To Blackboard or Not To Blackboard – Part II

Dear Commons Community,

I had posted my earlier comments about Blackboard  on a closed blog on blended learning that is part of CUNY’s Academic Technology Committee.   My earlier post as well as those by others has generated several fine responses.   What follows is an excerpt from my follow-up post.

On this the eve of one our country’s really fine holidays, I am thoroughly enjoying the discussion that is taking place here on instructional technology, Blackboard and CUNY by some of our most knowledgeable colleagues…

In concentrating on blended learning environments, I have given a number of talks in various forums on “Blending with Purpose:  The Multimodal Model”.  If you are not familiar with it, please see an article complete with a video overview published last spring  at:

A critical aspect of this model or framework is that we (faculty and instructional designers) need to be flexible in applying appropriate software tools to our instructional goals and objectives.   Implied within this is the fact that the Internet and its software tools have and will continue to evolve rapidly and we (faculty and instructional designers) would be wise to maintain some modicum of flexibility and to experiment with these tools to find the right “blend”.    Furthermore, I believe all good teachers are always experimenting and tweaking their materials whether in f2f, fully online or blended environments.   Experimentation and tweaking is what makes our classes vibrant and robust experiences both for our students and for ourselves.     However, …, I would not pull the plug too quickly on Blackboard but we do need to develop an environment that allows and supports experimentation and lets the better approaches flourish.    I would also like to remind us all that Blackboard’s arrival and selection ten or so years ago was in part a faculty-driven initiative   However, it was never envisioned as the end all and be all for teaching and learning on the Internet here at CUNY.

In closing, my best wishes to all of you and yours for Thanksgiving!


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