago, I had to use ClearCase when working inside the system of a very large customer. I actually got to the point where I kind of liked ClearCase’s branching and merging system. But the X11 graphical merge tool was terrible and the lack of changesets was infuriating (people ended up using private branches in lieu of changesets).

• xaaronx says:

Yes.

• tim says:

first:

It is for this reason that I am currently taking Oracle DBA classes at the local community college (despite having a law degree). It is also why some day I would like to understand Cisco IOS.

You describe two pieces of technology that are widely use but are written and supported by cults who’s members are overpaid but then you go on to say this:

There is some software that is powerful and well-written, but that attracts a cult-like following among people who are overpaid,

So why are you learning Oracle and Cisco IOS? Learn Juniper for networking equipment or cassandra for database if you don’t want to become part of the cult.

We’ve set a multi year strategy to get off of all things Oracle. It will be painful but we will reap the benefits including not having to deal with dysfunctional Oracle DBAs.

7. This post is the best thing. Sorry about your Blackboard troubles, but it can’t be all bad if it brought us this.

• davenoon says:

Thanks. This sputum was made possible by the two hours I was unable to spend grading because I couldn’t access the papers my students submitted the other night…..

• CD says:

“gristly” was a lovely touch.

• Chin of Bobo says:

Yes, but I *do* wish that you wouldn’t hold back so much. Tell us what you really think.

• Turkle says:

True – this post was magnificent. And Blackboard is a freaking garbage-barge. I cannot fathom how software that is so universally despised by its users manages to stay so ubiquitous.

• redrob64 says:

I believe it buys up its competitors and then stops supporting them. I have been told this is what happened to WebCT and Angel — both of which I learned and felt some mastery of just in time to be informed that we were trying to escape from BB. I have now learned Canvas and fully expect BB to acquire it in about 18 months.

• ruviana says:

Yup–we use ANGEL and we’re shifting to Blackboard probably next AY. This whole post is making me nervous…

• Thers says:

Us too. I contemplate Blackboard as if it were perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door.

• MAJeff says:

And it’s not just the larger management systems, but also the smaller functional apps that they buy up and “integrate.”

The Borg post at the top wasn’t all wrong.

• redrob64 says:

I’ll take credit for that comment (the nym was trying to do a clever on Locutus), but the “Blackborg” bit is cribbed from a colleague who got himself picked to be our “faculty online education consultant” and nearly went mad — it was all very much in keeping with the Lovecraftian vibe in the OP, but he seems pretty normal since cutting all ties with things Blackboard-related. He predicted that BB would buy Angel shortly after we made the switch.

• CD says:

I managed to avoid using BB for a decade, but have now gotten sucked into Canvas. This is mainly because once Canvas is past a certain tipping point in adoption, it’s harder for your own students if you don’t use it. The key is the calendar and related features: it aims to give students a single view of everything they have coming up in every course.

Canvas is more flexible than than BB and not *quite* as opaque, but one of my students still called it an “Easter egg hunt.” Canvas’ flexibility contains drawbacks: there are lots of of non-obvious settings and hidden shit you have to check to make even simple things happen. Its graphical interface is terrible.

• redrob64 says:

I swear it’s not as clunky as Angel.

• Murc says:

I believe it buys up its competitors and then stops supporting them.

I can confirm this. I supported LMS for a good two, three years. Blackboard managed to get a slight edge on WebCT/Angel, and leveraged that into a lot of investor income, which it used to buy the competition.

Blackboard’s back end, from a programming perspective, is just… just awful. I once went noodling around in there and found, I shit you not, a sixty-four step deep if->else block. It’s like, my god, people. Learn to use a switch.

• If someone did that in one of my products I would lobby for them to be fired.

From a catapult, out the window, into a tank full of sharks.

• Colin Day says:

A catapult? You are far more merciful than I.

• Azimuth says:

“…out the window, into a tank full of sharks.”

Where I come from, we call that “defenestra shark-ated”.

Ayup.

