One of my first findings while looking at the first app of 12 apps for Christmas is that the content viewer in the BB Student App doesn’t display Blackboard Learn’s own content very well:
I wondered why so I did an experiment with Chrome for iPhone, and the content displays fine.
In a follow up to my tweets, Sue Tucker (@sueinasp) pointed out that even the basic rich text handling is inferior.
So I have to wonder why developers keep building inferior versions of their web apps as native apps in the mistaken belief that’s the only kind their users will accept.
I also have to ask Blackboard why their Student App’s content viewer isn’t just an embedded Safari web browser? Or alternatively, why not disinvest in the mobile apps space and just make Blackboard Learn itself fully responsive?
Progressive Web Apps
If you want to learn more about this topic, Google has coined the term Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to describe modern-web-browser-based web applications that are as good (if not better) than native web apps. It is also promoting the development of PWAs in its developer advocacy. See, for example, Learn How to Develop the Next Generation of Applications for the Web.
Developer Advocate Christian Heilmann (@codepo8), once of Mozilla and now of Microsoft, also promotes PWAs on his twitter feed and at conference engagements. For example see:
I did discover that there are good blogger-friendly shortcuts that allow bloggers to easily embed some types of media into their posts and pages. So it turned out that to change my embedded tweets, I simply had to replace the embed code from that I obtained from Twitter with the URL of the tweet on a line by itself. Like this for this one https://twitter.com/cpjobling/status/804282759120306176:
There is no embed code though for Storify, so I had to replace the embedded stories from the last few months with plain old links.
I also had to find and re-upload a few images that had vanished.
I think this work is now complete, but do let me know if you find anything odd in the archives.
Another unexpected consequence of this need to update my pages is that some posts have been re-posted and announced again on my social media sites. I didn’t intend to spam you honest!
It’s the first of December and time to sign up for a 12 Apps of Christmas course.
It’s the first of December and in the Learning Technology world this means the launch of multiple open courses promising to introduce busy academics to 12 Apps of Christmas.
I’m enrolled on the Regent’s University of London course which is being hosted on the Blackboard Open Courses platform.
I’m recommending 12 Apps of Christmas to my colleagues for two reasons. Firstly because it provides useful introductions to mobile apps that they can use with students. But perhaps as important, Blackboard Learn is Swansea University’s VLE so taking part will give my colleagues an insight into what it’s like to be a student on a Blackboard Learn course.
This year, the organizers are also encouraging us to use the Blackboard Student App. This makes the course more accessible – for example I hope to use the app to follow each day’s recommendation while on my daily commute. But in addition, exploring the features and limitations of the app will give valuable insight into what you can and cannot do well when presenting your Blackboard course content on a small mobile device.
More to Explore
To keep up to date with other courses in this space, follow hashtag #12AoC. Here are some similar courses that are also worth a look.
If you know of others, please add a link to the comments.
This blog was self-hosted on digital ocean until today.
Unfortunately, issues with the database was preventing the blog appearing for some of my readers and I don’t have time at the moment to be a Sysadmin and trace the fault. Rebooting the server when I notice it’s down is not a solution either. So, I’ve forked out the £30 a year to have a site with a custom domain hosted on WordPress.com.
And here it is.
Excuse us while we move all our content and sharing options over.
There are some interesting events coming up over the next two months.
And of course there’s #LTHEChat every Wednesday between 8 and 9 PM UK Local Time which teams up with #HEAChat on the last Wednesday of each month.
Another record breaking #LTHEChat was hosted on Wednesday 16th November by @digisim Simon Thomson. The Storify was curated by @ladyculottes Haley Atkinson who had to slim down the 1500 or so tweets, side conversations and spam posts to extract the essential essence.
View the story “#LTHEchat 68: What motivates us to use digital tools for learning and teaching?” on Storify
Once you’ve read the story, you may like to answer this question in the comments.
As part of our preparation for our presentation for Social Media in Higher Education in December (#SocMedHE16), the team is looking at various ways to assess the impact of the weekly #LTHEchat. As part of this, I agreed to attempt to record a flavour of the excitement of the event by capturing snapshots of the growth of the network over a twenty-four hour period using Martin Hawksey’s TAGSExplorer which generated this visualisation, and Jing.
I created a storify of the tweets and some of the reaction:
We should definitely reflect on Richard Treves’ comments that appear at the end of the story: