Blackboard Mobile Learn app doesn’t feature full benefits of website

Jamal Melancon

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The mobile app now featured in Loyola’s Blackboard package is a free download for students that gives quick access, but not the full benefits of Blackboard.

Blackboard offers students interaction with daily course activities and media, and with free access to the Blackboard Mobile Learn app, students can also use Blackboard on their phone.

Jim Dugan, Loyola’s learning and technologies developer, said that there are some limitations to the app, though.

“Because of limitations of browser compatibility and communication bandwidth, some of the heavier-duty features of Blackboard may not be available through the mobile app,” Dugan said.

Although accessing Blackboard through the computer features full benefits, Eric Wiltz, Loyola’s online instructional support technologist, said the mobile app could come in handy as a last resort or backup tool for an emergency.

“It is not in my or anyone on the online learning team’s opinion, a worthy substitute to an old fashioned computer,” Wiltz said.

Institutions that do not include licensing for the Blackboard app cause students to pay a fee of $2 to connect with their school on Blackboard Mobile Learn.

Blackboard has made certain of its functions available where they weren’t before with Loyola’s bundle because they are competing with other Learning Management Systems who offer things like mobile apps free in their bundle,” Wiltz said. “Blackboard is incentivizing its customers to stay with Blackboard.

Marisa Clogher, English writing sophomore, said she uses the Blackboard Mobile Learn app for class readings or to check syllabi that she hasn’t printed.

“I also use it to check my grades, and I do that very often,” Clogher said. “If I had to pay, however, I probably would have bought it. I think it’s pretty cool that we have it for free because I do use it all the time,” Clogher said.

Peyton Burgess, Loyola’s learning technology developer, said learning management systems like Blackboard may be expanding their services for the larger market coming soon.

“In part because of online classes becoming more popular and social media being a standard method of communication, learning management systems will probably see a much bigger market and will do what it takes to compete with each other for these new and bigger markets,” Burgess said.

Even though their app features less learning management capabilities, Blackboard has another base covered with customers by providing free access.

Apps are pretty standard companions to social media and usually free, and I think Blackboard and other learning management systems know this and know it’d be foolish to not offer apps as part of their service,” Burgess said.

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