This manual will help you get started with the new Blackboard apps for the ipad and iphone

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1 How to Use the Blackboard Mobile Learn Apps This manual will help you get started with the new Blackboard apps for the ipad and iphone WILLIAM DE WYSOCKIE JUNE, 2010

2 This section introduces you to the new Blackboard Mobile Learn apps. While this document focuses on the app for the ipad, many of the steps apply to the newly released app for the iphone. Welcome to the world of mobile learning! Blackboard has developed apps that extend the online classroom from your computer to your smartphone, from your office to the neighborhood Starbucks. You can now engage in teaching on the go. Your mobile device does not give you access to everything in your Blackboard course. For example, you will not be able to access the Grade Center or open the Virtual Classroom tool (Blackboard s chat room feature). However, there is a rich array of tools that you can access as you will see in the following pages. The first thing you will need to do is download the appropriate app to your mobile device. Apps are available for the following devices: ipad iphone ipod Touch Blackberry Android 3

3 For example, if you have an iphone, you would go to the Apple App Store and download the Blackboard Mobile Learn app for that device. After you have installed the app, click the application s icon. The application will open. The image below illustrates what the application looks like on an ipad. Enter in the Search for your School text field. 4

4 The ipad application has a Dashboard feature. You can use the Dashboard to search for items by date, type, and class. To close the Dashboard and enter an individual course, click the Dashboard tab. This is illustrated in the image below. 8

5 Click one of the course links to open the course menu. In the course illustrated here, there is a Start Here link in the menu. Clicking it opens a second column with a Welcome to Intro to Blackboard 9.1 link. This is illustrated in the image below. 9

6 This course structure corresponds with the web-based course created by the instructor. 10

7 Notice in the image above that you have two options: (1) You can open the application s internal web browser to view the page or (2) you can open the attached document. Viewing the page on the app s browser provides limited functionality (i.e., not everything works as expected). Students new to this class will want to open the syllabus. Let s do that by clicking the Syllabus.pdf (127 KB) link. 11

8 Clicking the syllabus link opens another window containing the syllabus document. You have two options at this point. You can close the window by clicking the icon that contains the X or you can maximize the window by clicking the icon that contains the white square. The image below illustrates the window after it has been maximized. 12

9 Now let s go to the next section of this manual and look at Announcements. 13

10 This section introduces you to the Announcements section of the course. Announcements are simple to open and read. The Announcements link opens an announcements window. This is illustrated in the image below. Notice that you can maximize this window. Notice also that an instructor can add a new announcement from the mobile device. Of course, students can only read announcements; they cannot add any. 14

11 That s it! Announcements are easy to read and to add from your mobile device. So let s move on to the next section and look at course material. 15

12 This section introduces you to the ways that you and your students interact with course material on a mobile device. In this course there is a Course Material link. Clicking it opens a second column containing various course material items. 16

13 In this case, these items are PDF documents that the instructor has uploaded to the course. Each document focuses on an important topic covered in this class. Let s click the Groups link to look at this document. 17

14 This opens the Groups window. Let s open the attached document. You do that by clicking the Getting_Started_with_Groups.pdf (217 KB) link. 18

15 Notice that you can maximize the window. Let s do that. 19

16 This is easy to read on the ipad. On other mobile devices you will need to scroll across the screen to read it. We looked at a document. Now let s look at a small video that has been uploaded to the course. Scroll down the course menu to the two Media items. Notice in this case that the instructor has uploaded two different sets of videos. One set contains videos that have been formatted for iphone users. The other set contains videos that have been specially formatted for the ipad. 20

17 In the above illustration, the user is viewing the course on an ipad. Therefore he/she clicks the Media (ipad users) link. 21

18 In the above illustration, the user has clicked the iphone app link in the second column. This opened a new window containing a video attachment. To open the video, the user clicks the link. 22

19 A window opens that contains the video. In this case, the video is an introduction to Blackboard s new iphone app. On the ipad, you can maximize this window. Just click the round button that contains the white square. 23

20 Notice that the user has expanded the window and rotated the ipad for a better viewing experience. We have looked at how you can interact with course materials on a mobile device. Now let s look at how you can interact with blogs. 24

21 This section introduces you to the Blog tool. Specifically, we will look at how you can interact with blogs on a mobile device. In the illustration below, the user has clicked on the Blogs link in the course menu. 25

22 The window that opens contains the Life-Cycle of Groups blog created by the instructor. The instructor has asked students to comment on the eight stages of a Blackboard group. To see if there are any more blog posts, click on the blog posting. 26

23 A new screen appears showing that a student has posted a response. You have two options: (1) You can click the Blogs button to return to the previous post or (2) you can click the post to move to a new screen. The new screen contains a text field that allows you to post a response. In this case, the instructor clicks on the post and adds a response. The result is illustrated in the image below. 27

24 The above image illustrates what the screen looks like after the instructor has entered a new post. The instructor can add another comment, return to the previous post, or close the window. Let s close the window and look at the Journals section. 28

25 This section will show you how to access and interact with Journals. The Journal area allows students to record thoughts and ideas on a special topic. It also allows you to view and comment on these thoughts. If you make the journal public, students can view each other s posts. In the image below, the instructor has clicked the Journals link in the course menu. 29

