A collaborative experience that engages everyone, every time, everywhere

It is now possible to engage with your students wherever they are. Keep them engaged offering them collaborative and interactive activities and a learning experience. This can be done all through the new platform Blackboard Collaborate.

Blackboard Collaborate Overview

It allows you to create virtual classrooms to deliver presentations, show videos, show websites, communicate synchronously in real time, and engage students in activities that can be presented online.

Mobile support is also available so students can access the online session through an iPhone or an iPad allowing them to access the session wherever they maybe.








The sessions can also be recorded to allow students to view the recording again and again.

Below is a link to a demonstration by a Blackboard Collaborate Advisor that gives further information on Blackboard Collaborate and the different ways it can be used.

Blackboard Collaborate Demonstration

If you have any questions or would like to find out more information you can contact me directly on 01695 650755 or [email protected]

Irfan Mulla






Irfan Mulla

Learning Technology Development Officer (LTD)



New year – Why not develop your skills in using technology?

The Learning Services staff development programme – Developing Digital Excellence begins again in January.

We have got a wide range of sessions covering all 4 strands of the programme which will support staff across the university in their use of technology and hopefully enhance their knowledge and skills – and maybe learn something brand new.




Here’s the detail of what we have got coming up in January

  • Digital Classroom

Introduction to classroom and lecture theatre technology
W/B 21st January and W/B 29th January.

Please contact Glenn Allan direct to discuss suitable rooms and dates – ex 7227

  • Digital Practitioner

Help my mobile is smarter than me! – we all know how this feels!
28th January 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Technology road show and clinic – this is both for staff and students.  Please spread the word to your students about this road show
31st Jan The Hub 11.00am – 2.00pm.

No need to book, just come and see us in the Hub

  • Digital Researcher

Introduction to Refworks – a great training session to start your research project with
29th January 10.00am – 12.00pm

  • Digital Office

Advanced features of Word
28th January 2.00pm – 4.30pm

You can find out more about these sessions and also what we have coming up throughout the year via the Learning Services wiki


You can see at a glance the sessions we are delivering across all these areas and by using the link on the page, link through to book direct on the HR wiki.

All sessions, unless mentioned otherwise, take place in the Learning Innovation Centre (LINC) development room which is located on the top floor of the building. Teams across Learning Services can also deliver bespoke sessions to teams if there is something you would like to develop your skills in.  Please get in touch if you would like to know more.

Rachel Bury
ext. 7757



Can someone explain what’s going on here?

The 5th EHU Student eLearning survey still has just over a week or so left to run but I thought  I’d share with you an interesting and unusual finding from the large number of responses we have received so far.

In the survey we ask students to respond to the statements On/off campus I sometimes have difficulties accessing Learning Edge and not surprisingly a lot of students agree or strongly agree. The responses to these statements are important measures of how well or otherwise the Learning Edge systems and student support are performing. They are also indicators of how effective Learning Services have been in identifying and resolving Learning Edge technical issues. So it is reassuring to note that since we started collecting data on this question and used the feedback to inform improvements, that the numbers of students experiencing technical difficulties have declined year on year.

Which brings me to the interesting and unusual finding illustrated in the two graphs below (click on a chart to make it bigger).

This positive trend shows students are experiencing significantly fewer technical difficulties with Learning Edge both on and off campus but surprisingly the most dramatic improvement is the reduction of off-campus technical difficulties. This reduction is even more marked in the current student responses and begs the question ‘What is going on here: why isn’t the rate of improvement as dramatic with on-campus technical difficulties?’

Obviously, we’ll be investigating this anomaly in our continuing efforts to improve the student experience of Learning Edge. As a starting point, it would be really helpful if student readers could use this blog’s comments facility to provide some pointers by letting me know where, when and on what devices you tend to experience Learning Edge technical issues. It would also be helpful to learn more about what types of technical difficulties are experienced both on- and off-campus.

Finally, if you have not yet had your say about your experience of technology to support your learning at Edge Hill, there is still just over a week of the EHU Student eLearning Survey left to go. Give us your feedback and enter the prize draw for £50 and 2 x £25  Amazon vouchers. Every 20th participant also wins an attractive 1G USB wristband.

