Over the past few months we have had a few queries arise from members of staff about what to expect in Blackboard 9.1 Learning Edge.  We have started collating some of these and hope to answer them here.

“I have to let my Learning Technologist know about which areas I need creating for next year”

All areas are being created automatically according to the Student Information Database (SID) so if your programme, course or module exists there, it will automatically exist in Blackboard also! You will need to liase with your administrative staff to arrange access to these areas (see next question).

“I will automatically be given access to my Blackboard Courses”

All student enrollments into the new system are now automated as a result of the successful integration of the Student Information System (SID) and Blackboard.

Staff enrolments into Backboard courses will be managed manually within the Faculties. Faculty Course Administrators will, on request, grant access to primary course contacts ie. Programme/Course/Year/Module leads who will then be able to give their teams the required access.

“I have to teach in modules now”

Many will choose to teach in a modular form, but many other possibilities are available.  You can teach your subjects in year groups or by programme or course amongst other options.  Speak to your head of department or faculty and administrators to decide what would be best to suit your needs and teaching requirements.

“I need to have technical skills to use Blackboard”

Basic IT skills are all you need to get started using a virtual learning environment (VLE) like Blackboard. Blackboard 9.1 has been designed for teachers who don’t have a technical background and is even more intuitive and easy to use than before. As with all new technologies, it might take a bit of getting used to at first, which is why the Learning Technology Development team are working with staff from across the University to ensure they are ready to make the most of the new system.

“Do I still need to send lists (to LTD) to get students enrolled?”

Not any longer.  Student details of where they are enrolled are taken from SID and matched in Blackboard.  When a student is enrolled, they will then be added to the appropriate area in Blackboard 9.1.  This makes it ever more important communication between  Academic Registry and your Administrative teams are kept up to date about student movements between modules or possibly courses, as it will affect what they can access in Blackboard 9.1  There will be no way to add students into a module that they are not enrolled on!

“It’s hard work to get my content across to the new version (Blackboard 9.1)”

Depending on the complexity of your modules or courses, this is a relatively straight-forward process.  If you have a basic level of content, you may wish to take the opportunity to have a ‘spring clean’ of any old documents to make sure your material is up-to-date.  This may involve starting fresh in your new module/course area.  If you have a complex course, we have the opportunity to ‘migrate’ the content across (this will still require a little tidying up afterwards).  Decide on which is the best option for you, but remember, the Learning Technology Department is here to help support you in this transition.

Please contact the Learning Technology Department on [email protected]

Carol Chatten
Learning Technologist