Blackboard Planner launched on October 1st. The first launch focuses on personalized exploration, job and skill market demand, student sentiment, advisor communication, and advisor enablement. New planning and scheduling features are slated to roll out on a continual basis.
In the weeks leading up to the official launch of Blackboard Planner, I took some time to reflect on what we have built and the impact it will have on students. These days, most of my reflection happens in the car commuting to and from the office. One day in particular, I was thinking about how we started trying to help students schedule classes, and then we realized that scheduling classes is part of the problem, but we also needed to help those students who don’t know what career and degree to pursue, and who struggle in their major and can’t identify a path forward. It’s no surprise my musings were interrupted by a voice from my phone – the Waze GPS navigation app warned me of an accident on my path and redirected me to a new route.
Waze has fundamentally changed my daily commute, providing me clear guidance on how to avoid traffic and quickly change direction when my path isn’t optimal. Much the same way, Blackboard Planner will fundamentally change how students chart their educational journey. Identifying an optimal educational path isn’t easy. It is really complicated – and far more complicated than finding the best driving route – yet many students need the type of proactive guidance that Waze drivers experience.
Here are three ways that Blackboard Planner helps students decide which career path to take, avoid scheduling pitfalls, and pivot if their path is no longer working for them:
#1. Navigating towards a successful future
Choosing the best major can be quite difficult when you aren’t sure of your career goals. Blackboard Planner enables students to discover careers, skills, jobs, and majors based on self-identified interests.
Then, Blackboard Planner helps students select the best educational route with real-time insight into their current progress, labor and skill demand, and the experience of professionals. We felt strongly about releasing career exploration tools first so that students could start off on the right path.
In addition, when students open Blackboard Planner, they see their progress towards a degree and an outline of what is next. They have a plan built for them, based on their curriculum. When it is time to register for classes, they can set their preferences and an intelligent plan is created for them. When they want to know which class will help them build the skills they need for the job they want, the app is there. All in one place. And it is exactly the same place they already go to check their grades and get their assignments. All of this helps students better navigate towards a successful future.
#2. Avoiding pitfalls
Most students encounter some road bumps on their educational journey. Next year, Blackboard Planner will be able to warn of scheduling conflicts or course load changes that will cause delays in graduation. The mobile app will also feature customized scheduling so students can make sure class schedules work with their busy lives. We built a special view for advisors that combines insight into student sentiment, plans and likelihood of success in classes, so that they can help steer students in the right direction and proactively intervene when necessary.
#3. Changing direction
Students need to change their path. It’s normal and it happens a lot. Students may struggle in a major for a lot of different reasons – they are not doing well, they don’t like it, or they don’t value it. If they can’t find an alternative path, they stop out. Blackboard Planner helps students explore alternative majors that will enable them to graduate most quickly toward a path that will lead to career outcomes. They even see an easy-to-understand breakdown of their existing credits that count towards their new degree and those they still need to take.
Planning and learning go together. We intend to empower students to make good decisions, stay on track, graduate and have a job waiting. It starts by rethinking this experience. By making it whole. We can’t wait for you to join us.
To learn more about Blackboard Planner, visit www.blackboard.com/planner.