By Courtney Hibler
Members of the Youngstown State University Student Government Association are working to promote Blackboard Education among faculty members who may not use it.
According to the Blackboard website, Blackboard is a partnership between Newark Computing Services and the Office of Academic Technology. The system is used to extend the learning environment outside the classroom by including features facilitating teaching, learning and interaction.
Ernie Barkett, president of the SGA and a graduate student majoring in financial economics, said the SGA would like to see all faculty members upload a syllabus and grades for their classes to Blackboard.
The idea to promote Blackboard came from a discussion within SGA, their executive board and the Information Technology Department at YSU.
“We have received numerous complaints from students of professors not using Blackboard,” Barkett said. “After a meeting with the IT Department, we decided to get working on it.”
Daunisha Lude, a sophomore dental hygiene major, said she would like all of her professors to use Blackboard because of its convenience.
“All but one of my professors haven’t used [Blackboard] at all this semester,” she said. “It’s very frustrating.”
Students who would like to help SGA to promote Blackboard as well are encouraged by Barkett to let their dean or professor know Blackboard can help benefit students in the future.
SGA plans to have representatives meet with chairs and deans in their respective colleges to understand what issues are arising with Blackboard.
“We also hope to meet with specific professors who are against using Blackboard,” Barkett said. “We want to see what their concerns are and to inform them on how Blackboard benefits their students.”
Adam Fuller, assistant professor of politics and international relations, said Blackboard doesn’t fit into his preferred teaching style because his classes being based around lectures, in-class discussion and essay writing assignments.
“I prefer the old-fashioned approach to teaching, where professors come together in a room with their students and everyone actually engages one another face-to-face about the vast universe of ideas,” he said. “Education has existed for centuries before any of this computer technology was invented and the human race did just fine without it.”
Although, during the summer semester, Fuller did use Blackboard and received negative feedback from his students when they told him they preferred in-class discussions.
Sarah Jenyk, senior lecturer in the Department of Economics, has a different outlook on Blackboard.
“I use Blackboard for some of my classes,” she said. “I find it useful for students and myself.”
In Barkett’s opinion, using Blackboard can help students and keep them updated with their assignments and schedules.
Barkett added that Blackboard may help the student produce a more informed decision on whether they should withdraw, drop or continue a certain class.
“Having a readily available syllabus will decrease the chances a student misses an assignment,” he said. “If all grades are uploaded on Blackboard, then a student will have a better understanding of where they stand in the class.”