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ERIC Number: EJ829021
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan-16
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
A Wired Way to Rate Professors--and to Connect Them
Young, Jeffrey R.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n19 pA11 Jan 2009
This article reports on Blackboard, a course-management system used by the University of Maryland-Baltimore County to rate and track the "most active instructors" using the university's course-management system. Just about every college has such a system these days, designed to track assignments and manage online class discussions, but the Maryland campus is perhaps the first to publish campuswide usage statistics. Administrators are not suggesting that the professors leading the rankings are any better at teaching than those low on the list--but they may be better with technology. The data let those who are not so tech-savvy find more expert colleagues and trade tips, said John Fritz, the administrator who manages Blackboard at the university and who dreamed up the hit-tracker software. Many college leaders have been trying for years to get professors to go beyond chalk to try technological tools that jazz up their teaching. But the independent ethos of the college environment has made it difficult to spread new teaching practices among more-reluctant professors. Colleges have tried various carrots: Some give professors fancy new office computers in exchange for attending training sessions. Others give grants to professors who experiment with technology. But the genius of Mr. Fritz's "Blackboard Reports" is that it gives professors who top the list (and those who top department-by-department breakdowns) bragging rights--and a quantifiable measure they can put on a resume.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland