Blackboard pioneers mobile app to guide student careers

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A global leader in education technology has announced its latest updates designed to advance student success after college.

Blackboard on Tuesday revealed a new product duo that will allow teachers and students to connect on a more career-focused level. The mobile app, Bb Planner, will allow students to plan their courses and careers while Blackboard Advise, the web-based supplement, will allow faculty to assist with student career planning.

The tech company has major stakes in higher education, but this time, officials say they want to help students succeed after they graduate.

“It was becoming very clear to us that student success, while highly dependent on what happens in the classroom, also depends on supported career, academic and financial planning,” Brook Bock, vice president of mobile at Blackboard, wrote to EdScoop in an email.

Through Bb Planner, students will be able to explore degree and career options that interest them. They will also be able to register for classes and find internship and job opportunities. Blackboard has partnered with Burning Glass Technologies and Roadtrip Nation, job market analytics companies, so students will have the ability to scope the demands of their desired careers. The app will also include informational videos from current professionals.

University advisors and career counselors will be able to use predictive data to offer career guidance to students using Blackboard Advise. Through this web supplement, they will be able to monitor student course selection, grades and student Bb Planner activity.

For advisors, the tool gives them “the ability to gain a holistic profile of the students they advise for richer conversations tied to their interests and career plans,” Bock wrote.

Blackboard designed the products in partnership with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, and the development took more than a year.

The app and its supplement will be available for Apple and Android devices later this year, according to officials. When it launches, institutions will be able to purchase Bb Planner and Blackboard Advise for their campus to use. Bb Planner will be integrated with the Bb Student mobile app, so students who already use the technology will find it easy to adapt, officials say.

“We hope students will feel less anxiety and greater confidence that they are spending money and time on a trajectory that is right for them,” said Bock. “And we want to make it easier for staff to understand student needs, so that critical advising time can be used in the most valuable manner.”

Reach the reporter at darlene.aderoju@edscoop.com and follow her on Twitter @buuukky and @edscoop_news.

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