Blackboard Mobile puts campus in the palm of your hand

September 28, 2010 | Robert Scoble

The campus scene has changed a lot since my college days…I actually registered for classes by waiting in line for a couple hours, instead of settling in for a few clicks at a laptop. Blackboard Mobile is changing (again) how students engage with their universities, through a few remarkable mobile applications.

“I was standing in line in a coffee shop on campus, and noticed that many people these days are using smartphones,” says Kayvon Beykpour, vice-president of Blackboard Mobile. “Students are doing all kinds of things with them: they’re on Facebook, checking email, making phone calls. People were doing just about everything except interacting with the university, which we thought was a bit of a disconnect. There’s so many things that, as a student, you need to do every day, whether it’s registering for a course, or finding your way around campus, or checking the directory or athletics scores—and they’re all traditionally different places. Why not create a really sophisticated, really elegant, and really beautiful app that brings all those different services together in one place, and makes it really usable for the student, for the faculty, for the tourist? And that’s what our platform does.”

Beykpour and a few other Stanford University students founded Terriblyclever Design, and created iStanford, an app that not only brought together public information like maps and team scores, but also integrated Stanford’s own systems for class registration, directories, and events. It’s a totally different experience —and much simpler—than navigating the endless patchwork of pages that fill out a university’s site. Blackboard bought Terriblyclever about a year ago, and Blackboard Mobile was born.

They’ve also created a mobile version of the classic Blackboard software that has become ubiquitous at colleges. “Blackboard Learn is something that students use every day,” says Beykpour. “They have to: that’s where they get their courses, that’s where they get their grades. So why can’t we make a solution on the iPad that makes it really enjoyable for a student to access Blackboard? It lets students access Blackboard while they’re on the go—which is a lot of the time.”

More info:
Blackboard web site: http://www.blackboard.com/
Blackboard Mobile web site: http://www.blackboard.com/Mobile/Overview.aspx
Blackboard profile on CrunchBase: http://www.crunchbase.com/company/blackboard

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