Blackboard Mobile LearnTM has been in use at NUI Galway since March 2012. We’ve written some previous posts about its use, based on the limited statistics provided by Blackboard. Apart from a period earlier this year, when we had to switch off access to the app completely, usage stats for the app have been very healthy.
Today I took a look at the pattern of logins for semester 1, which has just completed. During that time, there were more than 18,000 unique logins on mobile devices. Compare this to the figure of 8,446 unique logins during the academic year 2012/13. This means that the majority of our students are accessing their Blackboard courses using smartphones or iPads.
A view of the number of logins per day over the semester shows a typical pattern with decreased use at weekend, and a drop off as the exams are completed and Christmas approaches:
It’s interesting to compare this with the picture from two years ago, semester 1 2012:
In that year, there was a slower start (the app was relatively new) and a definite increase in use in the final 4 weeks of teaching. Otherwise, the patterns are very similar, apart from one thing – the number of logins. In 2012, number of logins on a weekday was just over 1000, with a maximum of 1.81 thousand on Monday 19th November. In 2014, logins dropped below 2000 only at weekends. The maximum was 7.56 thousand on Tuesday 23rd September.
I don’t know if Blackboard is counting logins in the same way as they did 2 years ago, but this seems to be a threefold increase on our usage.
As in previous years, just over one third of logins come from iOS devices, which includes iPhones and iPads, while BlackBerry users have almost disappeared from the picture:
This is not particularly consistent with results from a student survey earlier this year, where more than 1700 students at NUIG responded to a question about which smartphone they used. Just over half use an Android phone, while the numbers of iPhone users is just over one third.
Perhaps the discrepancy is in the additional iPad users – or maybe the iOS app is more popular.
Whatever about the accuracy of the stats, mobile learning is definitely happening, and we’re hearing more stories and anecdotes about the use of the app. Mobile Learn is primarily for students to access their Blackboard courses. When we upgrade next month, a new app for instructors, allowing them to grade using mobile devices, will be available. We’re looking forward to trying that out.