Editorial: Top 15 alternatives to Blackboard


Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

The victory lights could potentially be used to send signals in Morse code.

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

In an effort to strengthen online course engagement, Pitt is piloting Canvas, a course management system and alternative to CourseWeb. With updated features that are potentially easier for both instructors and students to navigate, it seems to be an ideal alternative. We have a few other ideas, though. These are our top 15 alternatives to CourseWeb that we’d like to see Pitt pilot — because 10 just wasn’t enough.

  1. Yell all assignments from Towers’ balconies

Obviously with a megaphone. This idea is foolproof. You can hear it from South Oakland, Towers, the Cathy Lawn, Hems and just about anywhere else on campus. Maybe even the South Side Slopes, depending on how much Pitt is willing to invest in sound equipment.

  1. Hand assignments out at campus coffee carts

Everyone drinks coffee — now you’ll never miss hearing about a new deadline. 

  1. Paint assignments on a cave wall

Our ancestors had to have done this in the Stone Age. And the human race has made it this far, so it has to work, right?

  1. Tattoo the assignments on Roc the Panther’s body

He already got one makeover. Why not another? Plus, he’d look pretty fierce and intimidating, just like your philosophy homework.

  1. Copy assignments in a $17 Moleskine notebook from the University Store

Since textbooks are already so expensive, why not add one of these on the required materials list, Pitt? At least then students could keep track of their assignments without multifactor authentication.

  1. Send assignments via the U.S. Postal Service

Sure, it might be called snail mail for a reason. But it also doesn’t crash, doesn’t need to be charged and requires no Wi-Fi. A foolproof way for students to get their assignments.

  1. Swipe assignments on Tinder

If you want students to engage in assignments, just make online dating profiles for the syllabus. If the student swipes right on it, faculty members will be able to see their engagement, dedication and interest in the course material.

  1. A reply-all email chain

Unless you’re a first-year, you probably remember the reply-all email chain that circulated campus and infiltrated everyone’s inbox last spring. Why not do this for assignments, too?

  1. Assignments via carrier falcons

Like carrier pigeons, except falcons. We’re just making use of our resources here.

  1. Craigslist

You might get fake Hamilton tickets, but you also might find your algebra homework here. Us students need an element of surprise in our lives sometimes.

  1. Smoke signals

Cathy is the tallest academic building in the United States of America. Since it doesn’t seem like she’ll be shining her victory lights all that much, we think Pitt should instead pilot sending smoke signals off of her with students’ assignments.

  1. An all-school assignment GroupMe

Just imagine, an enormous messaging group with all 19,000 undergraduate students. The assignments will never stop coming, and the Chipotle fundraisers and Pitt Fuel advertisements will be endless.

  1. Skywriting

How will the University afford this? Easy — raise tuition.

  1. A real blackboard

The University pays for an online program, yet they have a blackboard in almost every classroom. We think instructors should just start using this instead. BYOC — Bring Your Own Chalk — though.

  1. Print assignments in The Pitt News

Since everyone on campus obviously reads The Pitt News in print from the front page to the back page, we think it would make the most sense for professors to just print their assignments in the paper itself. The fee of buying page space is a small price to pay for enriched learning and easy access to assignments.

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