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Northern Arizona University Adopts Blackboard Learn To Reduce Staff Management
Northern Arizona University
(NAU) has chosen a proprietary learning
platform over an open source competitor in an effort to reduce costs
and management responsibilities for university staff.
Following pilot programs of each platform with approximately 1,000
students in 30 courses, NAU settled on Blackboard Learn Release 9.1.
Blackboard Learn will allow NAU to host the system internally while
relying on Blackboard staff for ongoing maintenance and support, which
turned out to be cheaper than the cost of licensing, training,
integrating, and migrating courses for the open source alternative.
Other factors that led to the decision include:
- The ability to learn from Blackboard's global user community;
- Blackboard's SafeAssign plagiarism detection tool;
- The ability to integrate the platform with the school's current
student information system; and
- A messaging system better suited to students and faculty.
"As a campus, we decided that Blackboard Learn was the best platform
support our institution now and into the future," said Don Carter,
director of e-learning at Northern Arizona University. "We have found
in some cases that open source communities can be dispersed and lacking
continuity, and managing an open source system over time would have
required more work than we wanted to invest. Instead, we can leverage
Blackboard to manage the system and invest our efforts in working with
our peers to develop integrations and building blocks that help us
customize and improve the platform for our specific needs."
Currently, NAU uses Blackboard Collaborate for online course delivery,
course evaluations, and human resources interviews. The university has
also launched NAU Mobile,
an app that provides access to campus
services and courses via mobile devices, in collaboration with
Established in 1899, NAU serves an enrollment of approximately
25,000 students with 95 undergraduate degree programs and 57 graduate
More information about Blackboard Learn is available at blackboard.com.
Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.