Blackboard 9.1 Upgrade Scheduled for June 2011

CIT’s Course Technology Services team, in partnership with faculty and CU Library, conducted an Alternative Course Management System (CMS) Evaluation Project (2007) and a Moodle Pilot (2008-09) in an effort to explore possible alternatives to Blackboard. The results were reported in a business case that was reviewed by the Information Technology Governance Committee (ITGC*). Options presented in the business case included a change to Moodle or upgrading to the most recent version of Blackboard (v 9.1).

The ITGC decided that at this time it is in the best interest of Cornell to upgrade to Blackboard version 9.1, rather than switch to Moodle. Given the significant changes Cornell is currently experiencing, the ITGC determined that an upgrade represented the least amount of change at this time. This decision does not preclude a long term discussion and continued strategy development for campus course management services. Rather, it was a decision to continue to offer a stable and up-to-date course management system, until a strategic plan can be developed for academic computing.

The upgrade to Blackboard 9.1 will be implemented in June 2011. Instructor preferences gathered during both the Alternative CMS Evaluation Project and the Moodle Pilot did help inform the decision to continue with Blackboard, as many of the teaching and learning features preferred in Moodle are available in Blackboard 9.1. Some of the features instructors can look forward to once the Blackboard upgrade is complete include an improved grade center & assignment features, “web 2.0” interface improvements, new blog & journal features, and fewer clicks to navigate & complete tasks.

The following resources can help instructors get familiarized with what to expect with Blackboard 9.1:

*The ITGC’s role within Reimagining Cornell is to pursue cost savings opportunities in areas such as desktop support, management of servers and storage, application development, and strengthen processes for managing campus-wide IT activities and investments in the future.