• Snarki, child of Loki says:

I was going to comment that a halfway decent programmer could probably swallow a slurry of shredded FORTRAN IV and HTML 0.9 manuals, and shit a better courseware program..

..but it’s just depressingly close to being true.

• MAJeff says:

The F-word. *shudder* remembering sitting at VT-340 terminals and trying to program that shit.

I think I need a drink already.

• If you have a 64-deep if/else, you have bigger problems than just needing to use a switch statement.

• Billcoop4 says:

I was on the pilot project for Canvas here. It rocks! It’s been painful going back to BB

8. MAJeff says:

Shall we discuss the mobile apps and their functionality?

• Gwen says:

I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of mobile app developers are probably chimpanzees or bonobos.

A handful of really good mobile apps out of the many thousands released are the exceptions that prove the rule.

• NonyNony says:

Always remember – Sturgeon’s Law, while originally an observation about popular culture, applies to everything creative that human beings do. Everything. And since software development is a creative field, 90% of all software developed is, in fact, crap.

• As a professional software developer, I can say that your estimate is a little bit off. 99% at least.

• Colin Day says:

At least 189% of software is crap?

• Snarki, child of Loki says:

only for the kind that does statistical analysis. The rest is worse.

• Anonymous says:

[whimpers like abused dog ]

9. JMP says:

But blackboard is pretty much obsolete now, most schools have switched over to whiteboards and dry erase markers, almost nobody but Glenn Beck still uses blackboard and chalk.

• ruviana says:

And SmartBoards! Don’t forget SmartBoards! They set up trainings like every semester.

• Eli Rabett says:

How do you keep the idiots from writing on them with a marker?

• ruviana says:

LOL! Lots of angry emails (it doesn’t work).

• redrob64 says:

We can’t keep faculty from writing on projector screens. Seriously, about a third of ours have marks on them — and they’re not that old.

• MAJeff says:

I’d rather use chalkboards than whiteboards.

• ruviana says:

Me too. And ours have all been wiped out, so to speak.

• JS says:

So obviously, right? How is this even a question? At worst, (or well, often), you get some chalk on hands/clothes. On the other hand, half the whiteboards I’ve encountered are basically in one way or another.

• Erik Loomis says:

I don’t know, I’ve had some chalkboard related mishaps. There was the time I happened to stick my hand in my pocket real hard during a lecture and broke off a hangover and I started bleeding over the chalk. And there was the other time that I was erasing the board and hit the split in the board with the eraser and flew off and hit me in the face in front of my students.

We have whiteboards at URI so I have not embarrassed myself using a board here.

• Snarki, child of Loki says:

But you can’t run your nails down a whiteboard and make all the kids squirm, now can you?

• ChrisTS says:

Wait until the jerk educator who uses the room before you forgets to clean off the marker traces. Ummm, nice dried out marker crap. To to get that off, you have to break out the really toxic spray and scrub. Yummy stuff.

• N__B says:

Spit works. Really. And you gain street creed with the students.

• Eli Rabett says:

So that’s why the damn things smell of coffee and sardines. Who knew?

• ChrisTS says:

I don’t think you have quite the right picture of my students.

• N__B says:

When you walk in the room, they chant in unison “Good morning Missus TS. We’re all in our places with bright shining faces.”

Right?

• Philip says:

So does vodka.

• JS says:

So, first, meant to say that half the whiteboards I’ve encountered are basically nonfunctional. Because, for example, as ChrisTS points out, the last lecturer didn’t erase the fucker. Or because, let’s say, the markers are all completely dried out. There was one semester, where I began every class (for one course), by going to the men’s room, wetting a giant piece of power towel to wipe down the whiteboard, and then discovering that, still!, none of the markers worked. (Meanwhile, I had a box of chalk in my bag.)

Not to mention that fact that for some not obviously intrinsic reason, whiteboards are often smaller? Like, _way_ smaller? (Maybe I’ve taught in classrooms with huge blackboards?)