26 This opens the Journal window. Notice that there are two journal areas created by the instructor. Clicking one or the other will bring you to the posts entered in that particular journal. 30

27 Notice in the above image that the instructor has pressed Blackboard 9.1 Journal posting. Two things happen one after another. First, an oval appears around the post indicating your choice. 31

28 Second, the window changes and posts that have been entered in that journal appear. We have looked briefly at journals. Now let s look at the Tasks tool. 32

29 This section introduces you to the Tasks tool. You and your students can use this tool to keep track of project tasks. In the image below, the user has clicked on the Tasks link. 33

30 Clicking the Tasks link opens the task window. In the image above, only one task has been posted (it must be the first week of the term!). Let s click the task posted by the instructor. 34

31 A new screen appears with details about the task. Notice that you can record that you are starting the task by clicking the Tap To Start link. 35

32 When you are finished with this task, you can click the Tap To Complete link. That was easy enough. Now let s look at the roster and the Grades section. 36

33 This section introduces you to both the Roster tool and the My Grades tool. Both are simple and easyto-use so we can cover both in one section. The roster tool simply opens a window that allows you to see everyone enrolled in the course. In the image below, a student has clicked on the Roster link in the course menu. 37

34 Easy enough! Now let s open the Grades window. 38

35 In this case, the student has not yet been given a grade for any of her activities. Once she receives a grade, she will be able to view it in this window. If you are an instructor, this page will appear blank. This makes a lot of sense as an instructor, you don t have any grades to view! The most-used tool in Blackboard is the Discussion Board. Let s look at that tool next. 39

36 This section introduces you to the Discussion Board. Faculty members and students can now interact with this tool on their mobile devices. In the image below, the instructor has clicked on the Discussions link in the course menu. 40

37 This opens a second column containing the Discussion Board forums. In this course, the instructor so far has added only one forum: Blackboard 9.1 Grade Center. 41

38 Clicking the forum link opens the forum in a new window. Notice that the instructor can create a new thread. Depending on how the instructor has configured this forum, students may have the ability to add threads also. To view the current thread, click the gray area in the window. 42

39 Notice that someone has posted to this thread. You have three options at this point: (1) Return to the Threads screen, (2) click the post to expand it, or (3) add a new post. Let s click the post to expand it. 43

40 You can now read the entire post. The instructor viewing this post wants to respond, so he/she clicks the Add Post button. 44

41 The above window shows us what the window looks like after the instructor has responded. Notice that the second post is flagged as a response by the RE: attached to the post title. You can expand the post by clicking on it. 45

42 This is what the post looks like after it has been expanded. Notice that you can now read the entire post. 46

43 Of course, you can maximize the window as well. Let s look at one more Blackboard tool Groups. 47

44 This section introduces you to the Groups tool. Groups are enhanced in Blackboard 9.1. There are more ways to create groups and more tools that you can provide your students to facilitate collaboration. Many of these new tools are available via a mobile device. First, here is a list of the group tools that instructors and students can access on a mobile device: Group Blog Group Discussion Board Group Journal Group Tasks Group Wiki 48

45 Instructors and students will need to use a compatible computer to use the other tools. They are not available on a mobile device at this time. In this section we will look at the Group Discussion Board tool. First, let s access the Groups area by clicking the Groups link. 49

46 A second column is generated with a list of course groups. In the course illustrated in the above image, four groups have been generated. Each group has been assigned a project centering on best practices for structuring course content. 50

47 Let s look at the fourth group Course Content Project Groups 4. To do this, we click the group link. 51

48 This opens the group s window. Notice that by default it opens to the Group Details page. This is a simple list of the group members. Let s navigate to the window s Group Tools page. 52

49 We do this by clicking the Group Tools button. This opens a page that contains a list of links to the group tools (see above image). Remember, not every tool is usable on a mobile device. For example, let s click the Collaboration link. 53

50 This opens the Collaboration window. However, clicking the links on this page fails to open the chat tools. Instructors and students will need to use a compatible computer. 54

51 Let s open one of the tools that function well on a mobile device the Group Discussion Board. 55

52 A Discussions window opens. Two forums have been generated for this group s Discussion Board: (1) Best Practices List and (2) Resources. To go to one of these forums just click the appropriate link. Let s navigate to the Best Practices List forum. 56

53 A new screen appears that contains the forum s threads. In this case, there are two threads: (1) Best Practices for Structuring Course Content and (2) How about modules? The How about modules? thread contains an unread post. This is indicated by the number 1 in a red circle. Since we haven t read this post yet, let s navigate to it. 57

54 A new screen appears that contains the unread post. We will need to expand the post in order to read the entire message. Click on the post to expand it. 58

55 Now we can read the entire message. If you wish, you can click the Add Post button to submit a new post to this discussion thread. It s getting late, however, so we will table that task for another day. Let s click the button at the top of the forum window to return to the previous screen. 59

56 Notice that the Unread flag is gone. You have now read all the messages in this forum. That s it for this section! As we have indicated, there are a more group tools that students and instructors can use on a mobile device. For example, students can track tasks and post journal entries. I hope this manual has helped orient you to Blackboard Mobile Learn apps. 60

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