Students – win £50 Amazon vouchers!

Believe it or not the time has come again for us to launch our annual students’ e-Learning survey! This is the fourth year we’ve ran this survey and it’s great that we’re able to build up a picture of our students’ experiences and expectations of technology and see trends emerging over the years.

The survey informs change and developments and we really do take on board all of your comments and suggestions. As an example, last year you told us you wanted a mobile App for Learning Edge (Blackboard 9.1)…..Mobile Learn was launched in September 2011 and as you can see from previous blog posts we have a lot of students now using the app and feedback so far has been extremely positive which we consider to be a resounding success! Keep an eye out for blog posts over the coming weeks telling you more about what changes we’ve made based on the results of last year’s survey.

Learning Edge (Blackboard 9.1) was introduced this academic year and so it’s the perfect time to have your say and tell us your experiences of using it. We know how precious your time is, especially during the assessment period, so as a thank you for completing the survey we are offering a grand prize of £50 Amazon vouchers and two runner up prizes of £25 Amazon vouchers. We are also giving away one of our very exclusive Learning Services USB wristbands for every 20th response!

Current EHU students can access the survey from Learning Edge, the GO portal, your email or from We plan to close the survey on Friday 27th January 2012.

We look forward to reading your responses!

Katherine Richardson
LTD Operations Co-ordinator

Mobile Matters

Are you using the Blackboard Mobile Learn app yet? The mobile app for Learning Edge (Blackboard 9.1) has been available for a good few weeks now, so we thought it would be a good time to look at how much it’s being used. What we found makes fascinating reading!

The last month alone saw 9,343 visits to Learning Edge from a mobile device, but interestingly only 2,535 (27%) of these visits were made via the Mobile Learn app. This means a lot of users are navigating to the site using the browser within their mobile device rather than an app designed specifically for smart devices. Without the app you will have to enter log in details every time you want to access Blackboard; with the app you can save your log in details making it quicker to check into your course. The mobile app also makes navigating the VLE, viewing information and using tools such as the discussion board and journals much easier. Without the app, Learning Edge isn’t optimised for mobile use so if you haven’t already tried it, why not install the app now to see if it makes accessing Learning Edge on your mobile device easier for you? The app displays Blackboard in a different but more mobile-friendly way; the picture below shows how it might look:

Apple continues to be the most widely used with a total of 81% (5,527) of visits coming from Apple devices. The graph below shows the breakdown of the devices used:

You can set your notifications within Blackboard to be sent to either your Blackboard dashboard, your EHU email address, or your mobile app. This means anytime there is activity within your course (for example a new announcement or grade released) you’ll be notified, meaning you’ll always be up to date with what’s happening in your course. For notifications to be sent to your mobile device you need to have the app installed….so install it today!

For information on how to set your Blackboard notifications and for guidance on how to get the app have a look at our collection of mobile guides.

If you have any feedback about your experiences with using the app we’d love to hear from you, so please leave comments here.

Katherine Richardson
LTD Operations Co-ordinator

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

[email protected]


Rachel, Meg and Carol




Learning Edge goes mobile!

We are pleased to announce some exciting news … Learning Edge (Blackboard 9.1) has an app!

The Blackboard Mobile Learn app can be accessed by anyone with a smartphone or tablet device (iPhone, iPod, iPad, Blackberry, Android) for easy and convenient access to courses and collaboration and communication tools whilst on the go.  The app gives you mobile ‘friendly’ access to your course dashboard, announcements, assignments, grades, discussions and handouts.  You’ll also be able to contribute to and comment on discussion and blog posts, and staff will be able to update announcements and journals and create new discussion threads.

This is a timely development for EHU as our 3rd annual Students eLearning Survey (January 2011) revealed that many of our students currently use their mobile phones to access and share information about their courses. They told us that they wanted to access Blackboard in this way too.  We anticipate student use of Blackboard Mobile via the app will really take off. There are a couple of reasons for this – firstly, national data from Ofcom suggests that smartphone ownership in the UK is growing at a rate of 70% a year, with about 45% of 16-24 year olds now having internet-enabled phones. Secondly, thanks to Google Analytics, we know that people are already accessing Blackboard 9.1 from their mobile devices.

August is traditionally our quietest month and yet we we had 598 visits to the Blackboard 9.1 site from mobile devices. This is amazing as 9.1 is not optimised for mobile use. The graph below shows the breakdown of the devices used:

As you can see, the operating systems most used were iPod/iPhone/iPad, Android and Blackberry.  Our Mobile Learn app is available for all of these devices.

You can download the app and start using it now by following these four simple steps:

1.  Search for “Blackboard Mobile Learn” in your app store.
2.  Once the app is installed, search for Edge Hill University using the search bar that automatically appears when you open the app.
3.  Select Edge Hill University.
4.  Log in using the same username and password you normally use to access Learning Edge.

You can find installation guides and helpful FAQs about Mobile Learn here –

Apple users click here
Android users click here
Blackberry users click here
Setting your Mobile Learn course notifications

The Learning Technology Development team will be offering some awareness-raising sessions throughout the coming semester for staff wanting to know more about developing mobile ‘friendly’ courses in Learning Edge, but if you would like to start sooner, contact us to find out more by emailing [email protected]

Katherine Richardson
LTD Operations Co-ordinator

New Academic 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: (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 [email protected]

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

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