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Blackboard Builds Tool To Simplify App Creation for Colleges

Blackboard's mobile team has taken what's it learned about developing apps for education environments and created a tool that allows non-developers to slam together their own apps. Mosaic, as it's named, is intended to simplify the process of developing an integrated campus program for devices running Apple iOS, Google Android, and web browsers.

The new program lets the institution choose from 14 functions, add custom data, and create a branded interface. The software's backend validates the data and generates the mobile app. Once an app is created, it can be submitted to Apple, Google, and other marketplaces for distribution. Mosaic lets authorized users make updates and track and evaluate usage data to determine what users are going to most among the function set.

App features that can be added include:

  • Virtual campus tours;
  • Athletics;
  • News;
  • Telephone directories;
  • Library catalogs;
  • Transportation schedules;
  • Mapping and navigation;
  • Academic and event calendars;
  • Access to the learning management system;
  • Emergency contacts;
  • Important campus links; and
  • Campus images and videos.

One university that has been trying out Mosaic is Loyola Marymount University, which offers iLMU Mobile. "Mobile apps have become a mainstream channel for people to get information about LMU, and the quality of our app reflects strongly on the caliber of our university," said John Kiralla, executive director of Web, New Media and Design. "Our goal has always been to foster a community with iLMU Mobile, and we believe that Mosaic allows us to achieve that goal. Mosaic makes it easy for us to update our mobile content and features to keep pace with the needs of our integrated digital strategy and target audiences."

Mosaic works with the Blackboard Mobile Software Development Kit to allow integration of other apps into the campus app.

The company said in a prepared statement that Mosaic replaces the Blackboard Mobile Central platform, which will no longer be sold.

Other institutions currently using Mosaic include Duke University, Jacksonville State, and Clemson University, among others.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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