Blackboard Inc. today announced the launch of a native application for BlackBerry mobile devices, debuting at the University of Washington this week, as part of the new Blackboard Mobile platform which is being leveraged by a growing number of campuses and K-12 schools to deliver a rich set of campus life services and content to mobile devices.
The BlackBerry application enables many more users to enjoy an enhanced experience while navigating course catalogs and campus maps, e-mailing professors and classmates and receiving real time updates on course schedules, campus events, news and sports with Mobile Central (formerly MobilEdu), Blackboard Mobile’s flagship suite of applications.
Originally optimized for users of Apple iPhone and iPod Touch devices, the best Mobile Central experience is now available to users of BlackBerry devices. The suite is also generally accessible to users of any smart phone or mobile Web enabled device.
“This new platform allows us to easily reach our students, faculty and staff around the clock and deliver information whenever and wherever they want it, which increasingly is on mobile devices like the BlackBerry and iPhone,” said David Morton, Director of Mobile Communication Strategies at the University of Washington (UW). “As a modern, global university, UW committed to embracing mobile communications and is pleased to be the launch institution for the BlackBerry initiative.”
“Institutions are looking for new ways to engage and support their communities, and we’re building a mobile platform that helps them do that,” said Michael Chasen, President and CEO of Blackboard. “Increasingly, we hope to help institutions change expectations by enabling mobile services and interactions that represent the full range of the education and campus experience.”
Originally developed by San Francisco-based Terriblyclever Design, LLC, which was acquired by Blackboard in July, Mobile Central is branded for each institution and accessed by users who download their institution’s application. The category defining suite of mobile applications for education is helping to better connect students, parents, faculty, prospective students and alumni to the campus experience in a way that wasn’t possible before.
With Mobile Central, users have access to course catalogs, directories and maps, they can identify exact campus locations with GPS and they can check campus news, schedules, and real-time scores for athletic teams. In addition, open APIs for Blackboard Mobile enable institutions to extend the platform’s offerings to fully customize and personalize the school’s iPhone, BlackBerry and mobile Web interfaces.
The announcement was made at the EDUCAUSE 2009 annual conference in Denver, Colo., where several thousand members of the higher education community have gathered at the industry’s premier information technology event.
“The BlackBerry app is something our clients have asked for and is part of our effort to create an optimized experience for all mobile users,” said Kayvon Beykpour, Vice President of Blackboard Mobile. “We’re happy to work with institutions to leverage technologies that meet the expectations of students and other campus constituents who live and learn in a mobile, digital world.”
For more information about the Blackboard Mobile platform, please visit http://www.blackboard.com/mobile.