BlackBoard is a learning management system that many schools use to deliver their e-content. Mobile Learn is BlackBoard’s official iOS app, and it comes with a few special features that aren’t available in its default/desktop version.
Setting it up
Mobile Learn is best viewed using landscape orientation. You need to first set up Mobile Learn by entering your institution’s name and then your login information that you normally use on BlackBoard’s desktop version.
All your courses will appear on the left sidebar. You can customize their colors, names, and visibility using “Edit” on the top right corner of the courses’ menu. When you tap on a course’s name, you’ll see all visible folders.
Testing on Mobile Learn
Using Mobile Learn, a user can do most of the basic tasks, like view and download files and folders and submit assignments/journals. However, a user cannot take a normal BlackBoard test using Mobile Learn. They are not compatible with Mobile Learn. Instead, there is a special test called a “mobile compatible test” that is made for Mobile Learn. Unlike BlackBoard’s standard test, this mobile compatible test can be completed on both the app and a browser.
As you can see, the mobile compatible test looks cool and is easy to handle on iPads (it doesn’t lag like standard BlackBoard tests do with short answers and open-ended questions). However, there are a limited number of questions that can be added, and somewhat different types of questions (hotspot and upload).
How to use it in a language classroom
My students also use it when submitting journals. Its interface is inviting and user-friendly. Using Journals, a student can also easily submit/upload pictures and videos from their iPads. –BlackBoard on Safari doesn’t work when they try uploading photos or videos from their iPads.
I also found mobile compatible test on Mobile Learn helpful when giving quizzes with open-ended question. It makes life a lot easier for students to fill in their answers. I tried it out with spelling tests and blanks; it was great, but one major problem for me was: students cannot view test feedback or score after they take a test, which defeats the purpose of a spelling test or a small grammar quiz to reinforce what was taught in class.
Mobile Learn, like any other iOS app, comes with notifications. This tool can be very helpful to alert students whenever something is uploaded or added to their courses, or whenever an announcement is posted. I usually ask my students to initially set it up at the beginning of the semester to enable the notifications feature. –Sometimes, I make sure to set it up a test the night before just to send them an indirect reminder that they need to study for it :D
Also, as noted earlier, Mobile Learn is more user-friendly when it comes to writing long answers, especially on tests. However, as any other app: it could crash and the student will lose everything. Unless it’s a test, you can ask students to complete their writing tasks on Notes, and then paste to and edit on Mobile Learn.