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Vista Failing "Blackboard" College Courses 207

Posted by Zonk
from the stay-awake-in-the-back-there dept.
writertype writes "Although Blackboard is used to communicate between students and professors at virtually all of PC Magazine/Princeton Review's top 20 wired colleges, when run under a Vista environment users can see glitches. Moreover, IT departments told PC Mag that if Blackboard is used with Vista plus IE7, students can't communicate via the software. When asked why, Microsoft ... waffled. Blackboard says they'll have a fix in place by summer. Meanwhile, are there any other common college apps that Vista fails to work with?"
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Vista Failing "Blackboard" College Courses

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  • Many academic IT departments are suggesting that students and teachers either use an alternative browser such as FireFox or Opera, or disable the feature altogether.
    but I'm somehow not shedding many tears over this issue.
    • by paeanblack (191171) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @05:03AM (#18554083)
      but I'm somehow not shedding many tears over this issue.

      It's really a mess in educational software land. About 2/3rds of the web based edu apps we support on campus work in one browser, and one browser only. Sometimes it's Firefox, sometimes it's IE. Some apps are even pegged to a specific version for no apparent reason. We have to fake different UA strings in different labs just to get this stuff to run.

      Don't get me started with the Adobe DRM crap that every edu app has fallen in love with. It's really easy on the users when they need to use two different browsers to get to different parts of the same frickin' website. Ugh.
      • by jimicus (737525) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @05:44AM (#18554223)
        We have to fake different UA strings in different labs just to get this stuff to run.

        Wouldn't it be easier just to have a web proxy rewrite the UA string? I'm 95% sure squid can do that.

        Back on the topic of educational software though... ughh. I worked in a school for just one year and it was enough to convince me that the way to sell software to schools is to send every school in the country a flyer proclaiming yourself to be "specialists in the education market" - that way you could make a bunch of sales without having to actually produce a half-decent product.

        I was later told that there's a reason for this. Educational software - certainly in the UK - is generally split into two camps.

        On the one hand, you've got stuff written by computer people. It's generally reasonably easy to manage, can be rolled out across a network and is not too much hassle. But it's also generally lousy at getting a point across, so it's not very popular with teachers. Bit of a problem when ultimately it's the teachers who are going to work with it.

        On the other hand, you've got programs written by teachers who happen to have an interest in computing. It's generally quite good at getting a point across (and is thus popular with teachers) but it was usually written by someone who's never had to think beyond the PC on their desk. So the installation instructions say "Go to every PC, insert the CD and type D:\setup". In extreme cases, you find all sorts of annoyances: like parts of the setup program have been hardcoded to assume it's being installed from CD and the CD-ROM drive is drive D. Calling the software manufacturer and pointing out that this isn't terribly practical when the software is to be installed on a few hundred workstations generally results in an answer of "Oh. Never thought of that. Never mind, it only takes 5 minutes to install."

        Multiplying that 5 minutes by the number of PCs which need the software installed is left as an exercise for the reader.

        In the interests of fairness, I should point out that this was a few years ago - before XP was released and MSIs became as common as they are today. But I would be astonished if you were to tell me that things have changed that drastically.
        • by leenks (906881) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @07:13AM (#18554533)
          My mother is a senior teacher at a British primary school, and my father is now a lab technician in a comprehensive secondary school (after a long career in electronics). Both of them experience the same things you describe, even now. However, rather than teachers battling with these things, many bigger schools have their own IT technicians and smaller schools buy in support - not cheap, but it is cheaper than the teachers time usually.

          Many schools still rely on Windows 98 machines for some programs, especially primary schools, as the software will only run on old versions of Windows. Some schools still make use of Acorn Archimedes computers because the software was that good. New computers are expensive, and schools in the UK simply do not have the budget to spend on luxuries such as Vista or XP. Schools, certainly in my county, do not get the advantages of Microsoft discounts because the educational authority appears to be sleeping with computer giants such as RM Nimbus or Viglen. The school is only allowed to buy its computers through these suppliers, and do not get a very good deal. The same companies also provide (well, resell I guess) broadband internet access - at an extortionate rate.

