Taking a Cadillac to School


By now you know my delivery vehicle on sight.  Recently Professor Linda Main of San Jose State University invited me to take a spin in a Cadillac. San Jose State has moved into web-based instruction in a serious way and has invested in a web-based course-management system called Blackboard.  Let me tell you a bit about it.

Blackboard is a designed to allow students and faculty to participate in classes delivered online or use online materials and activities to complement or eliminate face-to-face teaching. Blackboard enables instructors to provide students with course materials, discussion boards, virtual chat, online quizzes, an academic resource center, and more. The degree to which Blackboard is used in a course may vary. For example, instructors may supplement an on-campus class by putting their syllabus and handouts on their course sites. In contrast, other courses may be conducted entirely through Blackboard, without any on-campus sessions.

This is not my first look at Blackboard, but  I can see better than before its potential in teaching genealogy on-line. The look and feel of the system is very professional. There are interesting templates that course builders can use, and all sorts of nifty things.

The challenge many colleges have who have invested in Blackboard is to host sufficient volume of classes, and students, to impress the college admin its worth keeping up.  THat’s an opportunity waiting for the professional genealogist  or genealogy educator. Contact your local college or university and see if they have Blackboard, then go talk to the extension/ continuing education peole to see if there is a place for your genealogy classes on line.


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