Blackboard Adds BlackBerry App for Mobile Web Platform
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Blackboard has added the Research in Motion BlackBerry to its list of supported devices for the new Blackboard Mobile platform. Its first public customer: the University of Washington. Mobile Central (formerly named MobilEdu) was initially optimized only for users of Apple iPhone and iPod Touch devices.
Originally developed by San Francisco-based Terriblyclever Design, a company acquired by Blackboard in July 2009, Mobile Central is branded for each institution and accessed by users who download their institution's application. The application gives users the ability to search course catalogs and view campus maps, e-mail professors and classmates, and receive real-time updates on course schedules, campus events, news, and sports. In addition, institutions can use Blackboard application programming interfaces to customize and personalize the interface and functionality of the program.
On the mobile front, Blackboard also offers a free application called Learn for iPhone, which specifically provides updates from a Blackboard course. The company said in an FAQ on its Web site that it will continue making that program available.
"This new platform allows us to easily reach our students, faculty and staff around the clock and deliver information whenever and wherever they want it, which increasingly is on mobile devices like the BlackBerry and iPhone," said David Morton, director of mobile communication strategies at UW. "As a modern, global university, UW [is] committed to embracing mobile communications and is pleased to be the launch institution for the BlackBerry initiative."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.