All that said, EL, you have had some radically awful mishaps with chalkboards. Yikes! Also though very unusual (and quite funny!) ones?

• Hogan says:

I happened to stick my hand in my pocket real hard during a lecture and broke off a hangover

Now that’s a cure I’ve never heard of before.

• Jhoosier says:

I much prefer whiteboards. If, for nothing else, the fact that it doesn’t dry your hands out. Japanese winters are dry enough without getting chalk all over your hands and making them crack and bleed. No amount of moisturizer can help that.

• ChrisTS says:

Jeesh. Are you wiping the boards with your hands, or is Japanese chalk that crumbly?

10. Nobdy says:

Website blurb version:

“[A] towering…boundless…course…management software.!”

Davenoon

11. Gwen says:

Until I hear specifically what makes Blackboard so bad, I am going to assume that it is just another manifestation of “sucky enterprise software.” A lot of big corporate enterprise software deployments get “meh” reactions from users.

http://37signals.com/svn/posts/669-why-enterprise-software-sucks

Key point: “The people who buy enterprise software aren’t the people who use enterprise software. That’s where the disconnect begins. And it pulls and pulls and pulls until the user experience is split from the buying experience so severely that the software vendors are building for the buyers, not the users. The experience takes a back seat to the feature list, future promises, and buzz words.”

(Even though I said 37Signals might be over-rated, I still admire them because I think they are honest and well-meaning people).

• Ann Outhouse says:

In my experience, the users recommend Product A and management then buys Product B because (a) doing so shows those uppity users who’s really in charge, and (b) Product B’s sales clown was able to procure club-level seats to the hockey game, while Product A’s sales clown could only had the budget for lunch at Chili’s, Company A preferring to spend money on actual software development.

• NonyNony says:

The people who buy enterprise software aren’t the people who use enterprise software.

Speaking as someone who moved from IT into academia, while this is true of all enterprise software, it’s especially true of that awful form of enterprise software known as “course management software”.

At least with your typical enterprise software package the IT department butts up against it in SOME form outside of their support role.

Purchase a lousy piece of HR management software? Suffer the hell of that software biting you in the ass when you try to get reimbursed for travel or for medical bills or whatever fuckup happens. Along with everyone else. Including, perhaps, the CEO.

Purchase a lousy piece of course management software? Meh – University IT people don’t teach classes. IT people outside of the lowest levels rarely take classes (and, as someone who served a decade+ in the IT trenches – nobody in management cares fuck-all about the people at the lowest levels or knows anything about what their lives/jobs are like). So who cares? If the sales person is cute and they buy you some expensive dinners and fly you out to their Silicon Valley offices for “training” then it’s all good – it isn’t like it will impact your job or anyone’s job who sits above you. Not in these days when the idea of a University President even teaching a course – let alone managing it themselves – is a bit of a joke.

• Murc says:

Meh – University IT people don’t teach classes.

This is true, but we do have to field calls from irate professors.

There was always a certain class of academic we dreaded hearing from; anyone with tenure, a PhD in the humanities, and over the age of fifty. Those guys assumed they were very very smart indeed (they have all these credentials and books saying so!) so if they don’t know how to do something, it’s clearly someone elses fault.

Also, from a budgetary standpoint… tech support is fucking’ expensive. The phone monkey you’re speaking to is making peanuts, but there’s an enormous edifice build around him and your institution is probably paying something like thirty dollars an hour for each and every tech on their payroll. A shitty learning management system that has your professors hammering on your support people can be the difference between needing a 35 person team over a 40 person team, and that can add up to six figures or more a year, or the salary of two entire other professors.

• ChrisTS says:

anyone with tenure, a PhD in the humanities, and over the age of fifty.

Thank you for your gratuitous side-swipe.

By the way, are not all guys.

• Eli Rabett says:

Even worse.

• ChrisTS says:

heh.

