Sent: Sunday, March 11, 2007 10:27 PM
Cc: Susan S. Wood
Subject: Instructional Technology Notice: Digital Drop Box Unavailable in Upgrade to Bb 7
To VCCS Vice Presidents and Provosts,
The Digital Drop Box function will be made globally unavailable to colleges in the upgrade to Blackboard 7. VCCS Academic Services and Research concurs with the recommendation made by VCCS Information Technology Services (ITS) to discontinue availability of the Digital Drop Box in the upgrade to Blackboard 7. Problems with the Digital Drop Box have been documented, such as the disappearance of student work, errors in submission dates and times, and the delayed appearance of submitted files. Lack of functionality can impact on critical academic issues including the flow of instruction and the assignment of grades. The ITS technical recommendation and background are included below.
Campus instructional technologists and trainers should instruct their faculty in the use of the recommended replacement tool, the Assignment Manager. Excellent training materials are available on the explore.vccs.edu log-in page.
Please share this notice with deans, faculty, instructional technologists, and others as appropriate at your college. Questions should be directed to Dr. Inez Farrell, Director of Instructional Technology, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Digital Drop Box was first introduced as a new feature in Blackboard 5.5 as a tool for students to exchange files with instructors. Soon the colleges who were using it began experiencing and reporting problems with the Digital Drop Box. The problems were serious in nature and threatened the integrity of academic records. Documented incidents include student files disappearing from the Digital Drop Box of instructors, submitted files having incorrect dates and times of submissions, and grade disputes filed because of delayed assignment reception although the student submitted on time.
In 2005, colleges were encouraged to discontinue the use of the Digital Drop Box and to use instead the Assignment Manager. Also in 2005, the Blackboard Administrator Guidelines recommended that the Digital Drop Box be made unavailable. IssueTrak tickets filed in 2006 regarding the Digital Drop Box remain unresolved as solutions were not forthcoming from Blackboard. In November 2006, the Distance and Distributed Learning Committee (DDLC) heard a report from ITS regarding significant challenges with the Digital Drop Box.