Saving time while building courses? Actually, it is possible! The Content Editor, which is based on the industry standard TinyMCE WYSIWYG editor, was recently launched and vastly improves the user experience for entering text and adding content to all areas of your Blackboard course.
Kevin Lowey, System Administrator at the University of Saskatchewan and Liuz Teixiera, Course Manager at UCLA Extension, both participated in the Content Editor Early Release Program which gave nearly 200 clients early access to the new editor.
They shared with me how one seemingly small improvement in education software means one big leap toward educator efficiency.
Why did you want to be involved in influencing the new Content Editor?
Our campus migrated from WebCT to Blackboard. The inability of the old Virtual Text Box Editor to edit files imported from WebCT severely impacted existing practices (such as letting instructors edit the instructor bio each year). We needed early access to the new Content Editor so that we could deploy the editor to production for our September 2012 term. We also wanted to be involved in the development process so that we could be sure that the editor was really addressing our needs.
The previous Virtual Text Box Editor had several incompatibilities issues. In particular, the majority of our users reported issues when copying and pasting from Word. While “Paste From Word” was available to our users most did not remember to use it. The fact that the new editor is based on the industry standard also helped in our decision to become early adopters.
How has participating in Blackboard Community Programs – such as the Early Release Program, impacted your change management process?
As system administrators, we definitely want to be involved in future beta programs. Early access to new features lets us both influence the final design of these features and better plan for the deployment of those features on our campus. It also let us demonstrate the new capabilities early to our campus user group, so they knew that solutions to existing problems were coming soon.
What feedback have you received from your faculty about the new Content Editor?
Our faculty love the new editor. The ability to edit files imported from WebCT has made their lives much simpler.
Our instructors like the ability to open the editor in full screen; support for different file formats; the improved math editor; browser compatibility; HTML and CSS editing capabilities.
What do you like most about the new Content Editor?
From a support perspective, we love that the new editor does an excellent job of supporting cut-and-paste from Microsoft Word. The reduced number of support calls from that alone makes the upgrade worth it.
What would you tell other institutions that are upgrading Blackboard Learn about the new Content Editor?
You are going to like it! The new Content Editor adds much needed features and compatibility that are essential for a good user experience all around.
To participate in future community programs that allow clients to influence the product, join the Blackboard Idea Exchange.
Join the Service Pack Upgrade Cohort Program to prepare for your upgrade with Blackboard.