• I_Love_Bb says:

What, as opposed to everyone else’s gratuitous side-swipes at Bb and every other company trying to satisfy unreasonable and unsustainable technology requests from faculty members and students who think they know something about educational technology just because they wrote a thesis on Mongolian syntax? Bb and every other product is shit because faculty and student demand makes it shit. If these companies didn’t try to satisfy all the idiotic requests and demands, they’d be out of business within a year.

One correction thought, it isn’t tenured humanities profs that are the biggest pains in the butt – it’s profs with physics degrees, fyi.

• Barry Freed says:

One correction thought, it isn’t tenured humanities profs that are the biggest pains in the butt – it’s profs with physics degrees, fyi.

And you would know this because you uh, wait a minute here and let me guess I_Love_Bb, because you work for Blackboard?

• djw says:

What, as opposed to everyone else’s gratuitous side-swipes at Bb and every other company trying to satisfy unreasonable and unsustainable technology requests from faculty members and students who think they know something about educational technology just because they wrote a thesis on Mongolian syntax? Bb and every other product is shit because faculty and student demand makes it shit. If these companies didn’t try to satisfy all the idiotic requests and demands, they’d be out of business within a year.

Perhaps. But perhaps they’re really bad at listening. I am one of the lucky ones; I work at a university with a more or less functional course management software system. My complaints are occasional an minor. We use Sakai, which is open source but bare bones. Rather than pay some huge fee to blackboard of whomever, we pay two employees whose primary job is to program our in-house version of Sakai. We can (and do!) talk to them directly about what we want/need. On one occasion, I approached them about a minor operational hiccup. They fixed it later that week. On another occasion, I complained about a particular functionality that was missing from the gradebook. They replied that it wasn’t an easy or quick fix, but they’d try to add it by the next academic year, and they did. I’m sure some people have unreasonable requests, but in general this system seems to work pretty well on the user end. Generally people are more or less happy with the software, and with the responsiveness of the programming team that we get to talk to directly. I suspect that part of the problem w/ Blackboard et al is that “what students and faculty say they want” is put through a distorting filter of corporate communication channels, not that they have the temerity to ask for it.

• Bb captured the market 10-15 yrs ago because it met security and bureaucratic requirements. It’s always been a technology company, never a company about instruction or learning.

But it’s imroving! Bb 9.1 allows users to change the “OK” button to the “Whatever” button. In the next version, I hear “Submit” will become “Kneel.” There will be a cap of 39 clicks to complete any single operation. Next-generation stuff, I tell you. Innovative!

• CD says:

I think that problem has been solved. You direct all support queries into a support management system that generates flurries of incomprehensible “tickets” and e-bumpf until supplicants give up.

• Enterprise software development is basically a massive scam. Oregon hired Oracle to implement their ACA exchange, and of course it was way over budget and half complete, because they hired Oracle.

Enterprise-scale software implementation is essentially impossible with the technology and processes we have today. Any project of sufficient size is guaranteed to be over budget and massively unpopular. Once your Spruce Goose has crashed into the runway, you end up with two options: another massive, doomed undertaking to fix it, or iterative improvements over time, which is the approach you should have taken in the first place.

Most enterprises don’t have the energy or budget at that point, so they choose option 3: Fuck It, also known as Procrustes’ Bed. You hire contractors to bang the completely unusable parts into place, and then you train all your employees to mangle their workflow to fit the stunted, horrific system that has been foisted upon them. Five years later some recently promoted suit and his favorite salesbro propose to replace RottenGarbageHeap with RottenGarbageHeap 2.0, at the low low price of all your money.

• redrob64 says:

Oh, good. The state community college system I work in is about to begin an upgrade and consolidation of the its entire computing system. It will not, apparently, affect course management software, but seems to include every other system the college uses.

I began to get a bad feeling about this when faculty were invited to take a survey on whatever they were calling the process, asking us to evaluate how the admin had been handling the information about it. I had no idea what the survey was about, which gives you an idea of how well it was being handled. This does not bode well.

• MAJeff says:

Oh, good luck.

Speaking of working in a community college, I found out recently that our College has three machine licenses for SPSS. We just instituted a new social science statistics course, and I believe the articulation agreement with the state university system says we will train students on SPSS (or there’s something like that–the pysch folks are handling it).

