Sometimes, using the LMS (in our case Blackboard) can be frustrating. There may not be features you want or feel like you need. Maybe your institution has them, but they’re not set up. Maybe they don’t exist in your particular LMS at all. Maybe you’ve used another LMS at another school and liked it. You can spend a lot of time and energy dealing with what your LMS lacks.
The reality is, however, that there is no perfect LMS. Every platform will have problems and things that don’t work how you want them to, features that could be better, things that aren’t as nice as on other platforms, etc. No one can do it all at 100% all of the time.
In light of Valentine’s day, we’ll share some tips that can help you learn to love the LMS you have and advocate for ways to improve it to better meet your needs. After all, even the best relationships take work!
Know what your LMS CAN do. While there may be some things our LMS is lacking, there’s actually a ton of stuff it CAN do. The more you learn, the more you can take advantage of these tools, integrate them into your courses, and generally make your life a little easier.
Attend trainings. To help you accomplish the previous point, training is key! We host loads of training sessions, webinars, etc. throughout the year focused on Blackboard topics like using the Grade Center, integrating YuJa content, and teaching online. You can also take advantage of our Knowledge Base, Blackboard Help, or any number of online resources for learning more. Knowledge really is power when it comes to the LMS, and once you know how to use it and what it can do, you’ll be in a much better place.
Join committees invested in making changes. Still not getting what you need from the LMS? You can take an active role in determining how we can change or improve it. There are several committees at the College that discuss technology and how to implement it as well as larger, area-wide committees on using Blackboard or other LMS.
Share your opinions. Can’t get on a committee? That doesn’t mean you can’t share your thoughts! You can contact someone who is on a committee or Learning Technologies directly to address your concerns. We may have solutions for you or can make suggestions for work arounds. We may also be able to use your feedback to guide any changes and updates to the LMS!
Sign up for online communities and emails. There is a big wide world of LMS users (for Blackboard and beyond) out there on the web. You can sign up for these communities to ask for advice, read what others are doing, and to simply learn more. Blackboard user groups can be a great place to start!
Embrace flexibility and change. Technology changes at a rapid pace and that can sometimes be frustrating when you’re used to doing something one way and now have to pivot to do it another–sometimes it seems without much rhyme or reason. Often, however, these changes are part of improving the overall LMSs’ capabilities and user experience, even if there are some hiccups along the way. When dealing with tech, it’s always better to embrace the change and be flexible– after all, change is inevitable! If you ever need help navigating changes to the LMS, we’re here to help.
We know you sometimes get frustrated with our LMS, but we hope these tips can help you learn to give it a little love, especially after having to spend so much time together these past few months.