At Blackboard Collaborate, we pride ourselves on the fact that our products are designed for education, by educators. We’ve found that the best way to make sure our customers love our platform is to partner with them throughout the development process, from requirements to release. In particular, we work closely with the Blackboard Collaborate Product Advisory Council and our Accessibility Taskforce, and also hear directly from users through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the last year, our customers were especially vocal about their need to provide mobile access to live web conferencing sessions. So we worked with our Advisory Council to prioritize the features most needed for class participation and meetings on the go, and created an interface designed specifically for mobile devices from the ground up. The goal was an app so simple that students can just pick it up and start using it, while providing for essential classroom interactivity: two-way audio, chatting with the room, hand raising, responding to polls, etc. We also made sure that every feature added was carefully balanced against the possibility it could distract from instructional content like slides and shared applications.
While putting the finishing touches on the mobile app, we ran weekly Beta group sessions to refine and test our design. This group included users like Marcel Bechtoldt of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who told us what Collaborate mobile means for his school:
We’ve seen double-digit growth yearly with use of mobile access to the Blackboard Learn™ application. Having a mobile collaboration app, such as Blackboard Collaborate™ mobile web conferencing, will be the icing on the cake for our campus to provide the innovative degree programs our students so richly deserve.
This is just the beginning of our mobile journey, and we’ll continue to look to our users for feedback – so please keep it coming. With that, I’ll leave you with a reminder to check out the Blackboard Collaborate mobile app at this demo. Institutions with enterprise licenses running Collaborate 12 web conferencing can access the mobile app immediately and download it from the App Store.