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Blackboard Use at Wentworth

Stephen Cahill, Juan Maldonado, John Lavasseur


MGMT 250
Professor Desmond
December 9th, 2014

Table of Contents
Executive Summary.3
Introduction4
Review of Literature.4
Research Methods5
Results6
Conclusions...7
References.8

Appendices....8

Executive Summary
Blackboard is a useful tool for both students and professors at Wentworth
Institute of Technology. When used properly, students are able to submit work and get
immediate feedback through an easily navigable website. Sadly many students have
professors that do not fully utilize the opportunity that Blackboard presents. In our
surveys we noticed that eighty percent of students did use Blackboard for at least two
or three of their classes. While the feedback may be critical the general consensus of
Blackboard was positive and supportive. The criticism we received was more oriented
towards the amount of attention given by certain professors rather than the website
lacking in accessibility or convenience.

In the age we live in, the Internet is used as a tool to enhance the learning
experience for students. In addition, students and professors can collaborate on their
desired platform.

Introduction
In this new era of technology educational systems across the country have
begun to implement information services that students can utilize in order to be more
efficient and productive with their school work. Systems such as the Blackboard
learning platform which allows students and professors to supply and access their
academic work with ease as well as bring the grading aspect online are efficient and
effective. Their purpose is to make students more productive and give them a simple
method of accessing work and submitting work, it also gives professors an easy method
of grading and organizing and controlling their students work. We understand the use of
this platform and its purpose but our goal is to research and figure out if students are

even using the platform and if they are satisfied with it. The results will allow us to
determine any necessary improvements as well discover the reason behind a students
preference in academic management.

Review of the Literature


The research we conducted as a group has also been performed by others in
academia. Upon searching online for similar studies done about the use of Learning
Management systems, we found one specific study that was similar to the one we
conducted. In the study that Moez Limayem (University of Arkansas) and Christy M.K
Cheung conducted (Hong Kong Baptist University) observations were made through a
voluntary trial period. The method by which Moez and Christy gathered data was
through an email invitation. All first year students of the local university were sent an
email survey inquiring about their BlackBoard usage.
In order to increase the amount of participants in the survey, they provided an
incentive which was in the form of bookstore cash coupons. Next participants were
asked to fill out an online questionnaire about their experience with Internet-based
learning technologies. In contrast with the methods used by Moez and Christy, we
gathered our data in a more personal environment where we handed out questionnaires
and had a one on one experience with each participant. In the article mentioned above,
Moez and Christy created a table in order to outline which aspects of BlackBoard were
looked at. They included, perceived usefulness, confirmation, satisfaction, continuance
intention, habit, prior behavior, and continued use. After collecting and analyzing the
data collected from their study, they came to the conclusion that if students gain
experience with the system, there is a shift from a consciously driven to a habitual

behavior (5). In other words, when the system available to students is used on a
regular basis at first, it then becomes more of a habitual behavior for them regarding
their coursework.

Research Methods
In order to determine the effectiveness of the Blackboard Learning System we
needed to study student usage. We ran a series of surveys through Wentworths
campus gathering information from a variety of different students across different
majors. The survey consisted of 6 questions that involved students interaction with the
platform. The questions are as follows:
1. As a student here at WIT, do you use Blackboard? If not, please explain
why?
2.
3.
4.
5.

How many times per week do you use Blackboard?


How many classes are you currently enrolled in here at WIT?
Do all of your professors use Blackboard? If no, how many do?
How would you rate the ease of use of Blackboard on a 1-5 scale? (1-

poor, 2-fair, 3-good, 4-great, 5-excellent) Why?


6. Do you prefer to handle classwork and homework through email, hard
copies or blackboard?
These questions provided us with the answers to better understand how much students
use Blackboard as well as how much their professors use it and their satisfaction or
dissatisfaction with the service. After gathering the information and analyzing we could
theorize what may cause any dissatisfaction as well as what can be improved.

Results

Having conducted the survey and organizing the results we were able to
determine how much students use Blackboard and predict the influences behind them.
We discovered that around 80% of students use Blackboard for any form of academic
use. Out of this 80%, 58% of them claimed only 2 to 3 out of their 5 classes used
Blackboard. The results of satisfaction show that students were fairly satisfied with the
ease of use and user experience of Blackboard. On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best
the results were
0% - 1

14% - 2

34% - 3

36% - 4

14% - 5.

These results show that there is moderate amount of use by both students and
professors and they are satisfied. The last question of the survey asked students what
was their preferred method of delivering work to professors. Surprisingly, Blackboard
was the least chosen option. The results were
20% chose hard copies
30% chose via Email
20% chose Blackboard
Although students use and are satisfied with Blackboard they still do not place it as their
preferred method of handing in work. We can formulate a theory that the reason for this
could be the lack of consistency among professors as well as poor user experience.
Perhaps the GUI is not suitable to the students needs.
Conclusion
The purpose of the study we conducted was to gather data about the use and
effectiveness of Blackboard. In order to gather this information we needed to formulate
questions that would answer pressing questions regarding Learning Management

Systems. After formulating these questions we went into the field to administer the
questionnaire and gather results. With the results we gathered we were able to come to
the conclusion that Blackboard is a useful tool for all students at Wentworth when
teachers are constantly updating their classes materials.
References
Limayem, Moez, Cheung M.K Christy. Understanding information systems
continuance: The case of Internet-based learning technologies. Information &
Management: Web . 16 April 2008.
Appendices
Do Wentworth students use Blackboard?
Is it an effective program?
Does any professor not use Blackboard?
Does this change your opinion of the teacher?
What changes would you want Blackboard to make?
Should Wentworth seek a better program?