Smartphone-touting students can now access Blackboard through a mobile app after ASU officials negotiated with the company in early April to open the application to all carriers.
ASU’s University Technology Office officials asked the company to open the app to Android, Blackberry and Palm phone users, said Ruvi Wijesuriya, the academic technology support group director within the UTO.
Blackboard Mobile Learn was an exclusive app to Sprint, iPhone and iPad users through Wi-Fi until early April, Wijesuriya said.
“(It’s) a convenient way to consume, access your classes, check your grades and participate in your course work,” Wijesuriya said.
The app contains most of Blackboard’s desktop functions such as announcements, assignments, grades, class rosters and discussion boards, Wijesuriya said.
The app can be downloaded free through the iPhone App Store, BlackBerry App World, Google Play Store and the PalmOS App Store.
Blackboard Mobile Learn consumes less data than using the mobile browser, which download graphics, Wijesuriya said.
“(The graphics are) nice to have on your desktop,” Wijesuriya said. “It’s completely unnecessary on your phone when all I want to do is get in, get information and get out.”
He said the app would save smartphone users with limited data plans money.
Smartphone owners can view discussion boards and create and reply to discussion posts, according to the app’s user guide.
Android owners are the only users who can upload document and PDF files onto a discussion thread directly from their phone, according to the guide.
He said Blackboard would continue to add more functions and updates to the app.
“Right now you will not be able to upload files with your iPhone, but maybe three weeks down the road they finish coding that part of the app," Wijesuriya said.
Computer information systems senior Daniel Caceres downloaded the Blackboard Mobile Learn App on his Samsung Galaxy smartphone Monday.
Caceres said he loves the app’s corkboard and chalkboard background.
“It has a nostalgic feeling, which is nice for us who had classrooms like that,” he said.
Caceres said the course announcements were easier and faster to find than the desktop version, which he uses seven to 10 times a day.
“The problem with (the desktop version) is all the announcements blend in,” he said.
Caceres said he likes the app’s organization and class separation.
“This design facilitates faster responsiveness,” he said.
Theatre freshman Tess Hernandez said if she had a smartphone with the Blackboard app, she could check class announcements and other important information while on her bus ride home.
“I could carry and check it pretty much anywhere,” Hernandez said. “I could just do it just waiting for food at a restaurant.”
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