Updated: Nov 12, 2020
Anchor Staff Writer
Since distance learning began, students and educators knew there would be both academic and technological issues. Whether it be the glitchy zoom meetings or the lack of concentration, online schooling is less than ideal. A big part of Rhode Island College’s online classes takes place on Blackboard. From the tireless readings to the repetitive discussion boards, the student body is in desperate need of a change. The question we have been asking our peers has been; what else can we do? Can we come with an alternative that will keep our students engaged, and actually excited for class? After interviewing several students from RIC and the University of Rhode Island, many opinions were added to debate if Blackboard was best.
In an interview with URI student Harrison Pimentel, we asked him about the different platforms their universities use. In his first year at the university Pimentel used a platform known as Sakai, which turned out to be less than adequate when taking online classes last semester. Pimentel claims “it was old, outdated, and just not prepared for distance learning.” Often deleting students’ work, and glitching out frequently, URI switched their learning platforms entirely for this school year. Now using Brightspace, Pimentel seems to have a better grasp on his assignments, and has more drive to complete them. He claims that the platform “is more updated and helps you to organize your work, which is extra tough when learning independently.” Brightspace seems to be working for URI students, but is it the right fit for RIC?
Rhode Island College student Haley Travieso had a quite blunt opinion on Blackboard, and it was not very positive. Having a full class load this semester with only two of her classes meeting on zoom, Travieso spends most of her time doing classwork on Blackboard and teaching herself. She added that, “Even though I complete my work, I learn absolutely nothing on Blackboard.” When asking her what platform she would suggest she exclaimed “Google Classroom.”
From my own personal experience with Google Classroom, I have found that it is a lot more interactive and overall aesthetically pleasing. Google Classroom is already being used in half of my classes, and I feel more connected to my classmates and professors within it. It is an outlet with pristine organization compared to Blackboard, and is easy to follow for both professors and students. Could Google Classroom be the new Blackboard and are all professors and adjuncts willing to make the switch?