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).