Today, there is a seemingly infinite amount of information we can easily access and share online. However, today’s educators and course developers are still confined by numerous technical barriers that prevent them from sharing the resources needed to create modern education materials.
We’re hoping to change that.
Over the past year, more than seventy institutions have joined Blackboard to begin developing xpLor, a cloud-based learning object repository that will be the industry’s first to support multiple learning management systems (LMS). With the ability to work across LMS platforms, xpLor aims to make it easier for educators to manage and share rich content regardless of what system they are using or their institutional affiliation. xpLor would also make it easier for educators to collaborate in – or crowdsource – the development of course materials.
With xpLor, educators around the world will be able to:
- Share rich content between systems inside the cloud without importing and exporting
With a new semester kicking off at many professional colleges and universities, we’ve
been thinking about the ways these institutions will evolve over the coming year. There’s no doubt that technology will continue to play a pivotal role in the way career colleges educate learners – helping these schools maintain their leadership in leveraging technology for student success.
Here are the top five ways professional colleges and universities will continue to get the most out of technology in 2013:
MORE hybrid and online-only classes
Did you know that 30% of today’s higher education students take at least one class online? Recent studies show that those numbers are growing, and we believe professional and career colleges continue to lead in the pack when it comes to transitioning classes to the online environment. Of the many benefits to online learning, perhaps the most pertinent to career colleges is that e-learning will allow more non-traditional students to gain access to higher education.
MORE mobile course content
We’ve written before that nearly half of all students already use smartphones for school-related tasks, and with increasing adoption of smartphones and tablet PCs alike, we expect this number to grow in 2013. Professional colleges and universities are already delivering campus news and information, as well as course content, on mobile devices, and we look forward to seeing how they develop mobile-specific content such as lectures and exam delivery this year.
As colleges and universities of all types continue to expand their online learning offerings, professional institutions continue to lead the way in adopting the latest technologies to enhance the educational experience. So, we asked some of our cutting-edge professional college and university clients about their journeys into online learning, and what ‘best practices’ and ‘lessons learned’ they uncovered along the way.
In our new infographic, we explore some of these findings, questions, tasks, and ‘bumps in the road‘ schools often face as they develop and execute an online learning strategy, such as:
- Creating a business plan
- Avoiding mission creep
- Knowing your market and how to reach it
- Preparing your faculty
One of the best ways to reach today’s active, tech-savvy students is to deliver learning where students already are: on smartphones and tablets. Since studies show that smartphone users spend the majority of their phone time on apps, and nearly half of all students already use smartphones for school-related tasks, leveraging mobile platforms is an easy way for schools to connect with students whether they are on campus or on the go.
That’s why we developed Blackboard Mobile Learn and Blackboard Mobile Central, two robust online platforms that give learners, educators, and school communities access to all aspects of the educational experience on their mobile devices. Blackboard Mobile Learn extends the experience of the online learning management system, Blackboard Learn, onto mobile devices. Blackboard Mobile Central is a suite of features in a single mobile application that provides campus life resources and information – like student and faculty directories, news, brick-and-mortar campus maps, dining menus and more – on mobile devices.
If your professional college or university is looking for ways to go mobile, here are my top 5 reasons to choose Blackboard:
“For more than a decade, for-profit colleges and universities have been agents of educational change—driving innovation by promoting online learning as an alternative to traditional classroom instruction. Now it’s time for these institutions to use their years of experience as leaders on the online learning front lines to shape what must come next for higher education: increased student success.”
As higher education becomes increasingly important in today’s job market, student success at all institution types is key. But what can colleges and universities that focus on professional education do to lead other institutions on this path to student success? We address this question in our new position paper, “NOW is the Time to Raise the Bar for Student Success: How Professional Colleges & Universities Can Use the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Drive Change.”
From where we sit, career colleges must continue to embrace disruptive innovation to bring effective change to higher education, even if this requires overturning norms that are taken for granted. For example, we believe some of the most important disruptive trends today – which are already embraced by career colleges – include:
- Focusing on competency-based outcomes instead of credit hour completion.
- Increasing rigor in the course-building process to better emphasize learning outcomes.
- Integrating of professional skills into coursework.