          There is a third case with software - some software is written by ex-teachers that are very good programmers. Sherston software (http://www.sherston.com/) is one example of quality educational software that does things this way.
          • by jimicus (737525)
            Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Fortunately I was working at a private school so it had rather more leeway in terms of what it could do. But even then, you'd be amazed (and rather disappointed) at the rubbish that's foisted on our schools.

            I'm generalising hugely here, but IME most teachers are working to teach. Not to run a computer network. To compound the problem, many teachers haven't spent much time working outside of a school so they've not developed the same degree of cynicism when faced w
      • by line-bundle (235965) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @12:24PM (#18556275) Homepage Journal
        I few days ago I had the mispleasure of running into something called sealed[media].

        It insisted on Adobe Reader 7.0. Not Adobe Professional 7.0 which I had installed, not Adobe Reader 8, which Adobe had on their website, not Adobe 6 Reader on my laptop.

        I hope sealed[media] gets eaten by a grue.
        • by Nimey (114278)
          Last I checked, you could still get AcroRead 7.0.9 from Adobe's website.

          Failing that, Oldversion.com has 7.0.8; however, that's vulnerable to the website security bug discovered last month.
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)
      Here's the thing I don't get about that. My school uses Blackboard, and Firefox doesn't work properly with it. Most of it does, but uploading files doesn't work because the JVM (granted, Sun fault) locks up while using the upload dialog. IE works fine, however.

      Granted, not with Vista - with XP.
  • by davmoo (63521) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @04:44AM (#18554005)
    When asked why, Microsoft ... waffled.

    They shouldn't have waffled. They should have given the answer this deserves...how the hell is this Microsoft's problem to correct?

    Vista was in beta forever and a day. Beta 3 was out and the API was locked down for at least several months before RTM. In cases where any third party software does not now work under Vista, it is *entirely* the fault of that software company. Holding Microsoft responsible to any degree here is just plain stupid.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Detritus (11846)
      It is Microsoft's fault if Vista broke existing applications without a very good reason for doing so. The rest of the world isn't obligated to follow Microsoft around like a circus dog, jumping through all their hoops.
      • by batkiwi (137781) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @05:05AM (#18554091)
        So whose fault is it that the nvidia headers for binary drivers have to be recompiled every kernel release due to incompatabilities for no good reason?
        • by Detritus (11846) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @05:17AM (#18554119) Homepage
          Sounds like a driver interface design problem.
          • by a.d.trick (894813)

            Actually, if you talk the kernel devs, they'll tell you it's a feature, not a bug. They'll tell you that the problem is with Nvidia and that they need to release the source code to their drivers. The kernel devs haven't gone to any lengths to stop people like Nvidia from violating the GPL (they wanted to, but Linus put a stop to it) [gmane.org], but they have stated time and time again, that they're not going to go to any extra effort to play nice with closed source drivers.

            Nvidia doesn't really have much of an exuse

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by stebbo (757730)
          Uhh... Microsoft?? ;-)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BrokenHalo (565198)
          So whose fault is it that the nvidia headers for binary drivers have to be recompiled every kernel release due to incompatabilities for no good reason?

          How do you know it's for no good reason? If you've seen the source code, then perhaps you might enlighten us.

          In any case, who cares? nVidia does it, and does it very promptly when required. Which is more than we can say for the majority of hardware producers, who as a rule are content to leave Linux/Solaris/FreeBSD users completely unsupported.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dhasenan (758719)
          There hasn't been a good reason so far to provide a consistent ABI for Linux kernel drivers. But the nVidia installer automatically recompiles the shim when necessary, so it doesn't make a real difference.
      • by hdparm (575302) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @05:50AM (#18554237) Homepage
        You are absolutely right although there might be a bit of guilt on the other side, if MS didn't break functionality between last beta and vista release.

