blended learning, Learning Central

Mobile learning and Learning Central

I have recently been investigating the delivery of mobile learning via Blackboard mobile applications for the blog. Learning Central users have access to a mobile application that is available to use. There are separate applications for students and instructors, and it’s useful to know you can work on or study your modules “on the move”! Mobile learning is an opportunity to increase student satisfaction and retention (JISC, 2015). This blog post is an initial insight to the mobile apps for Learning Central.

The Cardiff University Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is Learning Central. Here, students and staff  can access their online modules and educational resources. Learning Central uses the Blackboard Learn system, which is the reason you have to search for Blackboard applications.

If you have used the mobile application previously, you may have noticed there are some changes. The Mobile Learn app was replaced in the August 2017 with the following 2 apps:

Blackboard App (for students) – allows students to view module content and participate in some online activities.

 

Blackboard Instructor – allows instructor to view content, connect with students through discussions and even use Blackboard Collaborate to interact with students.

 

Both applications are available for the most common mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows mobile) within their related apps stores.

Here are some useful features and known issues:

Blackboard app features 

  • Activity stream – shows the recent activity within student modules (added content, items, discussions);
  • Modules list – students can hide modules they don’t use;
  • Content – view content, announcements, discussions (if any);
  • Ablity to take tests (if the test is designed for mobile learning);
  • Blackboard Collaborate can run within the application, just join the session;
  • Accessibility features within the device system (screen readers, visual setting, etc.).

Blackboard app known issues

  • Some file types are not supported within the application (i.e. PowerPoint) – opening depends on your other phone applications;
  • Push notifications are not supported in Ultra Edition at the time;
  • Turnitin Assignment are not supported.

Blackboard Instructor features

  • Access to all courses where the role is: instructor, teaching assistant, course builder;
  • Modules list – ability to hide non-active modules;
  • 30 languages are supported, including Welsh;
  • Post basic announcements – useful for cancelled classes or urgent messages to your class;
  • Collaborate works within the application more information: https://help.blackboard.com/Blackboard_App/Instructor/Collaborate
  • Ability to preview tests within the module to check the mobile compatibility;
  • Accessibility features within the device system (screen readers, visual setting, etc).

Blackboard Instructor known issues

Both applications are still in development stage and new features are regularly released. I think it’s very useful to have access to all modules from one place. There are plans to develop features for instructors which is definitely positive.

I certainly have not covered all features and all issues during my testing. I would appreciate your experience in comments below, or to our CEILT@cardiff.ac.uk mail box.

Resources and references:

Blackboard apps help page: https://help.blackboard.com/Blackboard_App

Known issues: https://help.blackboard.com/Blackboard_App/Administrator/Known_Issues_for_Blackboard_App

JISC, 2015. Quick Guide – Mobile learning. Available from: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/engage-students-with-mobile-learning

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