Blackboard Vista makes transition


Kent State recently updated its Blackboard Vista website.

Dominique Lyons

Students at Kent State are in for a new learning experience with Blackboard Learn, the successor to Blackboard Vista.

Preeti Palvankar, who is in charge of Blackboard at Kent State, said Blackboard Vista was last updated in 2008. She said the change to Blackboard Learn won’t be instant.

“We usually give faculty one to one-and-a-half years to transition,” Palvankar said. “This fall it will be open to all faculty who choose to use it … and by the end of next summer we’ll have everybody moved over (to Blackboard Learn).”

Palvankar said Blackboard Learn greatly improves on the clunky user interface of Blackboard Vista and gives faculty the ability to upload videos, images and audio files. In addition, it provides 15 different question formats as opposed to Vista’s seven, has a group management system for students and allows self and peer assessments. It also has a new anti-plagiarism feature called Safe Assign, which “looks through a lot of global databases and detects if something has been copied.”

Blackboard Learn also has Wimba, the next step in online classes.

“You can get all your students together,” Palvankar said. “They all log in, they can raise their hands, talk to you; you can do desktop sharing, you can do PowerPoint. It’s a pretty robust tool.”

Palvankar said there are currently more than 300 sections ­— not courses — in Blackboard Learn, and as she makes presentations to the various colleges, the number will undoubtedly grow.

Students should expect to see the change in the near future, especially when the spring semester rolls around.

Contact Dominique Lyons at [email protected].