Tag Archives: incompetence

Blackboard Learn is of the devil. THE DEVIL.

Today’s first I-Hate-Blackboard experience: Availability Follies

I have a merged course in BbL. Although about 65 students are enrolled, I have 105 in Blackboard, and they (plus more) will all be there for the rest of the semester, because apparently it’s very difficult to remove them or something. So my gradebook has a pretty poor signal-to-noise ratio.

I’ve been assuming that about 65 of those students were my true enrollees and the rest were irrelevant to the course. The fact that 30 of the students have the course listed as “unavailable” in the gradebook seemed to bear that out. Now I find out that some of the students for whom the course shell  is not available are actually enrolled in the course and blocked from participating. I got a helpful email from the online learning tech folks showing me how to make the course available for those students. Here’s the process:

  1. Go to Users & Groups
  2. Choose Users
  3. Find the students whose availability is set (for reasons I still don’t understand) to “No”.
    • Note 1: the list, in my case, must be repaginated to display everyone at once–with a predictable increase in page load times–because BbL is incapable of remembering which page of the list I was on, otherwise).
    • Note 2: No, of course you can’t just sort the list by the “availability” column and put all the “No” users at the top. That would be crazy.
  4. One by one, for each name:
    1. Hover by the name so the little “options” button appears
    2. Click the button
    3. Select the option to change availability
    4. Wait for the new screen (a full screen takeover, not a pop-up) to appear
    5. Mouse to, and click, the availability selector drop-down
    6. Select “Yes” and click
    7. Mouse to the other side of the screen and click <submit>
    8. Repeat 30 times
  5. No, you can’t do this to multiple users at once–why would you even ask that?

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Blackboard Learn Cannot Do Basic Math… on Math Tests?

I am so fed up with BbL it’s kind of pathetic. My most recent gripe: BbL seems  to be unable to do basic math… in test items designed to create math questions.

I created a “calculated formula” question as part of a self-test of my undergraduate statistics students’ math preparedness. The question asks the students to evaluate this expression (with variables generated by random processes):

([a] – [b])2 – [c] + ([d]2 + [f])

Looking at the randomly-generated values, I checked the answer on this variant:

(6 – 5)2 – 7 + (72 + 4) –> I calculated 47. BbL said it was -59.

BbL seems to be solving the expression like this:

(6 - 5)2 - 7 + (72 + 4)
  (1)2   - 7 + (49 + 4) 
   1     - 7 + 53       <-- So far, so good
   1     -     60       <-- Oh no! Working right-to-left!

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