Emerging Technologies Staff Development Tuesday 11th October – BlackBoard 9.1 goes Mobile

BlackBoard Mobile Learn and smart technology and devices

This interactive session will look at devices and the introduction of BlackBoard Mobile Learn. The past 12 months have seen a real step change in the market for mobile devices. It is estimated that one iPad is currently sold every 2 seconds and Amazon has reached a milestone where digital sales outstrip those of hardbacks. We are now seeing a growing uptake of iPads (and similar), eReaders and smart-phones in higher education on the basis that they are easy and intuitive to use, and that it is what students expect.

This 1 hour lunchtime session aims to look at the use of devices and BlackBoard Mobile Learn. As well as providing an opportunity for participants to exchange experiences about smart technology and discuss developments in using them with students, there will be a chance to see Mobile Learn on a mobile device.

Book on to this session by emailing Staff Development



Rachel, Meg and Carol




New Academic year..new technologies

As we all prepare for the new academic year, Learning Technology Development would like to invite colleagues to their new series of Emerging Technologies work shops.

The first of our new programme of work shops is on 7th September 2011 from  1.00pm 2.00pm. 

QR Codes: Are they Mainstream yet?

This quick, 1 hour interactive workshop will introduce participants to the world of Quick Response (QR) Codes these are 2D barcodes that can be scanned with a smart phone, iPod Touch or similar.  Anyone with a smart-phone can scan and read QR codes with the click of a camera, and anyone with access to a computer can generate QR codes themselves for free.

Workshop participants will have an opportunity to learn more about the potential of QR Codes and discover how to create their own. You won’t need a laptops but you will need to bring along your phone or mobile device (tablet, iPad etc. – make sure it has an inbuilt camera though).

If you wish to install a QR code app before arriving, you can start here: http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ (You can use your PC or apps store for downloading).

This session links with the next session on Emerging Technologies about ‘Blackboard Mobile Learn’.  You can use the QR code reader software to download the Blackboard Mobile app!

Please book your place via HR Staff Development team

Email staffdevelopment@edgehill.ac.uk

ps Learning Services has a QR code so our users can get quick, instant access to our website from their smart phone

Rachel Bury

Academic Liaison Manager for the Faculty of Health

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.

Check out the presentation and Moodle showcase from Coventry University

We have had an busy and interesting  two weeks analysing the feedback from the presentations and demo’s from the 21st May event.  For those who couldn’t make it or anyone who would like to have a good look at some of the Moodle resources Coventry are using, the Coventry team have put together a web resource for us.  They were keen to ensure that it was shared with as wide an audience as possible.

If you couldn’t make on the 21st May but have any questions or comments about this Moodle example please feed your thoughts through the blog..


Rachel and the team


VLE Presentation Day – a great success


We have just been wrapping up the end of the presentation day .. 

The afternoon session was very well attended, many thanks to everyone who came, there were over 70 academics and students, which is excellent for a sunny Friday afternoon! thank you all for putting the time aside to come and get involved.  We had two very interesting presentations which really did give the warts and all for Blackboard 9 and Moodle.  There was good interaction and we had a chance to see courses and tools in action. 

We had been keen from the out set to ensure that everyone’s thoughts and views were captured and we have asked everyone who attended to complete and answer a number of questions, as well as overall feelings and views.  We are reading the feedback as I type so will be in touch next week with the headlines 

If you were not able to come this afternoon the event was videoed so we will make it available, I will be in touch next week with info of where you can access it. 

Any feedback you would like to share with everyone, please get in touch via the blog 


What staff would like to see in a future VLE….

At the event on Friday staff and students will have an opportunity to discuss with our partner universities the tools they are using in their new generation VLE’s

From the staff survey last month, these things came out on top…

What staff would like to see in a future VLE %
Ability to change  look & feel  of VLE 55.9
Customisable home page 53.9
Drag and  drop interface 73.6
Templates can be used to generate consistent look & feel 80.9
VLE to have a variety of assessment tools 74.4
Student ability to submit assessments in a variety of formats 81.7
Online marking 70.7
Will support 2nd marking online & both markers comments made available 68.6
VLE supporting resits and special requirements 64.7
Ability to share quizzes over modules 50


We also asked what other technologies staff would like to use in their teaching. There was no overwhelming response to any single technology but blogs, wikis and teaching content delivered by mobile devices scored highest. Similarly wikis, blogs and lectures available on mobile phones and other devices such as iPods were the most popular tools for learning identified in the student survey along with interactive Flash-based activities.

