Blackboard Cubed

Cube analysis of Blackboard

I haven’t really used E-learning tools other than Blackboard, so I’m digging in to analyze this online platform in regard to its use in our University System in Baja California, Mexico.
I’d just like to contextualize before I begin the analysis: CETYS University is a system consisting of three campuses in Mexicali (main campus), Tijuana and Ensenada. The three campuses are in completely different economical and student population situations. Several years ago, the president along with academic advisors, decided to buy Blackboard for system-wide use.

Face 1: Market Focus

Higher education. As I mentioned, Blackboard was bought by the system to use within University level, although it has also been adopted by high school teachers and students of the same system.

 Face 2: Types of Offerings

Infrastructure. CETYS University initially bought Blackboard to deliver and manage content, considering the possibility to expand on distance education later on.

Face 3: Who is the Buyer?

Blackboard was bought FOR the learner and it was bought centrally. As I mentioned, the three campuses didn’t really make the decision (or teacher for that matter) to buy the software and students are somewhat obligated to use Blackboard for their courses.

Face 4 – Global Markets

We are located in a somewhat complex situation. Although we would technically be situated within the European countries requiring translation, our University System is located in the border with the US, most of your students are fluent English speakers. Our internet and connection services are somewhat poor due to budget restrictions-this last characteristic limits our accessibility to Blackboard, especially in Ensenada’s campus.

 Face 5 – Development of the Market

Market supports export oriented learning technologies and substitution of imports. We currently import much of our infrastructures, but are working towards the development of content and systems that will eventually replace Blackboard within our System.

Face 6 – Learning Technology Competing with Other Forms of Learning

Learning Technology Works With a Well-Developed Learning System. In CETYS’ case, we had a well-defined and developed system before adapting Blackboard onto our System. We have used the platform to extend the reach of our programs and elaborate hybrid courses for students and teachers.


1 Ashley Jones { 09.26.09 at 3:59 pm }

Hi Ana! We use Blackboard at the Secondary school at which I teach and it is interesting to hear your perspective on how it’s working for the University in Mexico. When you say that they are working on developing a new system, is that the University itself? I can imagine the differences (and difficulties) that can arise when using an imported system. Thanks for the great post!

2 Barrie Carter { 09.26.09 at 6:28 pm }

Hello Ana:

Do you know if the university looked at different E-learning systems before deciding to buy Blackboard? That is, did the university consider open source E-learning systems like Moodle, for example?



3 Ana Cecilia Tagliapietra { 09.27.09 at 12:51 pm }

Hi Ashley and Barrie,
The Institution did consider other e-learning systems, but I do not know exactly why it is they chose Blackboard. We were in the process of academic program redesigning, and we had a close communication with the University of Arizona in the US, perhaps its that.
The system we are currently working on is an tailored Electronic Portfolio. I know it doesn’t substitute all of the tools Blackboard has to offer, but most of our teachers only use BB to transfer and receive files, a very small amount uses BB’s discussion forums or BB for online-distant courses.
Surprisingly, the new E-portfolio has worked positively with teachers; they’ve made many suggestions and are slowly beginning to get involved; unlike BB where we can only adapt the tools to our daily use.

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