New Native Apps are Free to Students and Faculty Through App Stores
Expanding the reach of mobile learning opportunities to a full range of the world’s most popular mobile platforms, Blackboard Inc. today released native applications for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone OS powered devices that give millions of students full access to their course information directly from their smartphones.
Like the existing iPad version, the new Blackboard Mobile Learn apps are available free at app stores. They recreate and enrich the course experience of Blackboard Learn, the leading online teaching and learning platform, in native applications designed specifically for each mobile platform. With the apps, students can check grades and assignments, add discussion board comments and blog posts, email their classmates and instructors, and more.
Leveraging the unique user experience of each platform – like the Android HTC EVO 4G running on Sprint 3G and 4G (which delivers download speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G), or the Multi-Touch capabilities of iPhone OS devices – the apps offer students an immersive and engaging way to access their course work and interactive learning opportunities.
"Blackboard Mobile Learn gives users the ability to teach, learn, and interact – all through their mobile devices," said Chris Bray, Blackboard Administrator at the University of Arkansas. "I’m really excited about the application, as are students and instructors who have seen it."
Blackboard also announced plans to offer a mobile Web version of Blackboard Mobile Learn later this year to extend access beyond smartphones to users of a wide range of Web-enabled phones and mobile devices.
"We’re moving quickly to support broader access to mobile learning with applications that leverage the best of what this fast evolving area has to offer," said Michael L. Chasen, Blackboard’s president and CEO. "These apps make learning a central part of the mobile experience that is quickly becoming a way of life for so many students and learners."
Schools have multiple options for deploying Blackboard Mobile Learn, either through an annual license that supports all device platforms or a no cost option, made possible through a special partnership with Sprint, which supports Android and BlackBerry smartphones on the Now Network, as well as iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices over a Wi-Fi connection.
"We’ve had a great experience with Blackboard Mobile Learn and we’re very pleased with the direction Blackboard is taking with mobile learning," said Kara N. Monroe, Assistant Vice Provost at Ivy Tech Community College. "The feedback from faculty and students has been very positive. We continue to look for ways to give our students access to the tools they need to be successful, and this is another one of those opportunities. And the no cost option including Sprint will help us bring mobile learning to our students more quickly than we might have otherwise."
Support for Blackboard Mobile Learn is included in the upcoming release of Blackboard Learn (Service Pack 1 for Release 9.1), making it the first to feature built-in support for mobile learning. Higher education and professional education institutions in the U.S. and Canada running Blackboard Learn Release 8 or higher can also enable access by installing the free Blackboard Mobile Web Services Building Block. Availability will expand to U.S. and Canadian K-12 markets and to international markets outside the U.S. beginning in August.