After ringing in a new year, students will ring in the spring semester with an updated BeachBoard platform, intended to improve mobile access.
According to Jonathan Huer, director of instructional technology support, the new platform’s main change is a responsive interface that allows students to navigate BeachBoard by scaling the app to the size of their device.
“It’s a relief knowing BeachBoard will be mobile- friendly,” said Karina Rejtharek, junior kinesiology major. “Now when I don’t have access to my computer it’ll be easier to check my assignments on my phone.”
Cal State Long Beach re-issued its contract with the vendor, Desire2Learn, which included an update for students to access a mobile-friendly program. Through online surveys conducted each semester, Academic Technology Services discovered that the most common complaint among students was difficulty accessing the site on their cell phones.
“This is about delivering a modern experience to students by being mobile-friendly,” Huer said.
Before the decision was made to launch the update, faculty from Academic Technology Services tested the program.
“The update was tested all summer with SOAR, and we found about 30 percent of students claimed they completed all of SOAR on a mobile device,” Huer said.
With the new update, tech services focused strictly on being cell phone friendly and are updating the program one step at a time.
“There are about 124,000 courses on BeachBoard, so changing the learning management system is a big task,” Huer said.
The idea for the update was to modernize without having to start from scratch. With better use of color, the site is clean and easy to read, according to Huer. The functions and tools on BeachBoard have all stayed the same.
“It’s really nice that I can respond to professors and assignments on my phone,” said Bryce Marshall, senior business major. “There have been so many times where professors cancel class or make updates to class only through BeachBoard and it wasn’t visible on my phone.”
Academic technology services set up a web page for students to learn how to navigate the new layout. On the web page is specifically for students, with links to online training videos.
According to Huer, tech services has been exploring different options for alerts or push notifications on mobile devices. These will not be included in this update, which is strictly focused on modernizing the website and the interface. There is a preview of what the new layout will look like on a desktop, tablet and mobile phone.
“At the end of the day we rely on technology,” Huer said. “So it needs to deliver a good experience for students.”