Blackboard Mobile Apps
At the midpoint of 2017 there were five main mobile apps available for use with Blackboard products, allowing access to various facets of the Yorkshare VLE on the go. In order to simplify their mobile offering, Blackboard retired the following two apps in Q3 2017:
- “Mobile Learn” (retired August 1st)
- “Bb Grader” (retired September 1st)
This leaves the following three apps available for use, only:
- “Blackboard Instructor” (formerly known as “Bb Instructor”) – For use by staff to access Yorkshare VLE and Collaborate Ultra
- “Blackboard” (formerly known as “Bb Student”) – For use by students to access Yorkshare VLE and Collaborate Ultra
- “Blackboard Collaborate” – For use by both staff and students to access Collaborate Classic webinar sessions only.
Much of the functionality provided by the Mobile Learn app should be added to the Blackboard and Blackboard Instructor apps in the future, if not already available. Much of the grading functionality provided by Bb Grader should be available within Blackboard Instructor by the end of Q1 2018.
It is also possible to visit the VLE through your mobile device’s web browser, without having a specific app installed. To check if your device’s web browser will support the VLE use Blackboard’s Browser Checker.
Apps Phased Out in 2017
Mobile Learn was originally released in 2010 and was usable by both students and staff on iOS and Android. Students could use the app to view basic VLE site content and interact with tools such as discussion forums. Staff could do the same, but also use the app to add some basic types of new content.
- Mobile Learn is no longer available through the app store on any mobile device, having been retired on August 1st 2017.
- Mobile Learn will continue to function on Android devices for the foreseeable future, but will stop working on Apple devices as soon as they are updated to iOS11.
- Mobile Learn is no longer be supported by Blackboard or our team. This means that if you experience issues using this app we will not be able to assist and will instead suggest that you try one of the newer apps (see below) or a standard web browser on a PC or Mac.
Bb Grader was originally released in 2014 for use by staff. It was available on iOS tablets only (not phones, nor any Android devices). Staff could use Grader to do some basic assignment grading tasks.
- Bb Grader is no longer available through the Apple app store, having been retired on September 1st 2017.
- Bb Grader will stop functioning on Apple devices as soon as they are updated to iOS11.
- Bb Grader is no longer be supported by Blackboard or our team. This means that if you experience issues using this app we will not be able to assist and will instead suggest that you try one of the newer apps (see below) or a standard web browser on a PC or Mac.
Apps For Continued Use During 2017 and Beyond
For Staff: “Blackboard Instructor” (formerly known as “Bb Instructor”)
This app for staff is a new offering from Blackboard, first released on July 20th 2017. This app was initially called “Bb Instructor” but has since been renamed to “Blackboard Instructor”.
Due to the newness of this app it has very limited functionality and is still subject to some initial bugs. With this in mind we would suggest using Blackboard Instructor for the following tasks only at this time:
- Sending out announcements – This will generate an announcement that appears on your VLE site as normal, and will send an email to everyone enrolled on the course which will be delivered within 20-30 minutes of the announcement’s creation.
- Checking basic content items – You can preview them, but not edit them.
- Responding to discussion forum posts – This app has good in-app support for discussion forums, making them straight forward to navigate and use. Currently the other Blackboard tools (journals, blogs and wikis) are not supported in the app.
- Joining Collaborate Ultra sessions – Learn more about using Collaborate Ultra via Blackboard Instructor.
Find Out More:
- Watch Blackboard’s own “Blackboard Instructor App Tour” video
- Visit the Official Blackboard Instructor Help Pages.
The Blackboard Instructor app is available on iOS 9.0+ and Android 4.2+ devices, with a planned Windows release in the future.
For Students: “Blackboard” app (formerly known as “Bb Student”)
This app for students was first released in 2015 under the name “Bb Student”, but was renamed “Blackboard” in the July 2017 update.
We recommend the use of the “Courses” functionality within the Blackboard app only, and strongly suggest that all assessment activity (including actual assignment submission, the checking of due date or other assessment details, grade/feedback retrieval and test taking) is done via a web browser on a PC or a Mac as opposed to using this app on a mobile device. Our position on electronic assessment and mobile apps is outlined in our “E-Assessment and the Blackboard App” blog post.
Find Out More:
- Read our “Getting Started with the Blackboard App” one pager for students.
- Learn more about the “Courses” area of the app: watch Blackboard’s own “Blackboard App Tour” video (from 1:30) or visit the Official Blackboard App Help Pages.
- Learn more about using Collaborate Ultra via the Blackboard app.
- Learn more about designing VLE content for use by students on mobile devices by visiting section 2.1.1 of our TEL Handbook: 2.1.1 Mobile-Friendly Sites.
- Visit our Mobiles Apps for Students page to learn about other apps that we suggest students try.
The Blackboard app is available on iOS 9.0+, Android 4.2+ and Windows 10+.
For Staff and Students: “Blackboard Collaborate”
This app was originally released in 2012 for use by both staff and students on iOS and Android.
This app was created to allow use of the Collaborate Classic webinar tool on mobile devices. This app can’t be used to access Collaborate Ultra webinar sessions, which should be accessed via the Blackboard Instructor or Blackboard app instead. There is no need to install this app to access Collaborate Ultra sessions if you already have Blackboard Instructor or Blackboard installed; only install this standalone Blackboard Collaborate app if you have a need to access Collaborate Classic sessions on your mobile.
The Blackboard Collaborate app is available on iOS 8.0+ and Android 2.3.3+.