Blackboard makes the mobile move
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 23:08
Change is coming soon to Blackboard, and for many students, it is already here. The switch from Blackboard Vista to Blackboard Learn may bring convenience to students, since the new version includes access for mobile devices.
According to Heather Zamojski, director of academic research and computing, PUC introduced Learn, to 522 course sections this fall. This introduction precedes the full transition to Learn in the spring semester of 2013.
PUC piloted Learn in fall 2011, Zamojski said, when it was only used in one section. Then, in spring 2012, three sections utilized Learn, and several dozen courses tested it over the summer.
Instructors have the choice whether to participate in this semester’s introduction of Learn. The introduction has found approval from instructors who are using the new program.
Associate Professor of Education Lynn Zimmerman, who chose to transition to Learn this semester, said it is easier to use than Vista. She cited the more efficient click-and-drag feature available to instructors for setting up their course sections.
Zamojski said that some faculty members are finding the change difficult, but expressed confidence that these challenges are nothing more than what any new technology presents.
Zamojski cited Learn’s added compatibility with supplemental materials often provided by publishers to correspond with the textbooks they produce. Besides the overall functions of Learn, Zamojski added that any class section of can be accessed on students’ mobile devices through an application called Blackboard Mobile Learn.
The app allows students to watch short videos, check discussion boards and announcements, as well as use many of the other features offered in the online version.
“Some things are limited to what’s limited by a mobile device anyway,” Zamojski said, adding that the app would offer all features that students would likely want.
Zamojski said she has heard positive reviews from students, with little negative feedback. She anticipates receiving more responses as the fall semester progresses.
She said the transition is going smoothly and that there have not been any significant roadblocks to the changeover process.
To find out more about Learn, students can watch tutorials available on the “Office of Instructional Technology” section of the PUC website. A full list of the courses using Learn can also be found there.