Students give Blackboard platform passing grades

A Detroit Mercy student works in the McNichols Library. / VN photo by Devonne Mccullough


Blackboard is the platform professors at Detroit Mercy use to give lectures, class materials and assignments to students. And for the most part, it’s working fairly well, according to students.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the vast majority of undergraduate classes have been online.

His courses are going mostly well, according to Nicholas Cucchi, a senior communications major.

Cucchi noted that the reading load seems more than usual but he believes courses have transitioned smoothly from in-person to online.

When it comes to Blackboard, Cucchi sees it as pretty straight forward, although he rarely turns on his camera.

Only one of his classes features a live lecture.

Cucchi had no improvement suggestions for the platform because none of his classes are “super Blackboard Collaborate heavy.”

Fourth-year architecture major Omari Crume also offered a positive review.

Crume believes that online courses are fine but admits to having trouble finding motivation.

“A lot of outside situations like work and family are causing extra stress with getting work done,” said Crume.

Of course, that’s not Blackboard’s fault.

Crume noted that one professor was unable to join the course call properly, forcing the class to start an hour late. And it’s still happening, he said with a laugh.

“Blackboard Collaborate is cool, especially when the professors know what they're doing,” he said. “But, overall, I always liked its layout for breakout groups and presentations. Wish it was more user friendly with being able to change and upload files to a session.”

Crume only occasionally uses his camera, due its lower quality, the lighting and a background that can be hectic because of siblings.

“Asynchronous learning is the best option for me,” he said. “But I still enjoy doing regular lectures. It is just difficult to feel engaged in an online class, especially when the material isn't very interesting.”

Joe Duprey, a fourth-year business administration major, said that his classes are going great but he could definitely do without the online presentation.

“I have a love-hate relationship with it,” he said. “Since they’re asynchronous, I can fit school around my current work schedule and social life. But there’s an element of in-person instruction that I miss and wish I could go back to.”

When classes first started, students could set their profiles to whatever they wanted. He found it funny when people had memes as their profiles.

Duprey only turns on his camera when requested.

He noted there is definitely less participation and that it is more challenging for professors to help students.

“I would definitely like to see more faces. I feel like I’m speaking into the void,” said Duprey.

Gloria Regis, a sophomore biology major, said that her online classes are all right but probably worse than in previous semesters.

She has a hard time studying and focusing with online courses but believes that Blackboard Collaborate is good for what it needs to do.

When it comes to participation, Regis holds a similar view as Duprey.

There is less participation, she said.

She used to participate every class period but now it is a lot harder to participate because some classes don’t meet and professors can’t see student faces.

She said she would like if teachers encouraged cameras to be turned on, classes met at least once weekly and group breakout rooms were offered.

She said her psychology professor had breakout groups and she believed that it definitely encouraged her to talk more, especially when there was the incentive of extra-credit points.