Three machines. Total. To teach how to use SPSS.

• Gregor Sansa says:

Obviously, you need to use R. Which is tantalizingly close to actually being a good option. The GUIs for beginners are decent, and the actual language and programming language and environments are about as good as Javascript in the pre-”good parts”/coffeescript era, which means, almost usable but with the shadows of nether beings always in the corner of your eye.

• MAJeff says:

I have no idea what any of this means.

• Philip says:

As opposed to now, where the nether beings are actively trying to eat your brains?

• Eli Rabett says:

What you need is a) license manager software b) Studica or preferably c) R and/or S

• Bijan Parsia says:

Here are some specifics which do not distinguish it from enterprise software:

1) Buggy. In so many dimensions. One of my favourites was it randomly modifying uploaded Java files (only some of then) which obviously made them not compile. This was billed as “needed for security”. Also needed for security was the stripping of white space from test questions (which fucks up source code formatting) even though white space is preserved in forum comments. (Ie the system needs to be protected from the profs but not the students).

2) Misdesign. In so far as its design. It does truly stupid things. For example, you can upload exams in a CSV format only you can’t include points for each question or model answers or feedback. You can download scripts to mark but only upload feedback for the entire exam (and not on a per question basis). Etc etc. there’s no way to force fora to be email subscribed to by default or even that the option to subscribe is turned on by default. Etc etc.

3) Unusable. There are clusters of features that naturally go together that are only accessible via completely unrelated paths through the UI. Everything takes a million clicks. There are subtle menus everywhere that have closely named functions. No useful defaults. Things break and have to be recreated from scratch. Super slow with big page refreshed all over. Etc etc.

4) Crap terms. It’s software as a service with crap data export that’s very expensive and the support is poor.

5) Shit programmability. You need to expose the APIs which suck and seem to be global so it’s hard to allow experimentation.

There’s more….

12. Erik Loomis says:

And now everyone knows Cormac McCarthy’s pseudonym.

• William Berry says:

Ha, good one.

I was thinking that dn could write some seriously grim, post-apoc science fiction.

13. ChrisTS says:

Christ I hate BB. As Anonymous says, lots of bell and whistles that don’t work well or are designed for who-knws-whom.

And the central stuff is funky as hell. I no longer post grades on BB because of two times when it simply deleted all my grades. Before that camel’s-back-breaking nightmare, I noticed it would often try to anticipate the grade I wanted to enter: “Hey, you entered B- twice, so I’ll just stick B- in the next cell, too.” No, that is not the way grading works.

And the main use for many of us – getting texts in front of our students – is inanely clumsy. You want a folder? Ok, you have to set access dates for the folder. Now, you want to put items in the folder? Ok, you have to set access dates for each item. Oh, by the way, did you make sure that the folder and every single item in it separately is ‘made visible’? And, then, when you get that content up, we’ll send your students two email notices apiece for the folder and each item.

Gaaaggggh.

14. ChrisTS says:

Well. I feel better.

15. Pee Cee says:

I haven’t worked with BB for a while now, but I have a hard time believing it’s worse than Desire2Learn.

• Matt_L says:

no, it is. D2L blows goats, but BB is even worse. The menus are even more of an epistemic nightmare, for example.

• I_Love_Bb says:

BS. They are all the same shit. It is totally dependent on how the system is set up and customized by your school. If your school has made the system complex to meet the (unreasonable) demands of the local faculty and students, then you’re going to have a beyond terrible experience regardless of which LMS you use.

• BSBSBS says:

When you see this many people hating Blackboard so passionately, it is necessary to consider the possibility that the problem might just be Blackboard.

Allow me to tell you a true story, Mr Blackboard Shill.

My employer bought an enterprise software system. They customized it extensively to meet the ridiculous demands made by users. It was terrible and everyone hated it.