        I mostly blame schools though. They are the ones who let the vista in without going through enough testing, Like they haven't experienced exactly the same with previous windows releases.
        • by Splab (574204)
          I'd just like to point out that blackboard is an online web application (at least here), so the guys making it probably tested it on XP with IE 7.0 and assumed it would work under Vista if it worked under XP.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Viper Daimao (911947)
            The article is sparse on technical details, so I've have to guess that the problems is with Vista's new user account privlidge setting where you're running as a standard user all the time (similar to sudo), combined with IE7 running in protected mode. The workaround probably involved moving the blackboard domain to trusted sites and maybe making some changes with the security settings.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by jrockway (229604)
              Blackboard does absolutely nothing special. It's a web page with some links to other HTML pages. There's no reason why it shouldn't work in IE, other than really really really really invalid HTML.

              Guess what, Blackboard... there are standards (and QA teams) for a reason!
              • by toadlife (301863) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @04:58PM (#18558797) Journal
                I run a blackboard server and have done so for around five years. Blackboard has moved from a pure perl based app to a pure tomcat driven app over the years and now they make heavy use of client side java applets. I suspect their poorly written java applets are the cause or all the problems with Vista.
                • I suspect their poorly written java applets are the cause or all the problems with Vista.

                    But Java is write once, run everywhere
                  • by Nimey (114278)
                    Tell that to the twinks who wrote one of our apps against MS's Java runtime. Works great in IE6 with MS Java (it's a frontend to mshtml.dll). Fscks up if IE7 and/or Sun Java are installed.

                    There's a fallback browser interface that works fine with Firefox or Safari plus the Sun Java runtime, at least, but it doesn't have some reporting features the users need.
        • As a student of Humboldt State (where you pulled that link from): Most students and staff thought Blackboard was a giant pile of dog shit (which is really is). Looks like crap, runs like crap, and has pretty poor compatibility. We've been migrated over to Moodle (open source) for the last few years and are finally ditching Blackboard at the end of this semester. I doubt anyone will miss it. Certainly not the people the cut the yearly check for the app.
        • by Nimey (114278)
          My uni /doesn't/ allow Vista. On faculty and staff machines[1]. What are we supposed to do about new student-owned PCs, though?

          We have Blackboard for the time being but are switching to something called ANGEL for the fall semester.

          [1] Modulo unofficial installs on tech PCs so we can learn about the poxy thing.
          • by hdparm (575302)
            Let them know that Vista is not compatible with Blackboard yet? Or as you do already, replace blackboard (moodle comes to mind).
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 31, 2007 @06:09AM (#18554315)
        What is Blackboard?

                * Learning Management System (LMS) software partially owned by Microsoft

        http://www.humboldt.edu/~jdv1/moodle/all.htm [humboldt.edu]
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_ by_Microsoft_Corporation [wikipedia.org]

      • If the rest of the world commits to supporting Microsoft software and forcing users by extension to HAVE Microsoft software, it is no longer MS's fault. They chose to put their customers/users in Microsoft hell, so they damn well better keep up.

        Law school exam software is a prime example. George Washington refuses to release the OS X version of the software (even though it exists), because their IT department has chosen to go all-Microsoft. All students are required to have a Windows notebook, and the IT
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drsmithy (35869)

        It is Microsoft's fault if Vista broke existing applications without a very good reason for doing so.

        No, it's Microsoft's fault if the application was written to documented APIs and following their recommended practices.

        Given that 99% of software problems in Windows are caused by applications that *don't* do this (Exhibit A: any application released in the last ~8 years or so that needlessly requires Administrator privileges), this is probably something Microsoft deserve the benefit of the doubt on.

