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Public Roads - Spring 2024

Spring 2024
Issue No:
Vol. 88 No. 1
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Training Update

Beyond the Blackboard: Navigating the Digital Education Age Using NHI’s Learning Management System

by Jon Strauss
A person types on a laptop, where icons for management, studying, videos, teaching, searching, planning, and graduating are floating above as options. Image: © VRVIRUS /
NHI offers a variety of tools for students to manage, track, and succeed in their courses.

The Federal Highway Administration’s National Highway Institute (NHI) launched its learning management system (LMS) on Blackboard®. This learning system delivers leading-edge subject matter expertise in the digital education age. The LMS redesign establishes practices to provide participants and course instructors with an engaging learning environment. The modifications align with NHI’s efforts in 18 program areas, categorizing courses to inspire participants to improve the Nation’s highway transportation system.

The new LMS offers an effective and interactive experience found on a user-friendly platform. The interface offers easy access to course information, simplifies the course registration process, provides comprehensive transcripts, and gives participants the ability to manage their profiles. LMS search functionality pulls from a diverse catalog of courses. The catalog describes courses and program areas where they have cross-appeal, providing a clear representation of the new learning environment.

Before the modifications, the delivery methods were Instructor-led Training, Web-based Training, and Web-conference Training. The three updated course delivery methods are unambiguous about what participants should expect. Course delivery method titles include In-Person Training, Self-Directed Training (SDT), and Virtual Instructor-Led Training. To learn more about these training formats and course materials, visit NHI’s website to explore the types of training,

National Highway Institute logo. Image Source: NHI.

As of December 2023, the course catalog features SDTs. SDTs include an entire series of courses, as well as single standalone or introductory courses. The introductory Basics of Transportation Planning, Hydraulic Toolbox, and a whole series of courses on engineering and design in coastal environments are only a handful of the SDTs offered in the NHI course catalog.

Basics of Transportation Planning SDT (151052) is a comprehensive introductory course for participants who are involved with State, metropolitan, and rural transportation planning requirements, planning processes, and key stakeholders. Course completion infers that a participant understands the transportation planning process, can navigate the requirements of transportation planning, and can work with others involved in that process.

Hydraulic Toolbox SDT (135093) teaches participants about the software-supported suite of calculations that routine hydrologic and hydraulic analyses and designs of transportation infrastructure need. Participants completing the course can identify, recognize, and apply the hydraulic toolbox’s uses in transportation hydraulic engineering.

The series of coastal environment SDTs (135082A - D) explores engineering and design principles of building and maintaining infrastructure in coastal environments subject to adverse climate events. Completion of this series affirms participants’ understanding of the engineering and design of infrastructure and that they can differentiate, calculate, explain, and classify structures in and around coastal environments where infrastructure is adversely affected by bodies of water.

With the catalogue transitioning between the old platform and the new LMS, NHI continues to update and add courses. To get started on the new Blackboard LMS, participants need to create an account. Scan the QR code above to access the new Blackboard system and follow NHI’s Account Creation Instruction Guide for detailed instructions.

National Highway Institute QR code leading to Image Source: NHI.

Blackboard also offers a dedicated support helpdesk located on its homepage. If you have any questions regarding course content, email the NHI customer service center at

To continue improving the learning experience that NHI makes possible, along with other services they offer, NHI wants to hear from you. Recently, NHI implemented course evaluations following every training. Your feedback about the training experience, new features, issues with course materials or content, and your opinion about the change to Blackboard are all encouraged. NHI will implement face-to-face focus groups to collect direct feedback from participants in courses and delivery methods in the future. Sign up for the NHI Newsletter to stay up to date on opportunities at

Jon Strauss is a communications specialist and project manager contractor with NHI.