After it finally ground to a halt under its own complexity, they got traction to replace it. This time, the IT department were calling the shots. They refused to consider any but the simplest customizations for the new system, and required anyone making a ridiculous demand to present a supporting business case endorsed by the CEO, the Pope, and the Queen of England.

End result? It was still terrible and unusable, because it was still “enterprise” software. Which is all terrible and unusable.

• We’ve switched from BB and D2L, and… well, it’s the improvement from driving hot iron spikes into your eyes to pounding a nail through your hand. Both awful, but a meaningful improvement nonetheless.

16. DrS says:

Anyone have any experience with Moodle?

• MAJeff says:

I’ve heard of it, but I got it confused with that web-based scheduling thing people send out.

• AstroBio says:

It is better than BB (not a high bar) and with some patience, can be optimized to reduce the “Easter Egg Hunt” experience for students.

• DrDick says:

Please pass along the keys to doing that, since I am still playing “Easter Egg Hunt” with the damned thing as faculty after several years. They hide everything and you often have to take several different entry points to set up a single function. The gradebook and test module are especially horrific.

• Anonymous says:

Yes we switched from Moodle to BB. BB:Windows Vista::Moodle:Windows 3.1

• That is a pretty awful thing to say about BB. It must really be as bad as everyone says.

• DrDick says:

Yes, to my horror. It is what we use at my university. Sucks just as hard as BB, but in different ways.

17. Darkrose says:

We’ve been using Sakai, which is an awesome CMS platform in theory. In practice, it only works if the school is willing to put the development resources into it. If they don’t, and they outsource it, then it’s a hideous abomination before man and dog.

We’re looking at Canvas and Desire2Learn. I object to the latter on general principle because seriously? You couldn’t use one more character to make it not look like you’re texting someone?

• Murc says:

In practice, it only works if the school is willing to put the development resources into it.

This, by the by, is why Blackboard keeps getting sold.

You can buy a support contract with blackboard. Moodle and Sakai, not so much. You have to do internal heavy lifting for that. Organizations hate that when it comes to software packages; they want to know that if something catches on fire and sinks into the swamp, they can make a phone call to people who are responsible for fixing it.

Actually, no, not people. They want to call an institution that is responsible for fixing it. If you put your trust into the knowledge of your CIO and his underlings, you’re fucked if they fuck off for greener pastures.

• Darkrose says:

I should have known we would be in trouble when the project manager kept holding up Indiana University as a model. They had like, 25 programmers–not including support techs–working on nothing but Sakai. We had 4.

• Eli Rabett says:

We actually told the university to BUY the support, which improved things a bit. BB is ok for posting stuff and sending Email/announcements, but they changed the damn release date thing and the only way to figure out if you posted something to the students is to get a student to log on and then look at it.

Fuckers.

• Lee Rudolph says:

What, you can’t create a bogus student account that is really you (but with student [non-]privileges), for just such purposes (as well as trolling for selfies, etc.)?

• Eli Rabett says:

NO, they locked enrollment so it can only be done by the registration system which is real fun at the start of the term when students are moving in and out of classes at the speed of neutrinos going from Switzerland to Italy on bad cables;)

• Philip says:

We have a strange amalgamation. The consortium standard is Sakai, but our CS department now has professors variously using Moodle, Canvas, and Piazza. Moodle is good because the prof who uses it had a whole set of plugins and such to make it usable, Piazza is the devil, and I really liked Canvas in the class I took that used it (I’m now on the TA side of it, though, and not such a fan so far).

• djw says:

Our university of 10K students has 2 full time developers for Sakai, and it seems to work reasonably well.

• socialmediapolicy says:

Canvas over D2L. Oh, holy mercy, Canvas. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it is so much better. D2L has weird interface issues. It refers to things by different names on different screens, and tabs disappear when they should persist. Copying items breaks them.

Canvas meanwhile, has a bit of a quirky messaging system and wants to put a frame around everything, but most of what it does really does seem purpose-driven and functional. I’m sure BlackBoard will just buy them and ruin it like they did Angel.

