The blackboard enables student to effectively manage their studies by providing access to course modules and valuable tutorials. It also allows students to exchange information with their lecturer, classmates and tutors. As of every other service, there is a need to evaluate the effectiveness of the Blackboard in helping the students to achieve excellence in their field of study and also its market appeal. To do this, the SWOT - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats- strategic tool learned in the Business and Management Systems lecture will be used in evaluating the level of service the Blackboard can offer.
The primary strength of the service is the inclusion of the feature Personal Tutorial (PT) and Personal Development Planning (PDP). The feature enables students to communicate with their tutor and clarify matters on a certain topic. It also permits Contents of Course Modules to be uploaded in their 'native format'(meaning the format of the course content can be uploaded as it is whether it is a Word document, Excel Spreadsheet or even a movie file). This feature enables students to fully appreciate the lectures that they were given. The idea is that the student can remember the discussion on a certain topic when the format used in their lecture is used for their private study. This feature is also quite powerful in terms of appeal to users because the student can now seek help, advice and notes from well-versed tutors anytime they want whether they are at home or in their native countries - this may arise due to some unforeseen events necessitating the need to travel. It must also be remembered that learning gaps is surely to occur due to communication problems between the lecturer and international students who are not yet adept in using the English language. With the use of the PT and PDP, the students can clarify some points, in which communication problem occurred, with the tutor and other students.
The Blackboard is also remarkable due to its Content Collection because it enables students to see announcements made involving their subjects. All announcements for all Blackboard sites the student belongs to are aggregately posted. This eliminates the need to browse through all the subjects to check for announcements. Other virtual learning environments do not provide this feature. Besides the announcement feature, the Content Collection section enables past exam papers and grades to be viewed for review in the future. These facilities are definitely plus factors in terms of attractiveness of the service because it enables the student to have an easily accessible future reference source.
Another noteworthy feature is the Assignment facility which enables students to pass assignments in electronic data form. This enables the students to pass assignments even if they are in faraway places. Another plus of the service is that the username and password format are very easy to remember (username format uses the student registration's number preceded with a W and the last number deleted, password format uses the student's registered birth date as a default password). The provision for storage of accomplished works by the Portfolio feature also adds to the market appeal of the service. This added feature, non-existent in virtual