Tag Archives: modules

STAR CASE STUDY: Blackboard Module Design in Computing Science

Nick Cook and teaching staff in Computing Science use templates to help ensure that their Blackboard materials are easy to find and use.

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Module layout for one of the modules in Computing Science

Nick said: ‘Basically students had said that they often found it difficult to navigate Blackboard modules as each module was divided up totally differently in another, making it hard to work out where lecture notes or even assessment information might be.

‘We decided that what we needed was an agreed format , so that every module had the same folders, with the same names, for the same sorts of materials.

‘This makes it much easier for students to find things and even for staff to decide where to put them!’

The folders they selected were: Announcements, Teaching Materials, Assessments,  ReCap Recordings, Contacts and Overview.

They made sure that, at least for student’s viewing Blackboard, both menus matched up, so that they no longer had to click through so many folders to find key information.

Nick said: ‘LTDS provided us with basic templates but staff across the School just updated their own modules.

‘Although people were unsure at first, afterwards staff commented on how refreshing it was not to be faced with lots of muddled and overflowing folders.

‘Most remarked that the new streamlined version was easier to populate and made them feel much more organised.’

Students also found the system much easier to use and no further comments were received about confusing Blackboard modules or materials which were difficult to find.

Nick said: ‘We don’t enforce it in the School but most people seem to have more or less stuck to it because it’s so much easier to use.’

You can read the whole Case Study on our Case Studies Database.

Do you have a potential Case Study of Good Practice in learning and teaching? Submit it online or email katherine.cooper@ncl.ac.uk.

VLE Feedback Sessions April 2016

In April, the Learning and Teaching Development Service and the Student Union ran some pop up feedback sessions in the Business School, the Robinson Library, the Student Union and the Medical School asking students one question, ‘What one thing would improve your experience of Blackboard or the LSE?’ The same question was also added  to the Blackboard My Institution page to which students could give an online response.

In total, 434 students gave feedback, 402 about Blackboard and 32 about the LSE. The student responses were collated and categorised into main themes. Some students covered more than one theme in their answer.

Few students had issues with the functionality of Blackboard and 20.65% of comments were very positive where they felt staff engaged with it. From the small sample of students who commented about the LSE, 43.75% of comments were positive and found it very clear and easy to use.

The main Blackboard issue students raised was regarding organisation and consistency of module content with 22.64% of the students who responded recognising this as a problem. In answer to the question, student comments included, ‘All lecturers using the same way of organising. Everything in the same place!’ and ‘Same layout for every module. It would make it so much easier if all modules had the same layout.’

Other key themes included the mobile application, Blackboard Learn and the availability of lecture materials and ReCap recordings.

This feedback gave us a very useful snapshot of student opinion on the VLE. You can read the full report that was shared at the HaSS and SAgE FLTSEC meetings this month and view the student comments by Faculty, School and Stage.

If you would like any tailored Blackboard training or would like us to work with you to reorganise your modules or come along to your school meeting to discuss creating a school, or discipline, specific template , please contact LTDS.