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

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

Katherine Richardson
LTD Operations Co-ordinator

Students, have your say – the EHU Student eLearning Survey #3

Where does the time go? The third EHU student eLearning survey went live last Friday and lots of you have already been taking time out to fill it in. Telling us your experiences and expectations of technology to support your learning helps us to understand what works and what hinders. Last year we had 775 completed questionnaires and this year it would be great if we could top that as the more responses we get the more influential the survey is in continuing to improve current services and inform future direction.

The survey isn’t just an academic exercise, it informs change – have a look at last year’s survey. Since the survey report was published we have completed the VLE Review, drawing upon views, comments and suggestions contained in the 2009/10 survey – the new version of Blackboard we are upgrading to in September 2011 will contain lots of features you told us you wanted – like blogs, wikis, mashups with Facebook and other Web2.0 tools. We have also overhauled how we manage staff and student queries and problems with Blackboard to ensure a proactive, speedier, more joined-up service.

If you are an Edge Hill student, please (please!) complete our survey. We realise that your time is precious – especially with end of term assignment deadlines looming – and so we have added a sweetener of a prize draw of one £50 and two £25 Amazon vouchers.

The survey may be accessed from Blackboard, from email or from We plan to close the survey on 29th January 2010. We look forward to hearing from you …

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


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

EHU Student e-learning Survey still open

The survey has been open for about four weeks now and the response rate has been fantastic. Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to complete the survey to date.  All of your comments are helpful and will help to inform our thinking about what kind of virtual learning environment Edge Hill needs.

We’ve been asked to keep the survey open for one last week so have willingly agreed to do this. You can access it from or from your Blackboard account.

We look forward to hearing from you – and don’t forget, two lucky participants will receive £50 Amazon vouchers in our free prize draw.

Students, have your say about the VLE … and a few other technology-related things

The VLE Project Review team have been running workshops with different groups of Blackboard users in order to develop a clear picture of the VLE and associated technologies that will meet (and hopefully exceed) the needs and expectations of Edge Hill students and staff.  Feedback from those attending the workshops has been incredibly positive about the process and the opportunities it provides for everyone to have their views heard. Last workshop for staff this semester is Friday 11 December 9.30 in Solstice and will be followed by a Festive Lunch with mulled wine. All welcome. To book a place and lunch, email Katherine Richardson ( asap.

Which brings me now to the 2009 EHU Student e-Learning Survey. This is the second online student survey produced by EHU’s  SOLSTICE Centre of Excellence for Teaching and Learning. It aims to develop an understanding of our students experience, expectations and use of technology-enhanced teaching and learning and this year will also feed into the VLE review. We used the findings from last year’s survey to improve our services to students and we will use this year’s responses to continue to improve existing services and inform new developments and improvements, especially concerning the proposed VLE  requirements.

If you are an Edge Hill student, please (please!) complete our survey. There is a prize draw and two lucky participants will each win £50 worth of  Amazon vouchers.

The survey may be accessed via the GO portal, from Blackboard, from the SOLSTICE webpages or from We plan to close the survey on 20th January 2010.

EHU students, have your say! EHU staff, you are not forgotten as we’ll be running a survey for you in the New Year.