Collected some negative data from university instructors using Blackboard: problems with the gradebook, quizes, email, and other technical problems. About 20% of the sample mentioned technical problems with Bb in a general sense. But there was no mention of journals or choices specifically. Also, some of the more experienced instructors who use many of Bb's modules said that Bb is fine and the glitches are minor.
I'm curious, though, about your experience with the 3 VLEs. I'm new to Moodle and Bb and have taken a liking to Moodle, but I'm technically just an amateur. I have two major concerns about workshops and comparisons. Sure would appreciate some insight, if you are willing.
I think you are right on target about what I understand you mean in that the proprietary programs (Angel and Bb) don't put forums, assessment and content all in one block as Moodle does. In fact, I believe this aspect and the fact that Moodle sends members of a particular threaded discussion emails whenever anyone responds to the same threaded discussion--believe this is the beauty of the program's constructionist
epistemology. It allows users to constructively explore the various activities
within a given block simply because they are only a click away. Then, especially because of emails that are sent out with each response to an elected threaded discussion, the program enables users to socially construct knowledge through forum dicussions. I have a touch time presenting this perspective because the proprietary programs also have forums, assessment and content. Do they also email each member of a specific threaded discussion each time a reply is entered? Is this the entire perspective of the social constructivist theory?
1) Workshops. I'm planning to recommend workshops and online training (movies, animations, and procedural documents for each module within Moodle as well as an online movie to orient users to the Moodle interface). However, I would like to recommend that the length of the current 6-hour, week long Bb workshops be reduced to merely 3 2-hour sequenced Moodle workshops by focusing on orienting instructors with simultaneous hands on instruction. Currently, the Bb instruction consists of about 2-3 hours of classroom instruction followed by 3-4 hours of free time to practice what they've learned. There is little tech support, tutorials, procedures, or even online training, mostly because of poor advertising.
Our training department teaches students and instructors to use a variety of software programs, advanced programs, such as MS Access, Adobe PhotoShop, Dreamweaver, etc. by orienting them to the interface of each application, and introducing them to the tools. The intermediate workshop quickly goes over the main points of the beginning workshop and then covers more advanced features. The advanced workshop follows a similar progression.
If one adds online training (movies, procedural Word documents) to the Moodle interface to both orient users to interact with the Moodle interface as well as set up each and every module as well as functionally connect them into a Moodle lesson and course, I believe the shorter workshops would be enough given the online reinforcement.
However, I don't know the intricacies of setting up a course in Moodle or Bb, so if you are willing, I would certainly appreciate your insight into this recommendation for a shorter set of training workshops.