The Durham Blackboard User Conference 2017 was themed around Assessment and Feedback. However for me, discussions about the student mobile experience stole the limelight.
Mobile User Symposium
The pre conference workshop manifested into a mobile user group symposium of which was the conference highlight. This group was made up of 35 delegates from over 30 HEIs and each voiced how their institution was delivering a mobile experience to their students. Unsurprisingly not one institution had a mobile strategy in place and this was understandable considering the pace technology moves.
What did come to light from each delegate were Blackboard’s two different mobile apps and how this is causing some confusion in deciding which to employ and promote to students. Mobile Learn (pictured above on the left) is the older of the two and displays much of what Blackboard Learn (desktop) delivers whereas Bb Student (pictured right) delivers only a fraction of the contact and is mainly geared around working with Blackboard’s own core tools, such as Marks, Due Dates, Announcements, Grade Centre and course content. Bb Student does not display module pages*, Turnitin assignments or Campus Pack objects (blogs, journals, eportfolios and wikis). Therefore, UCA would not be deploying the Blackboard Bb Student app (although visually more attractive) at this stage. Blackboard would need to build in more integration for third party tools to consider adoption. The notion of putting all eggs in one basket (using all of Blackboard’s tools) builds a model reliant on one provider and this would alienate many of our current users who value a range of technologies and providers – many of which are cloud-based and use open source.
* UCA are currently heavily dependant on module pages to host library content including subject specific resources