Attracting students is only part of the challenge, retaining then requires engagement. With growing attention on course quality and higher student expectations, making sure that students are getting the most out of their education experience has become increasingly important. It’s not enough to simply deliver great courses, they demand more. They want faster responses to assignments, interactive course materials, grade tracking, and integrated learning resources. They expect advanced accessibility via mobile devices and to use collaborative tools for distance or blended learning.
Blackboard works tirelessly to provide its clients with the latest and greatest in technologies that can help to keep students engaged and enhance the learning experience for both on-campus and distance learners.
By giving educators the ability to make time efficiencies with assignments, grading and pulling together course materials Blackboard Learn delivers a solution that helps educators deliver the best quality service while allowing students to use a fully integrated system to manage their studies.
With our new McGraw-Hill partnership Blackboard can now deliver content, assignments and assessments from McGraw-Hill’s learning object repositories directly into courses. This reduces educators’ time in designing and developing courses, and provides a more engaging experience for students.
One of the most powerful tools in the education market place today to keep students engaged is through mobile technologies. Blackboard Mobile Central allows students to download their institutions application directly to their mobile device giving them instant access to course catalogues, maps, transport, news, social calendars, journals and much more. Institutions can now create and integrate their own custom apps into Blackboard Mobile Central with the help of the Blackboard Mobile Software Development Kit (SDK). You can also choose to implement Blackboard Mobile Learn which delivers course content from Blackboard Learn directly to mobile devices, allowing for learning on the go.
Expectations are high, and service levels need to meet the needs of the 24x7 student. You can reduce costs and increase efficiencies by choosing Blackboard Managed Hosting to be sure that you’re learning environment is stable and accessible with 24-hours a day monitoring provided by Blackboard.
Most institutions have faced the challenges associated with keeping their student body engaged in learning and with the institution itself. Through innovative thinking and a dedication for delivering a high quality education experience many of Blackboards clients have made great strides to ensure that they keep their students engaged.
At Liverpool John Moores University (UK) they found that midwifery students were becoming disengaged when learning about the compulsory Government Reports while at the same time, when on work placement, wanted to see more engagement in the same way as in their first year of study. So they began looking for new ways to engage students, develop critical thinking skills early on, support them on work placements and provide a stronger sense of community. Their solution was a specially created online community within Blackboard Learn™ called ‘Stork Talk’. It allowed for more engagements with the Government Reports, requiring summary essays to be published on the platform and through Community Engagement discussion boards and groups were set-up. They found that students continued to use ‘Stork Talk’ throughout their academic career as they enjoyed the interaction it provided, and work placement students stayed connected.
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When the decision was taken at Coatbridge College (UK) to ensure engagement by deploying 100% blended learning across its entire curriculum they chose Blackboard for this task. When they compared Blackboard to open source alternatives they found they were not as intuitive, reliable or resilient thus making it the obvious choice based on their 100% blended learning goal. Other institutions have also found that a deeper engagement requires a highly robust virtual learning environment (VLE).
At the HTC - Dubai Women’s College (U.A.E.) they required their VLE to support a high level of “always on” technology with every seat having a power supply and network connectivity to enable students to bring their laptops to lessons. They needed to stay in contact with their students while out industry internships and were able allow them to work completed entirely on Blackboard Learn. The enhanced collaborative features also allowed them to continue their strategy for collaborative learning and virtual exchanges throughout the student lifecycle.
Blackboard has also been used in crisis situations where learning is required to continue when there is no access to on campus facilities.
Northumberland College (UK) has been using Blackboard as its VLE since 2008 but when heavy snow forced some campuses to close down in January 2010, Blackboard came into its own. Whilst keeping students informed of the situation, education could still be delivered to remote students to avoid disruption with their courses. Blackboard Learn is now an integral part of their educational continuity policy and part of their plan to become an ‘exceptional college’ by 2013.
The new Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1 is helping improve student engagement at Dudley College (UK) and Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium). With its easy to use functionality, collaborative tools and web content, it addresses both student engagement and staff buy-in. Educators were able to build more exciting courses and embed videos, audio, or mash-ups right into the pages. The integration with Facebook, the Blackboard toolbar, and Blackboard Mobile means it helps them meet the expectations of technology savvy students. Read both Dudley's and Antwerp's stories.
Contact us to learn more about how Blackboard can help you engage and retain students at your institution.
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