Blackboard Works When You Use It. Duh.

Being a college student is much like a full-time job. We are expected to show up on time, do our work and turn it in on someone else’s schedule.

Most importantly, we risk the loss of that job by failing our classes if we don’t conform to the preset rules.

Unlike elementary school and even high school, in college, the responsibility of succeeding is no longer on our parents’ or teachers’ shoulders.

Blackboard is a great system used in universities all over the country to bridge communication between instructor and student.

Because classes only meet a limited number of times per week, students do not get a constant reminder to do an assignment, read a chapter or study for an upcoming exam.

Blackboard allows professors to connect with all of their students at once relaying all of the needed materials and giving students access to information at anytime that it may be convenient for them.

For example, during the first week of school, one of my classes which is inconveniently located on the farthest corner of campus was cancelled.

The professor could have easily utilized Blackboard or email to inform us of this cancellation but instead choose to post a note on the door and send us back out into the hot sun for the trek up and down hills.

If Blackboard is meant to be helpful, why didn’t my professor use it?

Shockingly, this is not the first time that I have had mishaps with the online platform.

Several times in my college career, I have logged on to Blackboard looking for a grade on a previous exam or quiz but was disappointed to see that it looks exactly the same as before classes started.

This proves to be especially difficult when your grade is split up 5 different ways including attendance, participation, quizzes, exams and finals.

The worst part is at the end of the semester when you aren’t sure if you passed or need to pack up your things and go home.

I’m sure that I can’t be the only one who depends on an organized system to stay on top of my classes as far as assignments and grades are concerned.

I understand that every professor is required to create and issue a syllabus to help us keep up with dates and general guidelines, but I don’t think I have ever taken a course where a due date or exam date hasn’t been altered.

In fact, I received a syllabus that was outdated by two semesters, and while I understand that we are now adults and success is up to us, the money we pay to take our classes entitle us to a little helping hand here and there.

With that being said, I must now acknowledge the instructors who do use Blackboard.

I love logging on and seeing some extra reading material or a grade that has just been posted. It is beyond helpful to be able to see my grades and class materials at my own convenience.

Unfortunately, I cannot say that for all of my peers. Too many times have I taken a course with an amazing professor who uses Blackboard religiously and goes above and beyond to post helpful slides, notes and study guides, but there is still that one student.

The student that has absolutely no idea what in the hell is going on and is the first to tap you on your shoulder and ask for a Scantron because he had no idea there was an exam that day.

It’s frustrating when they stop the professor mid lecture to ask where they can get the notes for that day.

I’m not asking that every professor go out of their way to constantly make postings or that students check Blackboard every five minutes, but we all have to do at least just enough to make sure we are understanding each other and taking advantage of the tools given to us to pass our classes and make better grades.

We haven’t been in school long enough this semester to know the habits of our professors and peers, but I am hoping for the best.

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