Lindsey Martin eLearning Strategy and Development Manager

Lindsey Martin Assistant Head of Learning Services (Learning, ICT and Media Technologies)

Viva Las Vegas…The 2013 Blackboard Exemplary Course Program is now open!

Have you got a well-designed Blackboard module area that you’d like to gain recognition for? Since its launch in 2000, Blackboard opens its Exemplary Course Program (ECP) each year.  The aim is to support the use of e-Learning technology more effectively by identifying and disseminating best practices for designing engaging online courses.

Using Blackboard’s rubric, tutors are able to evaluate how well their own course(s) conform to the best practices for Course Design, Interaction & Collaboration, Assessment and Learner Support before program entry. Courses can then be submitted to the program, which are reviewed by a team of peer reviewers and then by the directors of the Exemplary Course Program.  If successful your course will receive recognition internationally from Blackboard and as part of the accomplishment you will also be invited to attend Blackboard World in Las Vegas, July 2013.

This year is the debut appearance for Edge Hill University with the institution submitting its first ever courses to the program, with one entry from the Faculty of Health and two entries from the Faculty of Education.

From the Faculty of Health, the online module ‘Vascular Disease Management’ is to be submitted for review.  Senior Lecturer Chris Jones has been acknowledged for his use of online learning technology, design quality and communal interaction.  Chris was previously acknowledged for his e-learning course design last year when he was invited to showcase his module to the European Society for Vascular Surgery (ESVS) in Bologna, Italy.

HEA3178 Promo

From the Faculty of Education, the Mathematics Specialist Teacher Programme (MaST) will submit a module from their ever successful MaST course. The MaST module areas within Blackboard already have various exemplar design features and many signs of best practices within e-learning which already measure strongly against the Blackboard ECP rubric.

Also from the Faculty of Education, the collaboration between the NHS North Western Deanery and Edge Hill University in 2009 resulted in the Postgraduate Certificate in Workplace-Based Postgraduate Medical Education and has so far seen over a thousand students complete the blended learning course.  The Clinical Education programme has always been a trailblazer in online learning and the past few years have been no exception with positive results in using Blackboard Mobile to accent the traditional PC-based interface.  Using online discussion forums to help bring together distance students, an aesthetic interface and innovative use of the Blackboard tools the course ticks ‘all the boxes’ from the rubric.

Whether the submissions “win” or not, the fundamental aspect of receiving detailed feedback and insights to course recognition is always an investment worth making.  Participation in the program and the value of iterative improvements to our VLE module areas is an accomplishment in itself.

Winning submission(s) are selected and notified during May 2013 and let’s hope Edge Hill University receives a number of Exemplary Course Awards!

If you have any questions or would like to participate in next year’s Blackboard ECP program please contact [email protected]

Mark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer


eShare – staff development

What is eShare? Why do we have it? How can it benefit me?

Come along on Wednesday 16th January for an introduction to our digital repository for teaching and learning and see how you can make the most of eShare.

eShare offers you the opportunity to showcase your work to the world, store presentations, videos and images in an easily accessible way and find ready-made, adaptable materials for your teaching.

In this hands-on session you will:

  • Create a profile – your profile can then be used for departmental webpages, EHRA and CV creation.
  • Learn how to search the repository for teaching resources, guides to teaching and learning technologies and learning resources.
  • Upload your own items – copyright and creative commons will be explained and demystified.
  • Enjoy the benefits of sharing with a Cake Tasting session!
Wednesday 16th January 1.00pm-3.00pm book online here.


My Wiki and other Animals by Christopher Russell.

This is the first in a series of blog posts that will showcase exemplary Technology Enhanced Learning practices taking place at Edge Hill. Christopher Russell (Senior Lecturer in Primary Education) gives us an engaging account of how he used blogs and wikis to deepen the learning experience of his trainees – with quotes from students on how these web 2.0 tools have transformed their educational experience.

The educational benefits of blogs and wikis have been at the forefront of proactive practitioners’ minds for a number of years now. This year, I was keen to investigate the impact this use can have on our trainees in Initial Teacher Training.

