Blackboard launches new Facebook application

Course-management giant Blackboard is hoping that a new Facebook application will help it reach students even when they’re trying to avoid studying, Inside Higher Ed reports. The new Facebook application mainly replicates the functionality of colleges’ and high schools’ Blackboard sites, where students can log in, download course materials, post to message boards, upload assignments, and check grades. Rather than add social-networking functionality to its existing interface, Blackboard’s strategy is to bring its services where the students already are and capitalize on Facebook’s ubiquity and collaboration capabilities. In doing so, the company is implicitly conceding that students are less inclined to flip through Blackboard pages to kill a few spare minutes. "This is specifically to take advantage of the fact that college students spend a tremendous amount of time on Facebook," said Karen Gage, Blackboard’s vice president of product strategy. "I think that what we know that socializing with your friends is more fun than studying."

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