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Cuyahoga CC Goes Mobile with Help from Blackboard

A Cleveland-based community college gave up on its in-house efforts to create a mobile app for its community and turned to Blackboard to handle the job. Cuyahoga Community College launched Tri-C Mobile within 90 days of choosing the vendor, according to a statement released by Blackboard. The college is a Blackboard Learn 9.1 customer.

The college, which has about 31,000 students at seven locations, also announced that it was adopting Blackboard's notification system, Connect, to replace Tri-C Alert, an internally developed mass notification system.

According to the recently published 2011 Campus Computing survey, 41 percent of community colleges have offered mobile apps as of fall 2011 or will do so in the coming academic year; in fall 2010 that number was only 12 percent.

The college chose Blackboard after an extensive evaluation of vendor options. "When we tried to create a platform of our own, we recognized key limitations focused on management and scale," said Christina Royal, associate vice president for eLearning and innovation. "By partnering with Blackboard, we were able to provide a solid set of apps right out of the box and we can quickly and easily adapt to our growing community and continue integrating innovative features as they become available."

Blackboard's mobile services division has also done work for Stanford University, Northwestern University, and Pasadena City College, among others.

The new mobile app, which runs natively on iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices, has been downloaded about 4,000 times since its launch. It includes a number of functions:

  • Maps, to search campus buildings by name, pinpoint them on a map, and see their location relative to the user's own location;
  • Courses for browsing and searching courses for the current and future terms; seeing course descriptions, times, locations, and availability; and contacting the instructor directly from within the app;
  • Learn, to access Blackboard Learn course content and activities;
  • Athletics, including news, schedules, and scores;
  • Directory, for finding people on campus and adding them to the phone's address book;
  • Events, to view campus activities;
  • Library, for tracking down library resources and their current availability;
  • Videos, for accessing media;
  • Emergency information; and
  • News, from a variety of college sources.

"It is our goal to make it as easy as possible for students to stay connected to the college--even during the hours when they are at work or taking care of their families," said CIO Gerard Hourigan.

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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