18. Ken says:

Always the cockeyed optimist.

(About the future of humanity, I mean. You’re spot-on with the software.)

• DrS says:

Yes. Surely, tens of years not hundreds

19. Balu says:

We switched from Blackboard to Sakai. Not impressed with the new CMS.

• Darkrose says:

Sakai is only as good as what you put into it. I remember going to a conference and coming back incredibly psyched about the possibilities…only to have that dashed when everything I brought up was “Yeah…we don’t have the programming resources for that.”

• Philip says:

+1, Sakai when done reasonably well is actually really good.

• V says:

“Sakai is only as good as what you put into it.”

I put my neck out here and say this: Isn’t the same true of ANY LMS, including blackboard?

I see many institutions switching from one to the other to the other.

Often on the back of poor student feedback, which, if they dug deep enough, they’d realise is nothing to do with the LMS choise, but everything to do with poor content and course structure.

Jump to a new LMS and re-create your same course structure and content, and guess what… all youve actually done is spend money and time.

20. Ronan says:

What does anyone think of Tamagotchi’s, in terms of the design etc

• Ronan says:

or as a friend

21. Matthew says:

This seemed oddly reminiscent of the “I hope you like text” Penny Arcade from 2006. http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/04/10

The original quote,

“Don’t say another Goddamn word. Up until now, I’ve been polite. If you say anything else – word one – I will kill myself. And when my tainted spirit finds its destination, I will topple the master of that dark place. From my black throne, I will lash together a machine of bone and blood, and fueled by my hatred for you this fear engine will bore a hole between this world and that one. When it begins, you will hear the sound of children screaming – as though from a great distance. A smoking orb of nothing will grow above your bed, and from it will emerge a thousand starving crows. As I slip through the widening maw in my new form, you will catch only a glimpse of my radiance before you are incinerated. Then, as tears of bubbling pitch stream down my face, my dark work will begin. I will open one of my six mouths, and I will sing the song that ends the world.”

I feel like the author of this post probably read that 8 years ago and it lay dormant in the subconscious. Especially the end where it’s the time to come for epic vengeance from beyond the grave.

• davenoon says:

That’s pretty great stuff, but if you’re going to insinuate that someone is unconsciously — or subconsciously — ripping someone else off, it seems the charitable thing to do would be to find out if the author has ever actually heard of the website they’re supposedly poaching from.

• Matthew says:

I apologize.

I didn’t mean to insinuate that you stole the post in any sense, just that stylistically it was very similar, and I was wondering if it had had an influence.

You’ve never read it so than the answer is no. But the question of,”find out if the author has ever actually heard of the website” requires that I make a post and say, “hey, this looks similar to this other thing…” Which is what I did.

Someone can start a book with “Call me, ______,…” without ever reading or hearing about Moby Dick, but other people saying the beginning is similar and wondering if there is an influence, aren’t accusing the author of impropriety, they are just wondering if there was an influence.

It just struck me as having a very similar style.

• davenoon says:

No prob. At first I thought you were referring to the performance artist Penny Arcade — whom I’ve actually seen live — and I actually got worried. In my relief, I got a little too grumpy…

• ChrisTS says:

To me, it is reminiscent of Mieville. However, it did not occur to me to suggest that the OP was a rip off of someone else’s work.

Well done.

22. Bruce Leroy says:

The University of Texas must be very excited to switch from Blackboard to Canvas. When I open Blackboard, I get a page with a countdown to the switchover. It currently stands t 83 weeks.

23. Shakezula says:

For those of you just joining us, Mr. D. Noon claims the peculiarities of Blackboard are mildly vexatious and briefly disturb his sense of bonhomie.

In other and completely unrelated news: Although their search of the sewers near the home of Mr. Jay Bhatt have been hindered by cold weather, police believe they have found most of his remains. Bhatt was the CEO of Blackboard …

24. Barry Freed says:

In the clear light of morning I reread this post. I am in awe. It is a thing of dark, perfect beauty.

