With the launch of UofT’s Blackboard Mobile, a new channel for student communication has opened up. While the new app does not replace the existing tool set for interacting within the course environment, it certainly provides new possibilities for moving beyond the desktop or laptop, where there are plenty of opportunities for learning. In her recent presentation on Mobile Learning 2.0 at the IADIS International Conference in Berlin, Ilona Buchan describes a number of principles and practical ideas for connecting through mobile tools.
One of the ideas she promotes is “Inside and Outside,” the notion that learning occurs both inside and outside an institutional setting. She suggests encouraging blog posts or journal entries on student observations or gleanings from experience beyond the traditional classroom or course contexts. Effective modeling by faculty, for example posting resources from conferences or research activities, can inform students on appropriate practices and create a community of activity that is permeable and connected with authentic experiences. She notes social presence may be enhanced by encouraging commenting, reflections and sharing either among student peers or between student and instructor. Buchan also promotes fostering students potential to think of themselves as content creators, an increasing possibility as media assets from mobile devices can be shared through channels such as the newly launched Blackboard application.
For those who consider learning to be a social process there may be considerable attraction to the possibility of combining a participatory course culture with new mobile access. For more information see portal information on Blackboard Mobile.