BYU Learning Suite in, Blackboard out


by Jimmy Hebda

New BYU online programs are replacing Blackboard for easier use and to facilitate learning among students.

BYU created new online Learning Suite tools that are currently available to students. Blackboard is being phased out as an online BYU resource, in favor of the newer and updated systems such as BYU Gradebook, BYU Syllabus Builder and BYU Mid-Course Evaluation. This process has been ongoing for the past year, and Blackboard will be removed completely by May 2012, according to the Information Technology Center.

Some BYU students were unaware of the changes but were looking forward to the new resources.

Cindy Gonzalez, a sophomore majoring in business human resources, said she is in favor of changing Blackboard.

“I would be for a new updated system,” Gonzalez said. “As long as it has your grades, assignments and presentations compatible on one program, I would be all for it.”

Other students agreed Blackboard is outdated and welcome a new online resource that would be convenient for classes and easy to use.

Russel Ellsworth, a sophomore open major, said he has had compatibility problems with Blackboard in the past.

“Blackboard seemed like it was usually out of date,” Ellsworth said. “It got the job done, but it seemed old. It’s like looking at an old textbook. It would usually not work with my Internet browsers.”

The new programs encompass everything Blackboard has, said Liz Vera, an employee at BYU Information Technology Center. She said there are six main components of the new BYU Learning Suite: Syllabus Builder, Learning Outcomes, Flash Cards, Digital Dialog, Mid-Course Evaluations and Gradebook. Each has its own tools and capabilities integrated to make communication between campus, faculty and students more efficient. For example, Syllabus Builder updates automatically each semester. A syllabus can be shared online or exported as a PDF or Word document.

Students interviewed responded positively about the new features of the updated online system.

Joe Cronin, a junior majoring in exercise science, said he liked the automated updates available.

“I would love a new system that updates assignments and grades automatically,” Cronin said. “I like how the new system is attached to AIM so you can see where your grade is at faster.”

There are several new additional online components being added to the system in the fall. The new programs are My Courses, Content, Exams and Email/Announcements. These programs will all be tested in the fall for limited use and the general release will be on Dec. 11, according to the Learning Suite website. To see more about each online component visit


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