Encountering Balrog 9…I mean, Blackboard 9

Oh, my, that start page is ugly. Looks like all they’ve done is moved everything to little menus on the side.

OK, let’s customize that home page. Add my own banner, which has worked and looked beautiful on everything from a plain web page to WordPress. Hmmmm….

Looks like maybe we’re not getting the idea of a white background?

OK, I’ll click that cool gearwheel on Announcements. Maybe I can change settings there to email students or something. Oh, a click down just to do this?

OK, I’ll do a welcome announcement. I’d like a snazzy font for it — this HTML tool bar, which I had to click Thawte’s “Trust” to get to appear, certainly seems full-featured. Oh, these are the only fonts?

It’s starting to feel a little Microsoft here. And it took me a minute to figure out how to get back to the Home Page, where my Announcement isn’t actually in the announcement box — it’s just a link.

So really, nothing’s changed except that you can now embed more media — the toolbar is more complete and lets you upload or link out to a URL. Very, very good. But the discussions are still threaded rather than nested, too many clicks are required to get to something simple, and it’s still got that DOS feel.

I haven’t gotten swiped off the bridge, but it’s not looking good so far…

Then my colleague Pilar Hernández did a screencast to show me how she’s made her Bb site for her class behave more like Moodle. We’re still in the mines, but maybe there’s some light showing…