Initially implemented through a pilot project, comprising of three classes and 75 students from 21st February in the university’s Abu Dhabi campus, the innovative solution is designed to provide a contemporary and tech-savvy learning medium for higher education to students. Students will also be provided with the latest BlackBerry smartphone courtesy of BlackBerry UAE and 40 free data packages of 5GB from Etisalat with full access to the Blackboard Mobile application.
Through this technology, ADU is substantially increasing the level of communication and engagement between the professors and students ensuring a more timely flow of information and class lectures. In addition, students can freely access all course materials and topic updates whenever and wherever they are.
“We are currently in a mobile generation where everyone is expected to be in contact anytime, anywhere. By implementing Blackboard Mobile, we can take advantage of this mobile culture by significantly increasing and enabling students and teachers to gain instant access to their courses and content materials using their handheld devices,” said Dr. James Mackin, Provost, Abu Dhabi University.
“This will negate students’ need to have access to a computer allowing our faculty to develop more innovative teaching techniques and will give our students the opportunity to be engaged in learning processes regardless of physical location,” he added.
Following the Spring Trial, Blackboard Mobile will be fully implemented across the entire university in both Abu Dhabi and Al Ain campuses. It will be available to all ADU faculty and students on the start of fall semester 2011-2012 in September.
“This pilot study will not only be the first study on the impact of Mobile Blackboard on learning in the GCC, it will be one of the few controlled studies on the direct impact of an educational technology on student learning. We expect this information will be shared to all the universities across the GCC and MENA regions that are considering implementing this new and exciting technology,” Dr. Mackin said.
Speaking on the significant collaboration, Abdulla Hashim, senior VP of business solutions at Etisalat, said, “At Etisalat we believe that mobile technology can be harnessed for sociological and economic development of the country and Etisalat is proud to lead this initiative by through innovative applications. Our association with Blackboard Inc and Abu Dhabi University will empower their students to leverage the untapped potential of mobile education. This application will not only provide a new medium of education, but will also enable enhanced mobility and flexibility in learning for both students and the faculty.”
A leader in technology-enabled education services, BlackBoard’s Mobile Learn application gives students and faculty access to their courses, content, and organisations through mobile devices. This application allows them to access documents in multiple formats, read announcements, create discussion threads and content items and upload media among others.