This guide explains how to access the Blackboard mobile applications for instructors and students. You will learn about the features and capabilities of the mobile app, and what to keep in mind when developing and interacting in your course to ensure it is accessible to students using the mobile app.
Mobile Apps: Blackboard Instructor and Blackboard
Blackboard Instructor is a mobile application that enables instructors to view course content, grade assignments, connect with students in discussion boards, and launch Blackboard Collaborate sessions. Students will download a different version of the Blackboard mobile application, simply called Blackboard.
Blackboard Instructor Blackboard
Both apps are available for IOS and Android mobile devices. The below links are for the Blackboard Instructor App
Download the Blackboard Instructor application. Once downloaded, search for “CUNY – School of Professional Studies” in the login screen for the app and log in using your Blackboard username and password.
Mobile application capabilities
Instructor Mobile App
Instructors using the Blackboard Instructor app can:
- Create announcements
- View uploaded assignment submissions, grade with a rubric, leave comments and annotations
- Read discussion board posts, create a thread, or post a reply
- Enter a Collaborate session within the application
- Watch videos and view images
- View mobile compatible tests. Note: only mobile compatible tests can be taken by students via the app (to create, click Assessments > Mobile Compatible Test). For more information, see Blackboard’s “Mobile Compatible” Test support page.
- Create or upload content using the Blackboard Instructor application
- View or grade tests, quizzes, or survey responses (except viewing mobile compatible tests; see above)
- Grade discussions
- View or grade wikis, journals, and blogs
- View or grade group submissions
For more information about the features within the Blackboard Instructor app, please visit Blackboard Help’s “Feature Guide for Blackboard Instructor”.
Creating mobile-friendly courses
Content folders, Learning Modules, Lesson Plans
Any text or images which sit on top of weekly folders, learning modules, or lesson plans are not visible in the mobile apps.
See below for a comparison of a course’s weekly folders in a browser, and in the mobile app. In the latter, any text or images displayed on top of the folder are not visible to students at all.
Folder view on desktop Folder view on mobile app
As a workaround, we recommend pasting any information from the top of folders, lesson plans, and learning modules within an item inside the folder instead.
The same is true for text posted with course links, such as links to the discussion board or another Blackboard tool. Any instructions added to these links are not visible in the Blackboard mobile app.
We recommend that course links do not contain instructions or questions that aren’t repeated anywhere else, but rather that these are placed on the relevant discussion forum or as an attachment to assignments. Also, since added text will not appear as part of the course link, make sure that the link title is clear about where the course link will redirect to (for instance, “Week 1 Discussion”, or “Continue to Assignments section”).
It is best practice to add the description/instructions in the discussion board forums, not on the weekly links which redirect to these forums or the discussion board area.
With the mobile app, Instructors can read, reply, and start a discussion board thread but cannot grade discussion board assignments. To learn more about discussion boards within the Blackboard application, visit Blackboard Help’s guide on Discussion Boards.
It is important to keep in mind that in the mobile app, any instructions added for assignments can only be seen by students once they click on “Start Attempt” at the bottom of their screen. Any file attachments to course links will appear under “Attachments” at the bottom of the screen.
Blogs, Wikis, Journals
Blogs, wikis, and journals launch in a browser, not within the mobile application. Add instructions directly in the blog/wiki/journal when creating these assignments, not on course links to an individual blog/wiki/journal within the weeks. When creating these, choose “Link to a Blog/Wiki/Journal” instead of “Link to the Blogs/Wiki/Journals Page” as students might accidentally choose the wrong blog/wiki/journal when navigating in the mobile app.
With the mobile app, instructors cannot view or grade blogs, wikis, or journals
Instructors cannot create tests through the mobile app, only through the desktop browser. In order for students to be able to take a test through the mobile application, instructors should use the “Mobile Compatible” Test tool. For more information, please visit Blackboard Help’s “Mobile Compatible Test” support page.
In the “Mobile Compatible Test” tool, there are various question types available however only Multiple Choice and True/False questions are graded by the system. Please note that instructors can only view the test questions but they can view a student’s results and they cannot manually grade tests.
Ensure to add group descriptions and instructions when creating the group, not on course links to the group area. Also, ensure to enroll students during group creation. Students will be able to see their assigned group through the app. Specific tool descriptions within the groups are difficult to view (for instance, a description for the group discussion board is cut off in the mobile app).
