In my experience, having used BlackBoard in multiple courses, the most useful element is the ability to post course documents to a central location to which everyone has access. Students are then responsible for either printing out hard copies of course readings or bringing a lap top to discussions so that they can access them. In an age of rising textbook costs and department limits on paper use, being able to access scanned chapters (our library would do that for us and ensure we were within copyright limits) was very convenient and cost-effective for everyone involved. Many students complain (rightfully so) about professors who have them purchase books, only to assign a single chapter. BlackBoard was a way to solve this problem.