A trap. Blackboard looks like a trap sometimes. But BB 9.0 seems to be more friendly and there are more interesting tools comparing it to the previous release. So at least it allows me to have faith in a better future. Hopefully in the future Blackboard will also include the Wimba Pronto feature that I see a little lighter and easy to use for synchronous conversation compared to Elluminate.
I think Lisa is right when she says that CMS are usually imposing pedagogy instead of being tools in the instructor’s hands, but it is also true that instructors need some time to get familiar with the CMS and it is not always an easy process. It is like in any learning process. When you learn to drive, for example. At the beginning it seems the car is driving you, and not vice-versa. Eventually the driver will take control of the car and will use it at its best performances. But for some drivers that moment never comes and they keep being driven by the car for their entire life. It could very well happen with the use of CMS too...
The Moodle Tool Guide is very interesting and very useful to put the CMS at the service of pedagogy. I checked out the CMS Claroline and I have to say that it looks a lot like BlackBoard. Many of the screenshots are very similar. A little cleaner but in the end not much different. The website EduTools is really good! The comparison feature is amazing and it helps a lot to navigate in the sea of opportunities.
In my opinion the CMS should be able to provide a lot of features but at the same time it should be almost invisible. The less it constrains the instructor the better it is. It should provide a safe and light structure that should be an easy gateway to the internet.