FCBOE may log out of Blackboard for good

The+Fayette+County+Board+of+Education+is+currently+reviewing+options+for+next+year%E2%80%99s+Learning+Management+System.+Because+of+past+complications+with+Blackboard%2C+it+is+very+possible+that+students+will+be+introduced+to+a+new+system+next+year.
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FCBOE may log out of Blackboard for good

The Fayette County Board of Education is currently reviewing options for next year’s Learning Management System. Because of past complications with Blackboard, it is very possible that students will be introduced to a new system next year.

The Fayette County Board of Education is currently reviewing options for next year’s Learning Management System. Because of past complications with Blackboard, it is very possible that students will be introduced to a new system next year.

James Hindy

The Fayette County Board of Education is currently reviewing options for next year’s Learning Management System. Because of past complications with Blackboard, it is very possible that students will be introduced to a new system next year.

James Hindy

James Hindy

The Fayette County Board of Education is currently reviewing options for next year’s Learning Management System. Because of past complications with Blackboard, it is very possible that students will be introduced to a new system next year.

James Hindy, Staff Writer

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From banning book bags to locking up with electronic security doors, Starr’s Mill students have been subject to an abundance of change this school year. 

We’ve just had lots of challenges with Blackboard.”

— Chief Technology Director Jim Farmer

While both of these new procedures primarily affect the student body, there has been discussion of another deviation from the norm that will affect teachers as well — replacing Blackboard. 

“I work with the Technology Services Department and the digital learning team, and we work closely with the curriculum team,” Fayette County Chief Technology Director Jim Farmer said. “We’ve just had lots of challenges with Blackboard.”

Over the past four years, the county has encountered a few hangups in Blackboard’s programming. Talk of replacing the Learning Management System has predominantly stemmed from the matters of inconsistency and the lack of user friendliness.    

“There were times when it wasn’t functioning correctly. We’ve got a lot of services and products in Fayette County, so trying to get everything to work correctly with Blackboard was difficult,” Digital Learning Specialist Mike Fricke said. “That caused some headaches, but hopefully with a new system those integrations will happen easier.” 

When the Fayette County Board of Education first struck a deal with Blackboard, there weren’t many other options for an LMS. However, competition has improved, and, as a result, the county is currently reviewing programs such as Canvas and Schoology.

“The Fayette County Schools have actually gone through an LMS evaluation process that began a while ago,” Farmer said. “Getting schools and a large committee involved really started at the beginning of this school year.” 

the organizational energy it would take to get trained on a new system might wipe out whatever marginal benefit we’d get from a new system.”

— Board of Education Chair Scott Hollowell

Because the Board of Education would like to prevent any future complications with the new LMS, a committee of teachers has been created to give feedback on different programs. While the committee was only established a few months ago, the search for Blackboard’s replacement has acquired a great deal of support and attention. 

“We have almost 300 teachers evaluating,” Digital Learning & Media Services Director Kate Crawford said. “Additionally, we’re going to be rolling out invitations for students to participate as well as making sure that those vendors present to our parents so that the parents have input, the students have input, and, of course, the teachers.”

While a notable amount of educators are eager to modify the organizational aspect of the county’s education system, there are still some in the community that are troubled by the idea of introducing a new LMS next school year.

“I am a little concerned that we’re five years into Blackboard, and people have gotten kind of used to it,” Fayette County Board of Education Chair Scott Hollowell said. “I am kind of worried that the organizational energy it would take to get trained on a new system might wipe out whatever marginal benefit we’d get from a new system.”

It is currently uncertain whether or not replacing Blackboard will be beneficial. To stay up to date and be involved in the decision making process for the next LMS, students and parents should regularly check the FCBOE webpage and attend upcoming board meetings.

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