Beyond the Baseline: How soon is now?

ECP cohort

Over the past few weeks I’ve shared our Blackboard Exemplary Course Program (ECP) experience with you all, both internally and externally. I hope I’ve inspired many of you to start thinking about how you can build an exemplary course within Learning Edge (Blackboard Learn 9.1) and what it can do for your students.

The goal of submitting and winning an ECP in 2014 for Edge Hill University would not only be a massive ‘pat on the back’ for the institution but to also showcase your hard work and excellent use of e-learning. In the long term, I would imagine that tutors will over time naturally adopt the ECP rubric into their practice from the beginning to encourage evaluation and to lead into a cycle of innovations and improvements that will continuously enhance the student experience through Learning Edge.

So with this in mind, let me introduce you to the ‘Exemplary Course Cohort’ sessions. Starting this month (22nd July) Blackboard will be hosting and delivering this free online course over a 4 week series of virtual meetings via Blackboard Collaborate (web conferencing platform).  Using their ECP rubric the sessions are delivered by Blackboard ECP directors and previous winners who will expand upon each element of the rubric;

  • Course Design
  • Interaction and Collaboration
  • Assessment
  • Learner Support

Each session will provide you with some fantastic theoretical concepts and will also ensure you are getting the best out of the available tools to help recognise, organise and build your module areas against the ECP standards.  Best of all, this course is totally free and starts on Monday 22nd July and finishes on 12th August 2013. Each of the 4 live sessions will run on every Monday @ 2pm (GMT) for approximately 1 hour.

You can register for the course today by clicking on the following link:

http://learn.blackboard.com/ecpcohort

This a great opportunity for you all to increase your e-learning knowledge and to enhance the student experience, which will greatly improve their opportunities for success. Who knows, you could even be submitting your course in 2014 for an ECP award?

Feel free to get in touch with me at wilcockm@edgehill.ac.uk if you have any questions or would simply like to know more.

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Mark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer

Blackboard Exemplary Course Program 2013 Update: No sour grapes…really!

We Can Do It

Blackboard Exemplary Course Program 2013 Update: This year I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating closely with my colleagues to support and oversee our institutions’ debut submission of courses to the 2013 Blackboard Exemplary Course Program (ECP). As mentioned in my first ECP post back in January, the aim of the program is to support the use of e-Learning technology more effectively by identifying and disseminating best practices for designing engaging online courses.

Prior to the 2013 program commencing I was aware that some of our academics were considering the idea of submitting their courses for review, so with some internal promotion and the introduction to the Blackboard ECP rubric, we set out to inspire our academics to take the plunge and commit to submitting their courses.

My first step was to advise our academics to self-evaluate their own courses using the very comprehensive ECP rubric. The ECP rubric recommends best practices and gave our tutors the ability to effectively asses the standard of their course and reveal areas of strength as well as identifying any weaknesses where their design may have fallen short. Make no mistake, this is not something to be taken lightly as the ECP rubric criteria covers areas such as course design, interaction, collaboration, assessment and learner support. The immediate benefits where obvious; for our academics, this was a valuable and rare opportunity to undertake a reflective, self-evaluation of their course. By using the rubric to review our course submissions, it has also internally enriched our institutions baseline courses, which in return has given our students an improved learning experience.

Unfortunately this year we didn’t win an ECP award, but we did come close by collecting the ‘Exemplary’ stamp of approval on a number of key areas from the majority of the reviewers.  Each one of our submitted courses received highly detailed, peer-reviewed feedback once the program had finished.  This feedback was prepared by a panel of reviewers who volunteer their time and expertise to review our courses against the ECP rubric and the evidence we provided.  Each of the comments we received where a well-informed snapshot of each course and has provided an invaluable perspective and ideas for improvement.

I’ve already begun preparing myself to support next year’s submissions by enrolling on the July 2013 Blackboard Exemplary Course Cohort to gain more insight on the areas that need further development.   With new ideas and lessons to be learnt from the upcoming Exemplary Course Cohort and the development of elements from our ECP 2013 feedback, we will return to showcase even stronger examples of exemplary courses from Edge Hill University in 2014.

If you would like to participate in next year’s Blackboard ECP program, I highly recommend you also enrol on the July 2013 Exemplary Course Cohort (four week online course) to gain additional information on its process as well as its requirements.

Look out for more updates throughout the coming months and of course, feel free to get in touch with me at wilcockm@edgehill.ac.uk if you have any questions or would simply like to know more.

Mark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer