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Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackboard *

Jan Stewart

In my opinion, dustless chalk is about as dustless as a floppy disk is floppy. Actually, those of us who remember the 5¼” floppy disk can appreciate the etymology of the word “floppy.” “Dustless,” on the other hand, is probably a clever marketing misnomer, designed to play on every classroom teacher’s dream of exiting the class with clean hands. Alas! the whiteboard revolution has brought a Pyrrhic victory. With certain types of markers, writing that is not promptly erased means using a lot of elbow grease to erase the board when you are finally ready. Using the wrong type of marker could mean resorting to acetone to clean the board. There is also the constant problem of empty markers which leave writing that students cannot read from the back of the room, where many prefer to sit. Enter the Blackboard Learning Management System (Bb LMS). Gone is the dust of the chalkboard era. Gone are the toxic fumes of whiteboard markers. Here to stay are all the wonders of the electronic age. Well, almost all the wonders. Even the most useful computerized system has its drawbacks as well as its strong points. This paper will examine the Blackboard Learning Management System in terms of thirteen of its most salient features. I will begin with the Manual, which was magnanimously provided by the support staff, but which in itself exhibits shortcomings that tend to defeat the usefulness of the system generally. Where these shortcomings are most detrimental, I will expound upon them and offer clarifification for the benefit of the reader.

* With just as many apologies to Wallace Stevens.
#13 Online Manual

The Bb Manual is available online. All you have to do is visit the Chikushi
Jogakuen web site at
Blackboardのマニュアルについて (the last entry)
◆ 学生
  ◆ インストラクター

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