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Howard CC Extends Blackboard with Social Networking Widget

Howard Community College in Columbia, MD is implementing a software widget from ConnectYard to extend its Blackboard Campus Edition functionality to social networks. The college's Academic Support Services Department, which supports about 11,800 for-credit students, will use the QuickConnect Widget for Blackboard to allow students to ask and respond to lecture and homework questions through preferred media, including texting, Facebook, and Twitter.

The widget, which is provided as a Web service, lets users interact without the need to "friend" or "follow" one another. So, for example, tutors at the college will be able to participate in the discussion via e-mail without having to log into Blackboard, text students directly, or join a social networking site.

"ConnectYard enables us to provide our tutors with the tools they need to reach today's 21st century learners using the technology they are already accustomed to," said Director Debra Greene. "As a community college, we are up against a serious digital divide where not every student has regular access to a computer, so providing the option to use any phone, not just the smart ones, as a learning device is a real game changer."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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