George Mason University will roll out the mobile version of the popular Blackboard Learn software this week following increased student demand for the mobile app.
The mobile version 2.0 of the software will be available starting today through the Apple, Android, Blackberry and Palm app stores.
It will allow students and faculty to view a mobile-friendly version of the MyMason Blackboard site and access assignments, readings, blogging tools and grades from smart phones and tablet computers.
Officials in the Division of Instructional Technology noticed increased demand for a Mason version of Blackboard Mobile after prospective users unsuccessfully attempted to download the app.
“I think a lot of people may have just found it in the app store for whatever device they have and tried to use it and, it would say ‘George Mason University does not currently support Blackboard Mobile.’ The app will then ask you to sign up to learn when George Mason makes it available,” said Joe Balducci, manager of Online Learning Services and Learning Support Services with DoIT. “We had found that there were about 400 people who signed up to be notified when [Blackboard Mobile] was available.”
According to Balducci, in order to make the Mason version of Blackboard Mobile available, Mason had to pay a licensing fee to Blackboard. After a license agreement was purchased, Blackboard designed the app, which looks no different from other schools’ Blackboard Mobile apps.
After downloading Blackboard Mobile, users only have to sign in once in order to access their Blackboard page from their mobile devices.
Blackboard Mobile includes much of the same functionality that is found on the computer version of the site and can be used to access assignments, read files, check grades and participate in online discussions.
According to Balducci, Blackboard Mobile also provides a user-friendly, mobile-learning experience that allows students to keep up with assignments no matter where they are.
“It’s good for reading things your instructors put up. It’s good for the interactive things. It’s good for discussion boards, blogs and journals, and it gives you almost a text-message format where you see bubbles, and it’s easy to reply and respond to others,” Balducci said.
As part of Mason’s Mobile Rollout Strategy, Blackboard Mobile is an integral tool in keeping students connected to their education. In addition to Blackboard Mobile, Mason is also collaborating with Blackboard to develop and launch a general Mason app.
“The university has a mobile rollout strategy they are working on, so there is going to be an app for George Mason as well, which Blackboard is also helping develop,” Balducci said.
The Mason app will provide users with ongoing news and current information about Mason.
With the new rollout of Blackboard mobile, DoIT encourages app users to provide any feedback or comments about their experiences.
“We would love to hear everyone’s experience,” Balducci said. “We had a lot of student interest in this, and we are happy to provide something the students wanted.”
Users may send feedback about their experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org.