        • Oh, You mean like Office 2k3?
          here's the scenario:
          1) Fresh install of Windows XP Pro SP2
          2) All 75 Critical updates, plus the 3 required updates to get the latest version of windowsupdate to run (Watch Star Wars)
          3) install MS Office 2k3 Enterprise edition
          4) Install Office SP2 & all critical updates (Read War and Peace)
          5) Create users, including 1 Limited user
          6) Fire up MS Word
          6.5) "Preparing to install Microsoft office"
          7) Put in my name & Initials, Word is now ready to use
          6) log in as said limited use
        • by darkonc (47285)
          The only problem with that is, if you use only the documented APIs, then Microsoft products (which use the undocumented APIs which sometimes produce much faster/prettier results) are going to eat you for lunch.
          • by drsmithy (35869)

            The only problem with that is, if you use only the documented APIs, then Microsoft products (which use the undocumented APIs which sometimes produce much faster/prettier results) are going to eat you for lunch.

            For example...?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vexorian (959249)
        I kind of not agree, I think this is the colleges' fault for jumping into vista without actually testing their main applications.
        • This is a web app, so anyone using it from their personal computer at home (the purpose of the web app) can't use Vista. I doubt the universities have upgraded yet.
    • by belmolis (702863)

      I don't think we can tell from this article whose fault this is. If Microsoft really did lock down their changes several months ago and documented them properly, it is Blackboard's fault not to have adapted. On the other hand, if Microsoft has kept changing things, has failed to document the API properly, or has failed to see to it that their code actually conforms to the documentation, it is Microsoft's fault.

      • by Dunbal (464142)
        if Microsoft has kept changing things, has failed to document the API properly, or has failed to see to it that their code actually conforms to the documentation

              Oh, shudder, you evil person you. How dare you suggest that Microsoft would do something like THAT? /sarcasm

              It wouldn't be the first time.
    • Not so simple (Score:5, Informative)

      by robinjo (15698) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @05:01AM (#18554069)
      I've been in the business since before the first Windows versions. Usually I make sure to do software so it works with any Windows version. That should be pretty easy as long as you use standard API.

      Over the years I've noticed a trend: If you use Microsoft development tools, you end up having problems with backwards compatibility. Either their compilers so a lot of weird things or MS makes sure to break them so even the programmers have to upgrade.
      • Re:Not so simple (Score:5, Interesting)

        by 1u3hr (530656) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @06:17AM (#18554351)
        Over the years I've noticed a trend: If you use Microsoft development tools, you end up having problems with backwards compatibility.

        I recently came across an old CDR with a bunch of games. Most of them seemed to work, whether coded for DOS, Win 3.1 or 95. Except the old Microsoft games. They crashed hard when I tried to run them in current versions of Windows. I assume becasue MS used undocumented hooks to optimise for the then current Windows.

    • The problem is, both the summary and TFA mention separate issues with both "Vista" and "Vista & IE7". It isn't clear exactly what that means. Does IE7 work on XP with these apps? TFA seems to indicate these are webapps, so shouldn't the browser be the most important component? Flipping things, do other browsers (IE6, Firefox) work on Vista? How about Firefox on any platform?

      Without really knowing the answers to all of these, I don't have an opinion on whether this is Microsoft's fault or the app-buil
    • by Aqua OS X (458522) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @06:25AM (#18554373)
      It should be noted that, with or without Vista and IE 7, Blackboard is absolute GARBAGE.

      I'm sorry, but after experiencing Blackboard in grad school, I would tend shift my suspicion to the incompetent developers and designers behind Blackboard, not the incompetent developers and designers behind Windows.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cheater512 (783349)
      Works in every browser (including IE 6) but not IE 7. Microsoft fucked up.

      Everyone else shouldn't be doing Microsoft's job for them - making it work.
      • by dhasenan (758719)
        A webapp like that, they code for particular browsers. It's more likely that they haven't removed special code for IE6's idiosyncrasies yet, or that they have code for IE6, Firefox, and Opera, but IE7 doesn't work with the default.
    • Upgrading for its own sake isn't a good idea, especially if you don't know if you'll be able to complete coursework. If Microsoft had not changed certain things, everyone would jump their shit, they change certain things, everyone jumps their shit. Make up your mind.
    • by Phillup (317168)

      When asked why, Microsoft ... waffled.

