Blackboard and Microsoft

Just found this press release on Twitter: “Blackboard Joins Forces with Microsoft to Make Course Information Available on Web Browsers“.

Wow, now how good could that be?

“Under the agreement, Blackboard and Microsoft will work together to enable notifications to appear in their Web browser using the Bing(TM) toolbar when new course information becomes available through the Blackboard Learn(TM) platform. The toolbar will also be compatible with the Internet Explorer® and Firefox® Web browsers.”

If this was tied in with their IT account for access to the PCs on campus, then surely the PC and Internet browsers could be set up so these notifications could be displayed. I guess one area this could be troublesome is for those students who use their own PCs, but we can always ask them to install the toolbar so they get the best student experience from their time at University?

“Streamlined access to course information will make it easier for millions of students who log in to their Blackboard accounts several times daily to check for assignments, grades, announcements and other information. With the Blackboard Learn toolbar for Bing, IE and Firefox, students will receive updates on their courses, groups and organizations directly in their browser, regardless of which Web site they are visiting and without having to log in to Blackboard every time.”

Hmm, I’m liking this!

“Blackboard previously created similar applications to enable students and learners to receive course notifications and alerts through the Facebook® platform and on Apple® iPhone® or iPod touch® devices. Together, the integrations are part of the company’s overall effort to increase student engagement by creating streamlined access to course information in a variety of popular platforms and devices – not just within Blackboard Learn.”

Not all students have an iPhone (although it feels like they do!) or would want the University in ‘their’ space in Facebook, so this toolbar makes good sense.

As a side note to this article (read online using the link above) is that “Blackboard is also using Microsoft’s Bing decision engine to help power its SafeAssign(TM) plagiarism prevention service.”