Industry News

Blackboard Assist Will Help Learners Access Student Services and Tutoring Directly from their LMS

By Henry Kronk
November 09, 2020

Blackboard, one of the world’s largest learning management system (LMS) developers, launched a new feature on November 9 that branches out from its normal purview. Blackboard Assist will soon be available in the company’s flagship cloud-based LMS, Blackboard Learn. The tool connects learners to their institutions’ student services, along with those offered by third parties.

The LMS developer hopes to provide students an additional and easy avenue to seek services from their institution like health and wellness, career guidance, academic support, and more. The feature has been built out directly from the LMS.

Expanding Learn to Include Blackboard Assist

In addition, Blackboard Assist will also give students access to “tutoring and homework services from trusted and reputable academic partners,” according to a press release. As of launch, these partners include homework, writing, and tutoring aid from bartleby, digital learning tools from Barnes & Noble Education, and live tutoring from GoPeer.

“As many colleges and universities continue to operate in virtual or hybrid formats this school year, it is more important than ever that students are connected to the resources they need to succeed.” said Blackboard VP of Teaching and Learning Jim Chalex, in a statement. “We know that college and university students deal with numerous changes and challenges while working to complete their degrees. Being able to easily access and utilize all of the resources available to them through Blackboard Assist will help them get the assistance they need to advance their education.”

The Role of a LMS in Remote and Hybrid Learning

When COVID-19 broke out around the world earlier this year, many institutions and instructors leaned heavily on their LMS to continue instruction. That was only a stopgap measure in many cases. Since, educators across levels and subjects have benefited from expanded remote learning capacity that allows them to more effectively reach their students.

At the same time, LMS developers have been working to fill in the gaps that were exposed under lockdown.

At CanvasCon 2020, Instructure announced that they had entered into an agreement with Microsoft to develop a learning tools interoperability (LTI) app. The LTI allows class sessions to occur within Canvas using Microsoft Teams videoconferencing. Soon, the Canvas/Teams videoconferencing system will allow educators to build in quizzes, assessments, and collaboration features while remaining in the same remote learning (live videoconferencing) room.

Beyond Blackboard Assist, Blackboard has continued to enhance their LMS for learning during COVID-19. Last month, the company unveiled a new two-way communication tool (Blackboard Reach) that would allow educators to more easily reach the parents or guardians of their K-12 learners.

“We know that families and teachers staying connected to support children’s education is more critical during this time as many schools have moved to remote and hybrid learning,” said Blackboard VP of K-12 Christina Fleming, in a statement. “Our Blackboard Reach solution provides a more secure, flexible, interactive, and authentic way to facilitate two-way communications.  We’re proud to continue to provide K-12 schools and districts community engagement tools that deliver meaningful impact in progressing student success.”

Featured Image: Charles DeLuvio, Unsplash.