In recent years, I have looked at ways in which I could effectively incorporate new technologies into the seminars and modules I write and deliver. This has involved experimentation with Web 2.0 resources as well as Bluetooth tablets with the Interactive White Boards and most recently wikis and blogs.

This year wikis and blogs have proved themselves to be a particularly useful tool in helping support trainees in their thoughts and reflections after seminars. This has been trialed with my history minor specialists and the first year PPD module trainees. I was keen to provide an additional support that went further than simply being a repository for our resources and session materials, although, interestingly, the trainees all referred to this feature positively.

When looking at using new technologies in our teaching, it is understandable for some conscientious practitioners to question ‘why’. Richardson (2010) goes some way towards providing a rationale; stating that, by working collaboratively on wikis and blogs, ideas and thoughts are shared, edited and, together, knowledge is constructed. This builds on ideas of collaborative work promoting critical thinking and creativity that has been explored by Duffy (2006) along with the advantages of increased access and exposure to materials. Green (2008) goes some way towards explaining the positive impact such innovation can have on learning, explaining that one of the attractions of collaborative work is that each user can engage with the wiki at their own appropriate level, or at a level with which they feel comfortable.

The wiki used with the first year teacher trainee history specialists is an especially interesting example of the impact a wiki can have on the learning experience. Initially, I used the wiki to post reflection points and book references for further reading. This was meant to be an additional support resource for the trainees and I wanted the trainees to post comments and respond to the reflection points. Take-up was slow at first, with trainees reading my entries but not engaging or interacting directly. In those first few weeks, trainees would save questions and thoughts until our next face-to-face session, where they would refer to the blog in their discussion. However, in the fourth week, one trainee, Haydee, brought an interesting book to the session. I suggested that she should post the reference to the wiki so that the other trainees could share the information. Before long, trainees began to use the blog in a variety of ways.

As I had initially hoped, use of the blog spread to trainees offering their thoughts on the sessions after seminars had finished. As each new seminar was a new page on the wiki, it wasn’t long before some trainees went back to past sessions to add their thoughts. I also encouraged use by posting challenges or quiz questions that the trainees could, if they chose to, engage with.

Increasingly, by providing this extra layer of communication, the learning and thought processes of the trainees were being addressed in a new way. Weller (2003) identifies the constructivist nature of this kind of learning experience, highlighting that, through dialogue, a context and purpose for learning is established whilst the process also highlights the active role that the learner assumes.

When asked, trainees did not hesitate in offering what they considered to be the main impact of the wiki. James identified that ‘the history wiki allows me to recap the previous session and check my understanding’. This clearly highlights how this trainee is using the resource to aid their own independent learning and using it as a tool to monitor their understanding. Hannah recognised the impact that the wiki had had on her learning was born of the fact that information and materials was readily available. Hannah also identified that the collaborative and sharing nature of the wiki had an impact on her learning when she stated that ‘you can go over the notes and see what other people said or thought.’ Georgia agreed, stating that ‘I find the wiki useful as it enables me to have access to resources around the clock, with the convenience of being easily able to find everything I could possibly want in one place. I also think that the use of the wiki is great as I have the access to interactive support from not only my tutor, but also my fellow students’. Other trainees emphasised the ‘ease of use’ and the fact that they could engage with the wiki at their own convenience.

Our recent walking history tour of Liverpool demonstrated another means for the trainees to interact with the wiki. Georgia filmed the trip on her mobile phone and then, in the subsequent week, edited the clips on imovie. She then posted the finished result onto the wiki for the other trainees to share and comment upon. In doing so, Georgia transformed the experience from a one-off event to an experience that can be revisited time and again at the convenience of each individual trainee. Whilst vanity may make me squirm at such use, I cannot deny the impact this has on the learning experience.

I feel that, this year, the blogs and wikis have had an enormous impact upon our trainees and their engagement with their learning experiences.

Christopher Russell
Senior Lecturer in Primary Education
Faculty of Education
Primary and Early Years



For further help, support and advice on how you can use Blogs, Wikis and other Web 2.0 style tools with your students contact your Learning Technologist (see the Faculty Contacts on this page) or email the LTD Team on [email protected].