• Introduction to Blackboard 9.1

    Learning Technology Development are working closely with Faculties to introduce staff to the new features and functionality of Blackboard 9.1.

    A recorded version of of the Introduction to 9.1 Presentation currently being offered to Faculty Champions and Faculty of Education Teams is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zmeq1BlIs1I.

    The video is about 6 minutes long and gives a brief overview of the new features available in Blackboard 9.1 and highlights some of the key developments and changes from version 8.

    If you want a sneak preview of 9.1 take a look.

  • I'm opening the envelope … and the winner is …

    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 ….


  • The Story So Far….

    The team have been working over the past few weeks to bring together all the feedback and comments the VLE has generated.  We thought this would be a good time to share some of those points.

    The review has captured views of staff and students in a variety of ways and this has been a very interesting process for all those involved.  You will recall we have undertaken a number of events which included focus group style sessions with academics to see what would be important in the future Edge Hill VLE, the most important teaching and learning tools they would want to use, a comprehensive staff survey to allow for further comment and then the  presentation event 3 weeks ago.

    The event showcased..warts and all..both Blackboard and Moodle.  Here are some of the staff comments:

    Blackboard..the good


    Drag and Drop

    Professional look and feel

    The migration wouldn’t seem problematic

    Navigation intuitive

    365/24/7 support

    Selective release of content

    More organised

    Empty folders don’t show in student view

    Blackboard…not so positive

    Speed of student down loads

    Add-ins have to be paid for

    Technical issues still exist ie Java

    Moodle…the good

    Use of communication with announcements pushed to email



    Looks easy, similar design to Google


    Looks as if its more interactive

    No Java used

    Moodle..the not so good



    Too many boxes

    Looked dull

    Seems complex


    No selective release


    The afternoon was very useful for all those involved and the comments from staff are very important but of course not everyone could attend and we did only see a small snap shot with the perspective of those two universities.  Testing will help tease out some of the detail behind all the comments above

    The next stage is to have a sand pit/play area where we will have sample courses set up will be asking staff to get involved in testing out the main functions and adding content.  As soon as this is ready we will let everyone know and try to get staff and students from all our faculties involved.

    Please post your views if you were at the event or want to get involved in the sand pit.