If you would like to see some of these tools in action, please sign up for the Friday afternoon event, its not too late and also put your name down to get  involved in sample courses we are going to set up on Blackboard 9 and Moodle

Please get in touch via the blog ASAP

VLE Review: Some headlines from the Staff Survey

To help with preparation for the evaluation event next Friday we thought we would share some of the feedback we have had from the recent staff survey.  We were very pleased with the response – the survey was completed by 166 members of academic staff.

The data yielded by the survey has produced a vivid snapshot of how staff are using Blackboard, including the highs and the lows.  A key part of the survey was around the tools in Blackboard that staffs sees as important, and the responses have given us some important insight and will be helpful when staff look at what Blackboard 9 can offer and what tools University of Northampton are using.

Important Blackboard features & tools Staff % Student %
Submission and collection of assignments 69.9 75.4
Turnitin (plagiarism detection software) 78.9 64.5
Setting up group work 77.1 50.1
Using Blackboard email 61.4 79.2
Online discussion 64.4 60
Using audio and/or video clips 75.9 62.4
Capturing reflection on one’s learning 75.9 54.5
Self-tests and quizzes 45.7 43.4
Providing course and module information 97.6 97
Uploading lecture notes and presentations 90.4 92.6


The matching student responses are from the 2009 EHU Student eLearning Survey and in some respects mirror staff feedback but also highlight what students see as important features.

There will be opportunities on the 21st of May to discuss these features and tools in Blackboard 9 and Moodle, and see how the universities have worked with academic staff to support them in the development of their TEL skills to embed these tools.

For all those attending on the 21st, we are keen for you to start thinking about these features but also what you want to see in a new VLE, there will be lots of opportunity for you discuss this with our Blackboard and Moddle partner at the event.

Places are still available for the event, but there are only 16 places remaining

Please book online http://vlepresentation.eventbrite.com


Any questions or comments about the up and coming event or the staff survey, please get back to us via the blog

VLE Presentation Event May 21st

As I mentioned last week we are making preparations to hold an event here at Edge Hill with two other HEI’s who are going to come along and share VLE experiences!!

 We are holding the presentation event on Friday 21st May 2010 1.00pm – 3.00pm  Lecture Theatre SPS Building

 The two presentations will be from Coventry University and The University of Northampton.   This is going to be an exciting event where colleagues will get an opportunity to see for real two new VLE’s – Blackboard 9 and Moodle.  The presentations will cover the real key areas which we have been exploring with academic colleagues and there will be plenty of time for questions.

 Invitations to the event will be going out from the end of this week and places are limited to 40 and booking will be online. 

We want this to be as interactive as possible and welcome all your in put and ideas, all comments welcome

VLE Evaluation..Phase 2 begins

Phase 2 now underway….

As the VLE Review Project progresses through Phase 2 of its life cycle we move into the evaluation of VLE Systems.  The VLE Review Project Board has taken an executive decision to focus this phase of the project on two current latest release VLE Systems, Blackboard and Moodle.

The VLE Review Group are about to begin work with two universities who are happy to get involved and share their knowledge and experience of their recent projects which involved a transition to a new VLE.  They are able to offer the academic, technology and IT infrastructure perspective which is vital in terms of how we evaluate Blackboard and Moodle.  Visits to the sites have been arranged but there is to be a follow up event here at Edge Hill to allow a wider audience to meet the teams and explore the key components of their VLE’s via a presentation and then question and answer session.

More information and invitations coming soon..

VLE Review Academic Staff Survey


We have already had a great response to the academic staff survey which was circulated just before the Easter break.  Up to now there have been over 90 responses which is very encouraging.  The survey is looking in more detail around the important requirements in terms of a future VLE and its role in teaching and learning at Edge Hill.   This is a great opportunity to have your say.

The project is moving along and the next phase will include  academic staff and students being invited to discussions with colleagues from across the UK who have moved recently to a new VLE and also get a chance to test out the new technologies both Blackboard and others are using.

We will be keeping all staff and students posted about future events and so watch out for dates and news

The survey is still open so if you haven’t completed it yet you can still get involved, the survey will close on 23rd April.

Please get in touch with either Professor Mark Schofield or any members of the review team if you want to get involved when we begin testing and being creative with new technology!