In 2009 a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Review project was established to take stock of everything to do with Edge Hill’s virtual learning environment (Blackboard CE8). All our staff and students were invited to feed back to the project team their experience and expectations of the product, related applications and tools, pedagogy, accessibility, ease of use for all users regardless of location.
The Review undertook a wide range of activities in order to engage with as many staff and students as possible. To this end we ran surveys, workshops, demonstration events, interviews and focus groups and what emerged was a vivid snapshot of how technology was being used to support and enhance teaching and learning at Edge Hill and more importantly, constructive feedback on how it could be developed and improved.
The outcome of the VLE Review was made public in July 2010. After detailed consideration of a range of options, the decision of the University’s Information Strategy group, informed by the feedback from the stakeholder engagement, was to go with the Blackboard Learn 9.1 system.
With the review over, a Blackboard 9.1 implementation project has now seamlessly taken over from the review and this blog will now chart our progress over the 2010-11 academic year as we investigate and introduce the new learning environment.
However, the role of the VLE is changing and becoming more than a single technology ‘product’ – Blackboard 9.1 is now only part of our picture as it becomes a ‘hub’ or core learning system capable of being extended by other systems and learning technologies integrating with it.
In recognition of this expansion of the Edge Hill virtual learning environment, it has been given a new name where symbolically, learning comes first. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Learning Edge.