25. calling all toasters says:

Blackboard is the only large software company located in Washington DC. Let a thousand conspiracy theories bloom! At least a few dozen of them will be right.

26. NBarnes says:

It is a thing of sublime beauty.

27. Dan says:

Wow what an introduction to a website. Thanks!

28. mojrim says:

That was beautiful; brought tears to my eyes.

29. Western Dave says:

We are a high school and use Haiku. It’s ok. Better than Blackboard and Moodle (we’ve had both). Invariably with Moodle somebody would load some widget they found open source and it would crash the whole thing for a week. You get what you pay for.

• Lee Rudolph says:

You get, at most, what you pay for.

FTFY.

30. You had me at ” A thousand years from now, I want these loping, crookspined human gargoyles to dig me up and reanimate me.”

31. kzsh says:

Some pretty thick, evocative writing, and yet no where a reason not to use it.

Meant to post this here, not in reply to the first comment.

32. Kathleen says:

Oh, my! Unlike the LGM proprietors, I am not aware of all Internet traditions and almost always post on old (or possibly dead – I never know who declares a thread dead) threads. At any rate, my compliments to the author of the post and those who commented. I laughed and learned alot. Thank you all.

33. Gavin says:

You put my feelings for Blackboard into the most beautiful, truest words.
I feel your pain, but I am happy to say that my school made the switch from Blackboard to the vastly superior Schoology.

34. David says:

Bless you for giving words to my pain.

35. Chopzilla says:

I stand in awe of thy vernacular, sire.

36. [...] than practically any other technology in educational history. But it takes the eloquence of Dave Noon’s epic, Lovecraftian rant to truly express the loathing that Blackboard inspires in its users: “After generations of [...]

37. [...] "Christ, I hate Blackboard." Not the first time I've seen this level of bile in its direction. http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2014/01/christ-i-hate-blackboard [...]

38. Well, at least Blackboard allegedly works. We’ve been saddled with an LMS/LCMS that has been here for nearly a year, that was never formally specced, and that so far, we’ve never been able to launch even ONE functioning pilot class.

And there is now talk about “renewing.”

I have been told by Support to stop asking for advice and that they will no longer receive my tickets.

We’ve been pondering if Moodle might work, and now I guess there’s a very reasonable chance Blackboard might prove much more effective for meeting our educational needs. According to this article.

39. [...] screed begins like this: “Hundreds of years from now, after disease and fire and famine have thinned [...]

40. [...] Christ, I hate Blackboard | There is no hate quite like the hate bad software inspires. [...]

41. Anonymous says:

This is great, except for the “murder them all with my bare hands”

42. This is great, just one thing I don’t understand. Why “murder them all with my bare hands?” They’re misshapen mutants with filthy mouths, but Blackboard isn’t their fault! Why not let them live when you take the time machine?

43. Eugene says:

No matter how much BB is hated, Moodle is worse. You don’t even want to know. There seems like an enormous market for higher ed systems that is riddled with poorly contrived software built by contractors. Too bad VCs are completely uninterested in anything that won’t amass millions of users with a billion dollar buyout exit strategy. This market could really be served by easy to use software. Don’t even get me started on non-profits serving higher ed whose entire budget is handed over to a for-profit software package.

44. [...] 608 Originally Posted by Norphy I've tried all the obvious switches. Including these? Originally Posted by Norphy if you try to run it quietly, msiexec throws an error saying that the MSI is corrupt or inaccessible. Did you try /qn or /qb? According to IT Ninja, /qn should work. Originally Posted by Norphy why bugger about with them? http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2014/01/christ-i-hate-blackboard [...]

45. [...] experience, lead by a specialist in the area from CELT. Some of the discussions basically go like this. I’m afraid I’m becoming “that guy” in here because I talk [...]

46. Quality articles or reviews is the secret to attract the
users to visit the site, that’s what this web site is providing.

47. [...] Academia: Christ, I Hate Blackboard [...]

48. [...] Christ, I hate Blackboard /kf [...]

• Switch to our mobile site