Blackboard debuts free app to help students discover career paths

Friday, August 15, 2014

Blackboard Inc. today announced the release of Job Genie, a free mobile app designed to minimize student anxiety around the job selection process by helping them explore potential career paths and options for college. Job Genie is the latest innovation to come out of Blackboard Labs, an initiative dedicated solely to education technology experimentation.

The app is a result of qualitative research with students that indicated a large amount of apprehension around key academic decisions, such as picking a school, major, or career path. Designed to be a non-threatening way to explore various education and job options, the app uses casual language and aesthetics to reinforce that these choices are part of a journey and that students should not feel locked into a single recommendation.

Job Genie is still in development and the early release will be updated based on feedback. The Blackboard Labs initiative is designed to incubate great ideas to share with the user community, get their reaction, and translate that into powerful and useful products.

"I think everyone wishes they had a plan," said a student participant in the research study that lead to the development of Job Genie. "And even if you have a great plan, pressure from parents, difficult courses and other bumps in the road make it tough to always see the next step. It's nice to know that I can just pull out my phone and have my own personal career counselor at my fingertips."

The interactive user experience is focused solely on learner engagement and includes simple personality, interest and achievement questions that generate a list of schools, degrees and job options best matched to the answers. Learners can compare salaries, research cost-of-living information, and even view videos from practitioners that paint a realistic picture of day-to-day job activities.

"Students tend to feel locked into choices they make very early in their educational journey, which can make the selection of a career path intimidating," said Mark Strassman, senior vice president of product management at Blackboard. "It's important for them to feel comfortable with a certain amount of experimentation, learning and discovery. Through this app, we aim to provide relevant data to help students make informed decisions. We are fully committed to building solutions from the learner's perspective and helping them become more career-ready and, ultimately, successful."

The free app is available in the iTunes Store, on Google Play, and online, where product feedback can be submitted, reviewed, and potentially incorporated.

For more information about Blackboard, please visit www.blackboard.com or follow @Blackboard on Twitter.

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard is the world's leading education technology company that is reimagining education by challenging conventional thinking and advancing new learning models. We rapidly deploy relevant and meaningful technologies and services to meet the needs of the modern day learner and the institutions that serve them, driving success and growth for both. In partnership with higher education, K-12, corporate organizations, and government agencies around the world, we help every learner achieve their full potential. For more information about Blackboard follow us on Twitter at @Blackboard.