University Of Fort Hare Blackboard, This study locates the Blackboard Learning Management System as a Technology Enhanced Learning tool within the bounds of the discipline of eLearning and aimed to interrogate the use of Blackboard for the purposes of teaching, learning and assessment in large classes.
It is evident from the literature reviewed that changes in both Higher Education in the South Africa with regards to policy and legislation in addition to international shifts towards increased access and participation in a fast paced, ever-evolving knowledge-based economy, providing the context for this work. The theoretical framework for this study is not unidimensional due to the fact that the educational field of eLearning as an area of specialisation draws on a multitude of theories in terms of their utility value for instructional design of courses utilising Information and Communications Technology as a mode of delivery.
This study was conducted within the bounds of an interpretivist paradigm as the researcher sought to focus on the use of Blackboard and the experiences of the lecturers and students involved in the implementation thereof. The research design for this study took the form of a case study and a multiple case method was employed.
The researcher collected data through personal interviews conducted with participating lecturers, while student data was collected by means of a qualitative survey which was conducted through the Blackboard Learning Management System. The data was analyzed by means of a thematic analysis, consistent with the interpretive paradigm chosen for this study.
The findings of this study revealed that Blackboard was utilised effectively in order to facilitate communication, access to course resources and promoted more efficient assessment processes. The implementation was however not without challenges many of which were systemic and focused on the lack of resources available to the students.
The implications of using Blackboard for teaching and assessment of large classes include the use of the Learning Management System as part of a multimodal method of course delivery in an effort to reach the multitude of registered students both conceptually as well as electronically. The recommendations arising from this study include consideration on the part of the faculty for a unified approach in the use of Blackboard for communication as well as deployment of resources. Additionally, this study may form the foundation of further studies in this field, with a focus on the active engagement and training of lecturers in order to integrate traditional teaching methods with blended learning opportunities.