If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that we have been conducting a virtual learning environment (VLE) Review for this past academic year. If you are not a regular reader, a scan of earlier blog posts will soon bring you up to speed on the whys, hows, whens etc. As well as the blog, we’ve run consultation events, workshops, interviews and staff and student surveys in order to to gain as much feedback as possible from all interested parties. Thank you again to everyone who engaged with the project, you have helped to inform the decision-making process.

A speedy decision was needed following the conclusion of the VLE Review as the contract for the current VLE (Blackboard version CE8) was due to expire [and in fact did expire on the 15 August] .

Oh yes, the decision … following a report to the University’s Information Strategy Committee, a decision was made to move to Blackboard version 9.1 – with it being fully operational from September 2011.

Blackboard 9.1 offers some exciting new features such as integration with Facebook as well as other Web 2.0 services such as wikis and blogs. Although this is an upgrade to a system rather than a complete change, it will take some familiarisation, however it is anticipated it will allow staff to not only maintain their level of TEL provision, but to also enhance it with greater ease.

September onwards will see the start of a rolling staff development programme that will introduce and develop  your understanding and skills in relation to the new version of Blackboard as well as other aspects of TEL  … more information on this will follow shortly ….