It’s interesting how you sometimes come across companies with no immediate connection and completely disparate products who, it turns out, are working to solve similar problems in the same area. Moreover, it is interesting to see how the combined use of these solutions can create broader benefit for the users.
An example? Take EMSI, Blackboard, and the Middlesbrough College that brought together Career Coach and Blackboard Learn into Mbro Mobile — the official Middlesbrough College mobile app created through Mosaic, a unique platform provided by Blackboard that enables institutions to design, update and analyse their own mobile apps.
EMSI is a labour market information company that takes data and turns it into tools to help organisations understand the connection between economies, people and work. Blackboard, on the other hand, is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day.
Apparently no direct connection, but there is a clear common denominator. Both organisations are fully engaged in the business of providing helpful tools to colleges and learners, in order that we all might end up seeing a better and more highly skilled workforce.
For EMSI, one of the major tools is Career Coach, our web-based tool which connects learners to careers and employers, and allows current and prospective students to see how the education a college provides can lead them to sustainable careers that interest them. For Blackboard, one of the major mobile solution is Blackboard Learn, a comprehensive virtual learning environment for teaching and learning, community building, content management, and outcomes assessment, which aims to improve learning outcomes by keeping students informed, involved, and working together. The tools are very different, but the goal is the same: to help colleges improve student outcomes to better serve the labour market.
Middlesbrough College has been using both EMSI’s Career Coach and Blackboard Learn for a while. They implemented Blackboard Learn back in 2004, to help with “enhancing its educational offering”, giving learners the ability to track their points as they are accumulated, and most importantly, enabling them to see if they are on track to achieve the grade they need. In addition to this, the service has also enabled teachers to monitor student progress and allowed students to evaluate whether they are below or above average.
In 2012 the College introduced Career Coach making it freely available on their website and embedding it into the course search facility so that students can better see the link between the courses at the college and the career opportunities out there in the broader economy.
Having experienced the great benefits and the huge impact of both solutions on students’ careers, Middlesbrough College decided to put them together in Mbro Mobile also adding useful tools for everyday life at the university.
Thanks to Mbro Mobile, students now have the key labour market data offered through Career Coach, and the holistic learning environment given to them through Blackboard Learn at their fingertips. They can also access university news, course information, maps, event info, and more using the same app, anytime they like and anywhere they happen to be.
This type of thing is great to see. You have a college with problems that require solutions. You have two companies coming up with various parts that, when put together, address these issues and give a complete answer. The college benefits. Learners benefit. And ultimately we all benefit, both from better student outcomes and ultimately from a more skilled labour market.