NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Is Blackboard Useful?

By Lucy Kigathi

“Welcome to the Blackboard site. Please take some time to become familiar with this site,” said Patricia Portanova.

This is a typical announcement that students read typically after registering for classes at NECC.

Blackboard is a website that professors use for any assignments, announcements, class syllabus and even grades.

For the most part, it is easy to use and does not require an extensive amount of computer literacy to navigate the site. It is a way for teachers to directly connect with their students and reach them all at once.

Whether it’s a class cancellation, updates on upcoming due dates or posting lecture notes, it is an important part of a student’s college career. Even though it is a widely used source, not all professors choose to use it.

So if it is not a requirement for the professors, the question arises as to, is it really useful or not?

Many students open their Blackboard accounts and directly derive what they need to do from the site. NECC student Rumaira Balborda said, “If I don’t come to class, I can catch up online. I can see lecture notes, assignments and grades.” That is one positive aspect of the site– if students do not come to class, they do not have to fall behind.

Teachers often link any reading materials on the site that aid the learning experience. Edwin Henriquez also said, “It saves me money from buying books, makes things easier, and keeps things organized.”

It seems as though blackboard is a “smart idea,” Henriquez said. It is right at students’ fingertips with the option to link email to blackboard account, therefore receiving any postings right to students’ cell phones.

Since not all professors choose to use blackboard for their classes, does this mean it benefits some courses more than others?

Patrick Lavin said, “I like it with online courses but not in class. It is not a benefit for lecture classes… some have enough classes and material so it’s not needed.”

When students pick their classes, there is no questionnaire that asks them to choose whether they would like to use it or not. The class description will not clearly state it– the only way students would find out is on the first day of class. So it is completely up to the professor.