Users of Blackboard Collaborate can expect increased functionality after an upgrade over the weekend. Nick Baker, acting director of the Office of Open Learning, said the upgrade to version 12.5 makes some significant improvements that users have been asking for.
“Users will now see greater mobile access to the platform, as Collaborate will now support Android devices, including Kindle Fire HD, as well as iPads, iPhones and iPods,” he says. “Collaborate uses a dedicated app for iOS devices available free from the Apple iTunes Store, and for Android devices from the GooglePlay Store.”
Other key features in the upgrade include:
- Built-in phone conferencing with call-in numbers that can be provided as a backup in case a user loses connection to the internet;
- The ability to create downloadable MP3 audio and MP4 video recordings that students can take with them for review when they don’t have an internet connection;
- Improved instructor control over tools in sessions.
The upgrade comes at no cost to the University, and will be rolled out automatically. The next time users log in to Collaborate, an updated Java file will automatically download and install so that the new features are available. Use of Collaborate in research, collaborations, on-campus, hybrid and fully online teaching has increased rapidly over the past 12 months, says Baker, and usage continues to grow as more people become familiar with the benefits of using this technology.