      They shouldn't have waffled. They should have given the answer this deserves...how the hell is this Microsoft's problem to correct?

      Vista was in beta forever and a day. Beta 3 was out and the API was locked down for at least several months before RTM. In cases where any third party software does not now work under Vista, it is *entirely* the fault of that software company. Holding Microsoft responsible to any degree here is just plain stupid.

      As someone that has been around the block a few times, there is no way in hell I would spend one minute changing my code to work for a MS product that isn't actually shipping yet.

      Hell, you can get burned by MS by coding to work with *shipping* code!

      Maybe others have been around the same block...

  • by Jacques Chester (151652) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @04:57AM (#18554047)
    Blackboard is awful, terrible software. Microsoft have simply filtered it out as part of their quality assurance program.

    MySpace is next.
    • Even though the parent is ranked funny, there is lots of truth to it.

      I've worked with and had to support Blackboard before. There are few applications that I think are worse. (I recall a bug that we experienced, where if two people submitted an assessment at the same time, or very close to the same time, the software would lose one of them.)

      Also, as crappy as Vista is, it was in beta and development for a long time. At the very least, Blackboard should have issued an advisory stating that under certain c
  • *shrug* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fabs64 (657132) <beaufabry+slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Saturday March 31, 2007 @05:03AM (#18554081)
    Hopefully this encourages universities to move away from Blackboard if anything.. it's a steaming pile of crap, really.
    Doesn't affect me anyway, as any school of comp sci should be, all our labs are thin x-servers.
    The rest of the uni can suffer in Novell hell for all I care, stupid ITS.
    • by miro f (944325)
      you must be an RMIT student...
      • by fabs64 (657132)
        :-D Sure am, and I do believe I've heard or seen the name "Miro" around the traps.
        My username was/is bfabry, or "FABRY,BEAUJONATHAN" as blackboard likes to call me for some reason.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MaelstromX (739241)
      All the cool universities are switching to Sakai [sakaiproject.org], an open source system. We're getting it next school year at Georgia Tech, but tons of other schools [sakaiproject.org] have already begun using it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by hedrick (701605)

        Unfortunately Sakai also has a problem with Vista. The WebDAV interface doesn't work. I've looked in detail at the network exchanges and tried tweaking Sakai. As far as I can tell WebDAV just doesn't work reliably in Vista. There are two known protocol issues with the Windows redirector, but even after working around them on the server and making the registry change on the client that is needed to talk to non-MS servers, in many cases Vista never talks to the server. I don't see anything I can do on the ser

      • I don't know about all the "cool" schools but it has been used for a few years here at IU (one of the "most wired colleges" and once labled the "most wireless campus" even though my department's building is apparently not on campus since our wireless is named, "unavailable..."). It has gotten a lot better in the last year, but it still has a lot of quirks and bugs. That being said, it still beats the abomination that is Blackboard.
  • by zumbojo (615389) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @05:16AM (#18554115) Homepage
    ...is that a few months ago in anticipation for the new version of Windows, Blackboard named a new piece of software in its honor: "WebCT Vista." Fast forward a few months, and I get the funniest e-mail from the dept. that handles Blackboard:

    "WebCT Vista is not supported on the Windows Vista platform."

    *facepalm*
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by torok (632410)
      That's not true. "WebCT Vista" was out *years* before Microsoft decided on the name Vista for their next generation of Windows. Not only that, but WebCT was a completely separate company, Blackboard's direct competitor at the time, and it was swallowed up by Blackboard just over a year ago.
  • Internet Explorer 7 (Score:5, Informative)

    by YutakaFrog (1074731) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @05:22AM (#18554139)
    My University uses WebCT a bunch. I was saddened when FireFox 2.0 came out, and it would pop up a window every time I logged in that said the browser was unsupported. Now, they've updated their software and FF2 is good to go. However, the homepage now has the following notice:

    The latest version of Internet Explorer does not work well with WebCT. We encourage you to use vesion 6 or download Firefox and use that. We will post a list of knwon issues with this browser once we have them. This will only be temporary until WebCT can resolve the browser issues. Thank you, WebCT Staff
    And that has been there a LOT longer than the FireFox alert was. :) Thank you, MicroSoft, for helping spread FireFox.
  • by DigitAl56K (805623) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @05:25AM (#18554167)
    Meanwhile, are there any other common college apps that Vista fails to work with?

