Blackboard Mobile Pilot for Winter 2010

Blackboard has developed a mobile version that will run on smartphones. Of course, given politics and business rivalries and so on, their version currently runs only on iPhones, Blackberries and Droids (so not on my current smartphone, a Palm Pre). They have released a free version and Wayne has decided to experiment with it in the Winter semester. If you have a Sprint Droid or BlackBerry you can download the Blackboard Mobile Learn app for free and connect to blackboard.wayne.edu over the Sprint network, or you can use an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad over wi-fi (but not over the phone network). This may seem rather restrictive, but that’s how the free version works. Blackboard has made a fuller version available, but at this point C&IT is just piloting the free version, as they want to gauge the level of interest in the whole idea.
I should add that, from the faculty point of view, the features that come with the mobile version are somewhat limited, but the students have been asking for it. Your students will be able to see their grades, and both you and your students can read and participate in discussion boards, blogs, journals and read announcements. They can also see any media you have uploaded—video or audio, for example. But faculty can’t, for example, enter grades, or look at assignments that have been handed in.
To play with it, download the Blackboard app for free from the iPhone App Store, BlackBerry App World or the Android Marketplace. After that you simply log in to Blackboard with your AccessId and password.
C&IT will be interested in whether this catches on, particularly with students. Students asked for it before C&IT had even considered it, because they found it in the App Store, but the very high cost has given us pause, which is why C&IT is experimenting with the free version, despite its limitations. Send me your thoughts, or tell bbadmin about it.

We have a new home!

The URL for this blog has changed. I wanted to make it clear that I am not simply a spokesman for C&IT. My role is to serve as liaison between the faculty and C&IT, and I need to be free to comment on the activities of both, and probably to annoy both, although hopefully not at the same time. Additionally this will give the blog a permanent home with a mnemonic name that should be easier to find:

blogs.wayne.edu/proftech

It’s likely that I will be posting on a somewhat irregular basis for the next month or so, so consider setting up a bookmark, or using an RSS feed. If you’re not familiar with those, you can read about them here:

http://email.about.com/od/rssreaderswin/tp/top_rss_windows.htm

As you can see, you can use a dedicated reader, a Google facility or some web browsers (such as Firefox) allow you to set one up as a bookmark. You can even set up a mailbox in your Wayne Connect account that will treat each new post as a mail message. Instructions are

here (search for RSS).