For this reason, it is best to add instructions to the group area or provide the instructions for the group work in a separate place, for instance, as an item in the relevant week.
If adding a video to your course, add a description and a note indicating students to click on the expand icon in the corner of the video. This is good practice to give students context about what they will view, and how to best view the video.
When adding an image, it is advised to upload an image into an item or file alongside a description and a note indicating students to click on the paperclip on the top right of their app screen (description is separate from the image file requiring students to click on the paperclip icon to view image file).
When attaching files to an item in your course site, make sure to mention that students using the mobile application will have to click on a paperclip icon on the top-right hand side to view the files. Please use only supported file types.
Instructors can start a Blackboard Collaborate session within the app but they cannot create a “Course Room”. To learn more about the Collaborate tool within the Blackboard application, please visit Blackboard Help’s guide on Collaborate.
Instructors cannot create VoiceThreads within the Blackboard app. Students and instructors need to download the VoiceThread app in order to use it within the mobile course. VoiceThread has provided a useful site which contains information about how to register in the app, how to view VoiceThreads, and how to create them.
Students will be prompted to download the VoiceThread app when they click on the VT link (if the instructor has already created the VT within their browser). In the browser view, students can view a description but not in the app.
Instructors can grade submitted assignments through the mobile app. They can see attachments, provide feedback, add in a grade using Blackboard rubrics, create annotations, and leave comments.
Grade assignment view within BB instructor app Box view grading within BB instructor app
Please note that Instructors cannot grade discussions, blogs, wikis, journals, group submissions, or tests in the app.
Note: The recording of student access to the course site might not be accurate when students use the mobile app. For example, the Performance Dashboard and the Grade Center will not record students’ access data when they enter the course through the mobile app. This means that, even when students have entered the course, they might still appear as “Never” having accessed the course in either tool. However, if they submit assignments via the mobile app, these will appear as submitted in the Grade Center.
Student Mobile App
Students using the Blackboard app can:
- Read announcements
- Read discussion board posts, create a thread, or post a reply
- See grades from high-level view
- View Blackboard rubrics for assignments and graded discussions
- See feedback on uploaded assignments
- Watch videos and view images
- Enter Collaborate session (opens in a browser window)
- Create/participate in a Voicethread (will open in VoiceThread app or a browser)
- Create wiki/wiki page, journal entry, blog entry (opens in a browser window)
- Complete group assignments (blogs, discussion board, journal, wiki)
- Upload/submit assignments using the Blackboard student application
- Take mobile compatible tests. Note: only mobile compatible tests can be taken by students via the app (to create, click Assessments > Mobile Compatible Test). For more information, see Blackboard’s “Mobile Compatible Test” support page.
- Take tests (except for mobile compatible tests), quizzes, or surveys
- See information outside of weekly folders or for course links (for instance, instructions for discussion board links within weeks cannot be viewed in the app)
- Edit or delete a thread, mark threads, posts, or replies as read, see the unread count (affects Windows devices only), add tags or flag, or subscribe to a thread in the discussion board
To enlarge text, navigate your phone with alternative gestures, and accommodate display options that can help enhance your experience with Blackboard applications, please see below some functionality features options for your particular mobile device:
iOS Accessibility Features
A screen reader that allows users to navigate their phone with gestures and touch the screen to hear what they are clicking on.
A magnifying tool used to enlarge any item on the screen from 100-1,500 percent.
You can turn on the “Zoom” feature by going to:
- Go to Settings
- Scroll down to Accessibility
- Click on Zoom
- Turn on Zoom
You have to double tab with multiple fingers to zoom in and move around the screen.
Another option for navigation is to click on “enlarge text” (also under Setting –> Accessibility).
Display accommodations that allow the fine-tuning of colors, hues, and tints to support vision impairments and color blindness.
A navigation tool that enables actions through Bluetooth switch hardware for users with physical disabilities and limited motor skills.
An on-screen menu for navigation and functionality rather than more complex actions such as pushing the Home button or tapping two places on the screen simultaneously.
Android accessibility features
A screen reader that uses both touch and spoken feedback to help with navigation, alerts, and notifications.
This group of settings allows for adjustments to be made to display and font sizes, colors and contrast, and magnification.
To enlarge text using an Android device:
- Go to Settings
- Select Display
- Click on Font Size and enlarge to desired size
A switch used to control actions in place of using the touch screen. Switch Access uses external switch devices, keyboards, and alternative buttons built into the device.