Blackboard Mobile Learn for ANGEL is an application that enables instructors and students to access their courses in ANGEL via their iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, or BlackBerry device. A pilot was conducted during the spring 2013 semester to assess the potential of the application to improve the teaching and learning experience at Penn State. Forty-four instructors from 13 residential campuses and the World Campus participated in the pilot. The pilot was composed of 63 course sections containing 1,399 students. Two surveys were conducted, a general survey on mobile applications before the start of the pilot and a survey on the effectiveness of the mobile application at the conclusion of the pilot.
The general mobile survey was delivered by Blackboard Learn and made available to the entire Penn State community. One thousand one hundred and forty one individuals, approximately 7% of the community, responded to the general mobile survey delivered by Blackboard Learn. Respondents indicated they would most likely want to use a mobile application to access ANGEL, access interactive campus maps, to view the bus/shuttle schedule in real time, and view the hours of operation of campus services, such as dining halls and recreation facilities.
The mobile application survey was created by the pilot team and delivered to all participants in the pilot. Seventy-two individuals (5%) responded to the end-of-pilot survey. The majority of respondents indicated they felt the application was easy to use; however, they also indicated that the functionality was limited. Instructors could not create or grade assignments and students could not submit assignments. The primary frustration expressed by the pilot participants was that the app was a limited content consumption vehicle.
Based on these outcomes, it is recommended that the University not pursue purchasing the app in its current format. Instead, the University should work with the vendor to explore the possibility of expanding the kinds of mobile services the app offers. Another possible solution, should Penn State move off of ANGEL to another course management system, is to explore the possibility of incorporating the vendor’s mobile application as part of a complete mobile application strategy.
The report linked below presents an analysis of the pilot.