Tag Archives: VLE

5 things we learnt at ALT North East

ALT North-East held its first meeting under its new title  on Tuesday 27 February 2018.

Colleagues from HE and FE across the North East met at Newcastle University  to hear a number of presentations from Turnitin, Durham University, Northumbria University and Newcastle University.

1. Turnitin is changing to meet new and existing needs

Jamie Whitehead, Account Manager, Turnitin, informed the group of a recent consultation Turnitin had carried out and ran through some of the  key themes important to stakeholders which were: reliability, data access, marking & moderation, assessment workflows and integrations, customer relations, ghost writing, and future requirements.  Continue reading 5 things we learnt at ALT North East

VLE Review Assessment and Feedback Focus Group

The first of the Assessment and Feedback focus groups took place on the 19th January 2018. This was a very productive session and many requirements were gathered. Areas discussed included:

  • Tests and quizzes (functionality, usability, security, auto marking)
  • Assignments, including third party integration e.g. Turnitin, NESS
  • Grade Centre (management, prevention of leaked grades, general interface)
  • Student view
  • Reporting

The requirements gathered will be tidied up and sent to the members of the Task and Finish Group once all the focus groups have taken place.

A second Assessment and Feedback session will take place on the 29th January 2018 in which we hope to gather further requirements. There are no spaces left on this session but if you would like to share your thoughts, please send the project team an email and we will be in touch.

VLE Review – Course Build Focus Group

The first Course Build focus group took place on the 15th January 2018. This was a great session with a number of requirements resulting from the discussion. Topics covered included:

  • the availability of content (adaptive release),
  • the management of large files
  • layout and style of a module/course
  • the process of uploading/removing content
  • ability to share content with non-enrolled students/staff
  • integration with internal/external systems

The requirements gathered will be tidied up and sent to the members of the Task and Finish Group once all the focus groups have taken place.

There is an additional Course Build focus group taking place on the 1st February 2018 1.30pm-3.30pm and there are limited places still remaining if you would like to sign up and share your thoughts.

Blackboard Baseline

 What is Blackboard Baseline?

The Blackboard baseline sets out the core minimum requirements expected on all modules within the centrally supported Virtual Learning Environment. This was previously known as the VLE threshold standard.

Why do we have the Blackboard Baseline?

It has been designed to:

  • Establish a degree of consistency across modules on the VLE
  • Provide clear guidance regarding the availability of information and teaching resources provided via the VLE
  • Establish a baseline on which modules can be developed and offer guidance on ways staff can move beyond the minimum expectations

What is in the Blackboard Baseline?

Some of the content covered by the Blackboard Baseline will be brought in automatically to your Blackboard module. The automated content includes:

  • Every module must have a VLE presence
  • Module information on courses that are not parent-child. (credit weighting, learning outcomes, summary outline of teaching activities)
  • Reading List where appropriate – If using the reading list online system – otherwise this will have to be entered manually.
  • Assessment information including details of the type and weighting of the assessment. This is brought in directly from MOFS.

Some of the content will need to be added by the instructors on the Blackboard module. The manually added content includes:

  • Contact details
  • Module handbook
  • Learning materials. These may include:
    • Lecture presentations
    • Lecture / seminar notes
    • Lecture/seminar handouts
    • ReCap recordings

    Learning materials should be named consistently with a clear filename. Any teaching material uploaded must conform to the University guidance on copyright and intellectual property.

  • Assessment and Feedback area

This should contain the key assessment information including weighting and schedule of assessment. Info on the form of assessment, the criteria, and schedule for feedback to be returned to students. It may also include guidance on the University policy for the return of feedback.

  • Student Voice – “You said we did”

In response to previous years module evaluations, the summary of the outcomes from the evaluations should be published as well as any actions resulting from them.

Consistently name content

Key module information and teaching materials should be presented in a consistently named content area across modules. These are determined by the school/subject. It is for academic units to decide whether the consistent layout should apply across a school or at subject level. This requirement could be met through the adoption of a module template.

Schools should start to consider the adoption of a module template. We can create the courses in Feb/March with the new template to give a lot of time to transfer content across. LTDS can facilitate School-based sessions in PC clusters to support academic staff with the moving of content.

Enhancement

Recommendations are provided to outline ways in which staff can go beyond the baseline and ensure effective practice. This could be through the use of:

  • Announcements –  use them to email students. If using an announcements page, make this the module landing page in Bb.
  • Online collaboration – consider providing students with the opportunity to collaborate online within the module/community.
  • Blackboard Tests – can be used for diagnostic assessment, a revision aid, and as a means for students to evaluate their own progress. Students can be provided with instant feedback.
  • Mobile Accessibility – Clear, descriptive naming of files and folders. Avoid “week 1”, “Lecture 1”, etc. Avoid using symbols. If using Blackboard tests for formative assessment, choose the option to build a “Mobile Compatible Test”

Implementation

The implementation of the Blackboard Baseline will be monitored through three main routes:

  • Feedback from students via SSC, stage evaluation and NSS/PTES
  • Learning and Teaching Reviews
  • Data gathered from reporting tools in VLE

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.