August 16, 2004

The seats are bolted to the floor

Writing about web page http://mfeldstein.com/index.php/weblog/fingernails_on_blackboard/

My new favourite analogy for VLEs:-

The analogy I often make with Blackboard is to a classroom where all the seats are bolted to the floor. How the room is arranged matters. If students are going to be having a class discussion, maybe you put the chairs in a circle. If they will be doing groupwork, maybe you put them in groups. If they are doing lab work, you put them around lab tables. A good room set-up canít make a class succeed by itself, but a bad room set-up can make it fail.

That's dead right. You can change the appearance of BlackBoard, you can turn its various functions on or off. But you can't escape the fact that it's got a pedagogy built right into it, and the pedagogy is US-based and centred around the role of the instructor (and I say instructor rather than teacher or academic deliberately).


- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Robert O'Toole

    Is Blackboard more evil than PowerPoint? I suppose Blackboard is like a large thermonuclear device, when it does go off it is devestating. Whereas PowerPoint is more like a disease that does damage everywhere but is less spectacular.

    So why do people use Blackboard? The instructional model is the easiest to replicate online. Whole institutions can be assimilated to it very quickly. It then presents a much more transparent and thus accountable view of what is going on inside an institution. Some people like that.

    17 Aug 2004, 07:23

  2. Graham Lewis

    You have to remember that Blackboard's main market is training not education. Universities are a very small market for most commercial VLEs. The model seems to suit the market it is aimed at very well as an instructivist model suits the transfer of information. It does not suit what we would like to imagine is the more constructivist student cebtred model that is (or should be)the core of a University eduction although of course there are elements of a University course that it does suit.

    See my ramblings in the last edition of Forums – the one on e-Pedagogy to hear me bang on even more about this :-) There are a few other writings on the subject sprinkled through earlier editions of Interactions too.

    There are VLEs that have been designed to be constructivist in theor approach but none of these to my knowledge are commercial products.

    18 Aug 2004, 09:11


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