Older students may remember blackboards in the classroom, giant slates upon which information was written in chalk. While today’s classrooms have replaced these with whiteboards and dry erase markers, the term “blackboard” is increasingly being used in online, or distance, education, serving as the name of the portal through which the student can access information.
These online portals have been developed by Blackboard Inc. an educational technology company located in Washington, D.C. This company provides the software that colleges and universities use for their platforms. Students will often be asked to “post” to “blackboard.” This is a simple process whereby the student logs into their portal, where they can read announcements, participate in discussions, email other students or the professor, as well view upcoming assignments.
Blackboard, in the modern sense, is a tool where professors can add resources for their students’ learning. Not only text, but audio and video files can be posted to blackboard. In many ways, the name is a fitting one for the future of education, in which physically sitting in a classroom is being replaced by the ability to learn from the comfort of one’s own home, at one’s own pace. One of the central features of blackboard is the discussion post thread. When one is told by one’s professor to post to blackboard, he or she generally means that you, the student, are to contribute to the collaborative effort.