When I was a student at Syracuse University, one of the neatest things to hit campus was Blackboard –a site that collocated information about your test scores, attendance and homework assignments for each class under one user-friendly interface. (Yes, I know this makes me sound lame but c’mon you have to admit it was a school version of Facebook).
In fact, instead of having to remember what I got on that Spanish quiz weeks ago (to figure out how what I had to score on the upcoming quiz to get an A for the semester), I could just go to Blackboard and glean all my grades for the entire semester.
And for teachers – whether they are at the high school or college level – Blackboard allows instructors to have one central hub in which students can be directed which contains all relevant coursework and information. In so doing, it puts responsibility in the hands of students and cuts down on time spent in class completing menial tasks (like handing out homework assignments).
“We enable clients to engage more students in exciting new ways, reaching them on their terms and devices — connecting more effectively, keeping students informed, involved, and collaborating together,” Blackboard officials explain on their website. Well stated if you ask me.
But now, in this era of apps and smartphones, Blackboard has gone mobile with Blackboard Mobile Central, which makes that great user interface and campus life accessible on the go. Now students can get on-demand access to essential campus information, when and where they need it. For example, a student can use the app to figure out how to get around campus, see what events are happening and locate books.
I’m a little jealous, if I am being honest (especially since as a young college freshman I seldom knew how to find my way back to my dorm which was a good three miles – or so it seemed — from the campus quad.)
It seems others are a fan of the service as well. According to recent reports, mobile apps deployed by Blackboard have reached nearly three million downloads and currently more than 1,100 higher education institution and school districts worldwide use Blackboard Mobile native applications. The apps have been accessed by students, faculty, staff and alumni in 127 countries.
"The ability for an institution to immediately reach its community and provide direct access to course content and campus life services through mobile devices is critical to improving the overall campus experience," said Kayvon Beykpour, vice president and general manager of Blackboard Mobile, in a statement. "We look forward to seeing continued momentum as colleges and universities pursue mobile initiatives and discover ways we can help empower their communities through our product offerings."
Let’s take a little bit more of the Blackboard Mobile-type apps and a little bit less of Angry Birds, yes?