    Yes, there are some problems with uTorrent [nivmedia.com] ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here at the University of Arizona, Vista doesn't work with our encrypted Wireless APs because Vista's PEAP authentication... doesn't.

    http://forum.oscr.arizona.edu/showthread.php?t=292 5&page=2 [arizona.edu] - one of a few threads in the Office of Student Computing Resources forums following broken wifi and vista

    As of right now, Vista users wanting to surf encrypted have to google and find a copy of the Vista-compatible Cisco VPN Client 5.0 beta (the UA's sitelicense website still only has VPN Client 4.9, which is no
  • by j_f_chamblee (253315) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @06:47AM (#18554455) Homepage Journal
    It looks like many quantitative applications are currently not going to work on Vista, at least for now. Major statistical analysis, data mining and Geographic Information Systems tools that don't run on Vista include:

    SPSS [e-academy.com], SAS [sas.com], MATLAB and SAP [mit.edu] and ESRI ArcGIS [esri.com]

    Eh, this is no big deal, right? I mean, who really wants to know about facts and numbers? Especially when you are using a *computer*.
  • by jez9999 (618189) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @06:58AM (#18554499) Homepage Journal
    How is this different from Blackboard on any other OS?
  • sloppy coding? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by briancnorton (586947) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @07:38AM (#18554629) Homepage
    Writing a Win32/64 app that only works in one OS/browser/java version/etc seems to me to be sloppy coding. Blackboard is a *WEB* app, is it not? Why does the client matter? Usually the answer is because the Devs were lazy and took shortcuts by using the client to do something that the server could just as easily do. (Not necessarily the case here)
  • shouldn't it be "Are there any other common college apps that fail to work with Vista?"
  • Vista == WinME (Score:3, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @08:04AM (#18554727) Homepage
    I predicted it before and it seems to be coming true. We get stories about how people, organizations and governments don't want to switch. We get stories about exceptionally poor performance. We get stories about compatibility problems. We get the occasional "DRM" interferes with normal/legal use stories too.

    The big question is when Vista will be declared a flop?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Slyswede (945801)

      If you actually take the time to analyze these "stories" you'll realize that almost all of the problems people blaim Vista for is actually not anything that has to do with the operating system, but the applications that run on it.

      Just take the complaints about no wireless access in the above posts for example. Vista has nothing to do with the fact that these universities force people to run a Cisco VPN client to get access. Considering how long Vista has been availible to developers, this shouldn't even be

      • by erroneus (253617)
        Are you counting all the people who got a new PC with Vista and then went back to WinXP?
      • by rtb61 (674572)
        So we all get it now, Vista with it's (FU)DRM works perfectly as long as you don't run any applications or use any hardware. The same could be said of any other M$ windows operating system, all those versions that seem to have been permanently in beta.

        Isn't it funny, the M$ desktop platform of choice, rather than the customer's platform of choice, typical weird M$ thinking. The one great consistency with M$ has been, it is always the customers fault, the software that used to work and M$ broke with the la

  • At our university a lot of students bought or got brand new Vista laptops over the Christmas holidays and lo and behold they could no longer use the Cisco VPN client (4.8.01.0300) supposedly their is a beta that sorta works. We also found out a vendor called Examsoft [examsoft.com] which allows students to take tests on their laptop also wasn't compatible with Vista and there was no ETA when it would be.
  • Blackboard (Score:3, Informative)

    by loconet (415875) on Saturday March 31, 2007 @11:41AM (#18555963) Homepage
    I'm a professional web developer. I've worked in the field for 5+ years and can tell a decent web application by just using it for a while. I have recently gone back to University and have gotten the chance to use Blackboard. My school uses it for everything from general announcements, to posting marks, posting of assignments, etc. While it does the minimum necessary job most of the time, it is a mediocre package IMO. The interface is very inconsistent, very confusing to navigate, glitches are experienced by students and teachers alike every term. I have yet to experience a single term in which profs do not have problems posting assignments, documents, etc. Somehow Blackboard always manages to leave half of the class out. The smarter profs make use of their own University web space to create a simple html page where they post their information. Whenever blackboard is involved, it is generally a messy experience.

