So, Blackboard 9 has an Assignments feature, Calendar, and Tasks.

You might think, that if I created an Assignment, and gave it a Due Date, maybe it would automatically show as a Task and on the Calendar. Maybe, from the Calendar, you could automatically click to go to the Assignment where the handout and instructions are.

But you’d be wrong.

Okay, let’s dial back my expectations. Calendar and Tasks are both about helping students manage their time, so maybe Tasks will automatically be put on the Calendar even if there is no integration with Assignments.

Still wrong.

Oh hey, the new course home page offers direct reminders to Calendar and Tasks. That’s cool, but wait— Gee, Calendar only shows stuff in the next 7 days. And Tasks shows a list, but you have to click More to see the due dates.

Seems sub-optimal.

Hey, how about a “download calendar events and import into my calendar” button. JUST KIDDING! Blackboard would never be that useful.

Despite knowing how screwed up this is, I decided to enter all the assignments as Tasks, and the major due dates in the Calendar. More crappy decisions made by the Blackboard designers:

  • all new tasks default to Low Priority. Really?
  • default shows 6 tasks per page. WTF? Plenty of room on the page.
  • doesn’t list My Tasks in date order, but in creation order. Too bad I skipped Essay One first time around, hope my students aren’t depending on this bullshit system.

Damning with faint praise: BB 9 does appear to have improved something such I’m willing to even press the little buttons to experiment with these features, instead of just logging out as soon as possible. On the other hand, I’m avoiding doing syllabi, so it didn’t really jump a high bar there….

Fucking Blackboard.