Blackboard app continues to grow
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 17:03
While many students and faculty may be familiar with the Blackboard online service, most are still unaware of a Blackboard app for mobile devices that allows users to access the service, as well as some exclusive features.
Tamera Elliot, product marketing manager at Blackboard Mobile, spoke about the origins of the applications as well as what it has to offer students.
“The Blackboard app has been around since April of 2012, and it was first launched in conjunction with the iPad’s release, as the iPad app was the first one that we had out to market. We’ve released apps for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and so on,” Elliot said.
Some students have reported the app not working, however Elliot had no knowledge of the problems.
“We’ve had no reports of outage issues across the country, so I’m wondering if it might be something as simple as campus Wi-Fi going out. It hasn’t been a widespread issue to my knowledge,” Elliot said. “If Blackboard’s up and running, the app should be running too.”
Elliot said the app’s development has been successful since its launch in 2010.
“The reason we instituted the app in the first place is because we were getting reports of students trying to access Blackboard from a mobile browser and Blackboard itself is a really complex website,” Elliot said.
Elliot noted that, as of today, there have been over 3 million downloads worldwide.
“We developed the app with the theory in mind, that students are really demanding access to the most core, basic parts of their classes, even when they can’t get to a computer, for things like being able to check their grades, pulling up their syllabi or commenting on discussion boards,” Elliot said.
Elliot said there are special licensing agreements that allow either an individual to purchase the app or the school to buy it for their students and faculty.
“A lot of schools have been facing budget cuts in these tough times and schools have wanted to offer this solution to students, but if a school couldn’t afford to pay that license, we wanted to offer a way for students to have access themselves.”
Students can download the app from the app store for free, but if the school hasn’t purchased a license on their behalf, they’ll be directed to subscribe themselves and can either choose to pay $1.99 per year to subscribe or pay $5.99 and have access to that app for life.
Elliot said some features are exclusive to the Blackboard app, such as push notifications and the ability to synchronize classes with their Dropbox account.
“When you think about being a student, your academics are such a key part of the university experience, that something like the Blackboard app makes it easier for you to be a student. It helps you keep up with your courses in a way that just makes sense,” Elliot said.