    That being said, why the hell does a web application break with an Operating System update? Is Microsoft at fault here? Did they mock around with how POST/GET variables get sent to the server or how the browser accepts server responses? Are cookies randomly getting erased from IE? CSS/HTML glitches in the new IE rendering the pages useless? Or is this Blackboard's own code depending on some obscure ActiveX/IE functionality that is no longer there in Vista and thus violating the #1 reason why web applications are so useful? - They are supposed to work everywhere, no matter what OS we use! I'm thinking it's the latter.
    • why the hell does a web application break with an Operating System update?
      "You are about to upload homework 6 due in 8 seconds through blackboard. Cancel or Allow?"

      That said, how much does blackboard/WebCT set back universities?
  • In particular, the Visual Text Box Editor--which offers controls for entering and formatting text, equations, and multimedia files--in the Discussion Board and other areas of Blackboard does not work properly for those with Vista and IE7 in some cases. Many academic IT departments are suggesting that students and teachers either use an alternative browser such as FireFox or Opera, or disable the feature altogether.

    I work at the Help Desk for the University of Texas, and was actually the first person to
  • I use Vista IE7 and blackboard at WSU. It works but, blackboard installed Java 1.5 runtime and it crashed Vista (on a fresh install). I install Java 1.6 and Blackboard works, but gives me warnings on how this version of Java is not supported in Blackboard. I think the prblem is more in the Java and not in the blackboard. PS both suck.
  • by Seanasy (21730)
    The University of Pittsburgh has a site license for Vista but they won't release it to students, faculty or staff [pitt.edu] until they can work compatibility problems with networks, vpn and common third party apps.
  • Blackboard is the real problem here; it doesn't really work in ANY browser. It sort of works in IE6, except that the back button is usually broken. It continues to astound me how sites that are essentially a list of links to files can break under any browser, let alone the modern selection.
  • seriously I can't figure out why they are the largest provider in this area. I guess colleges like software that sucks.

    Look, I'm not an MS fan but why should they be responsible if software doesn't work with their new release? The betas have been out for months, plenty of time for BB to test and fix these problems. Besides if your web app relies on the OS then you're doing it wrong! /rant
  • Meanwhile, are there any other common college apps that Vista fails to work with?
    I'd guess there are, otherwise my college would've upgraded IE6 and VS6.0 by now at least...
  • Since Microsoft started pushing IE7 on XP users as a "critical update", all kinds of people who must log into intranets and VPNs from home for work have lost their ability to do so, unless they roll back to IE6. Sadly, Vista users can't do that. Vista, so far is worse than Windows ME. We didn't need it. We didn't want it, and the computer capable of running it well is still science-fiction.
  • It seems to me that Blackboard released a project that worked correctly(lets pretend ok) on a specified list of operating systems.

    Microsoft released a new operating system and never claimed that all your old stuff will still work, just that you most likely can still use your old stuff. That product works(lets pretend ok) as specified. Its also worth noteing Microsoft continues to sell their previous system.

    If there are any problems the only people who deserve blame are those working at the IT departments
  • The article summary (no, I'm not reading the article.... after all, I'm on Slashdot) somehow makes it sound as if it is Microsoft's fault or problem, that some third party software doesn't work right. It really isn't. It's the third part software developer's fault.

    It really is up to Microsoft to dicate how their next OS will work. If they want to make some changes, which they consider critical from a security standpoint (never mind end result, effectiveness, whatever... after all, the road to hell /is/ pave

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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