First, two introductory videos. Then…the good stuff!
Blackboard’s first mobile app, Mobile Learn, was intended to provide instructors and students easy access to their course material on. Since its birth, Blackboard has moved to a persona-based approach in order to provide more specific and useful functionality to users with different roles, so they can accomplish more tasks on the go. Both the Blackboard App for students and the Blackboard Instructor app allow for anytime/anyplace communication, participation in discussions, grading, submission of assignments, and more. This is the flexibility that students expect, and the tools are at our fingertips!
Having said that, and depending on your instructional approaches, it may be unreasonable for students to conduct all of their Blackboard activity on their mobile device. Access to the desktop version of Blackboard, via a computer, may be necessary or recommended for certain tasks.
Tips: Building Mobile-Friendly Content
- Use mobile-compatible file types: Blackboard mobile apps support most common text and media files. Some file types aren’t supported because specific operating systems don’t support them. And remember that anything viewed on the app is seen from a single screen. For example, students can’t view two attachments at once.
- Avoid excessive scrolling: Limit the number of items displayed at one time.
- Reduce the number of course menu links to limit scrolling on a mobile device. Use content areas to hold related items and give your course organization and structure.
- Group content items into content areas so that they are presented across multiple content areas rather than placing all course content in a single folder. Content areas show as folders on the Course Content page in the app.
- Use short titles: Brief folder and content titles are helpful on a smaller screen. They also make the web browser view of your course easier to skim.
- Account for user accessibility: The Blackboard app is designed to work with devices’ native accessibility features, but keep in mind that content should also be built with accessibility in mind.
- Create frequent interaction: Students interact with their mobile devices frequently. You can make your course a part of that presence in students’ day-to-day lives.
- Make your course come alive! Events such as new tests or grades send app notifications, so students see your course as an engaging place to learn.
- Ask for short, but more frequent discussion posts that can be completed while students are on mobile devices.
- Include web-friendly images and video.
- Use Zoom to connect with students in real-time sessions.
- Be aware of unsupported features: Not all course features and tools are supported natively in the app. When you must use tools or content that aren’t mobile compatible, be sure to communicate that to students so they can plan accordingly.
You may find it helpful to browse Blackboard’s website for ideas on how students consume your course content and how you can build mobile-friendly courses. ITS Online Learning Services invites your collaboration on the topic of mobile learning.