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Blackboard Adds Open Enrollment Mobile Support for CourseSites

Blackboard has added both an open enrollment option and mobile support for its CourseSites cloud-based course option.

The CourseSites open enrollment option allows any number of students to register for an instructor's course via a free, fully hosted and supported online system. The goal is to enhance the platform for open teaching initiatives, community outreach efforts, and collaborative research programs. The mobile support option gives an estimated 200,000 CourseSites users access via Apple, Android, WebOS, and BlackBerry mobile devices. Instructors can also use the option to access copies of their course Google Docs and synchronize them with changes made in Google Docs.

Blackboard launched CourseSites in 2011 as a free, cloud-based course management option that included online collaboration and mobile learning. It's now used by more than 30,000 instructors working at more than 12,000 institutions in 130 countries, the company said.

Blackboard's new free open course series focuses on teaching and learning with technology and is part of a company initiative to encourage open education programs that include delivering large open courses or massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Curtis Bonk, an education professor at Indiana University, is using CourseSites to launch an open course on learner-centered approaches to blended and online instruction. In a news release, he credited Blackboard for "fostering this idea of opening up education opportunities beyond traditional boundaries."

Bonk's course specifically will focus on teaching and learning with technology and will be led by instructors in instructional technology and pedagogy with contributions from Blackboard experts detailing successful ways to leverage online learning, course design, and facilitation.

Blackboard said its system is designed to be attractive to instructors who want to try online teaching and learning and may not have access to a learning management system at their institution.

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About the Author

Jim Barthold is a freelance technology reporter. He can be reached at [email protected].

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