Developing Digital Excellence in December – come a long for a coffee and a mince pie

As semester 1 draws to close there are a number of opportunities for staff development and maybe reflect on some of the success of the term around using the VLE and share those with us and colleagues or you might be thinking about what you can do differently next year.  The sessions within our Digital Practitioner strand are sessions we have run previously but have been our most popular, especially the students’ ideal VLE


The Digital Practitioner  

Your Digital Tattoo – What the web says about you!              4/12/13      1.00pm- 2.00pm
Professional and employable digital identities                                  

Radio Ga Ga, Host Your Own Podcast                                  5/12/13      12noon – 1.00pm

Learning Edge – The Students’ Ideal VLE                               11/12/13    1.00pm – 2.00pm

Bring Your Course to Life With Video and Audio Content       17/12/13   12noon – 1.00pm

Another popular session in the past has been Michelle Maden providing help and guidance around beginning a systematic review so this session is running again on the 10th of December.

The Digital Researcher

Systematic Reviews: Where to Search                               10/12/13    11.00am- 12:30pm


Elaine Czotter continues to provide support in terms of staff using our new email system and has two sessions, one looking at the use of the calendar and all the opportunities that can bring and also using and managing your Outlook email.

The Digital Office

Outlook calendar (new session)                                           4/12/13      2.00pm-3.30pm

Outlook email (new session)                                                5/12/13      10.00am-12.00pm

Publisher- Introduction to desk top publishing                      6/12/13      1.00pm-3.00pm

ECDL Induction                                                                     10/12/13    10.00am–11.00am

We will be offering coffee and minces pies at our Christmas sessions so we hope to see you over the next few weeks.

All off the sessions are held in the ICT Staff Development training room S 5 on the second floor of the LINC Building.

Please book online via the HR Staff Development bookings

 If you have any areas of development which you feel you would like more support with please don’t hesitate to get in touch, we can add sessions to our regular programme or we can provide bespoke sessions for you and your team.

Please contact  me via email or telephone ex 7757 or 01695 650757

Rachel Bury

Learning Services

Academic Liaison Manager – Quality, Marketing and Communications

Learning how to share

Staff Development: eShare: Making the most of your Digital Repository

What is eShare? Why do we have it? How can it benefit me? Come along for an introduction to our digital repository for teaching and learning and see how you can make the most of eShare.

eShare offers you the opportunity to showcase your work to the world, store presentations, video clips and images in an easily accessible way and find ready-made, adaptable materials for your teaching.

In this hands-on session you will:

  • Create a profile – your profile can then be used for departmental webpages, EHRA and CV creation.
  • Learn how to search the repository for teaching resources, guides to technologies and learning resources.
  • Upload your own items – copyright and creative commons will be explained and demystified.

Book on to this session online via the Staff Development Booking system.

Michelle O'Connell




Michelle O’Connell

To arrange for a bespoke or 1:1 eShare session please contact me on x7229.

Your route to success







Have you heard about our Routemaster programme?

This year Learning Services are running two strands within our student support programme. We have sessions within Steps to Academic Success and new this term, Steps to Employability.  We are calling the programme Routemaster – Your route to success.

Steps to Academic Success

These sessions are aimed at helping students progress by developing effective study and research techniques.

book online

Steps to Employability

These sessions have been developed to enhance student’s digital skills.  This includes managing your digital footprint, using social media for your career and using ICT in the workplace.

book online

We have a printed timetable which you might have seen at our help desks, and the full programme and booking information is available online.  The timetable for both strands gives you details of the sessions in semester 1.  We do offer a number of repeat sessions if one date isn’t convenient.  Each session has 10 places which are released 10 days in advance, so keep an eye out for details and announcements or speak to a member of staff at the Ask desk, 1st floor University Library.

If would like to book a bespoke session for your students, please get in touch with your Academic Liaison Librarian or myself

Rachel Bury

Academic Liaison Manager – Quality, Marketing and Communication


Developing Digital Excellence

As term begins we wanted to take this opportunity to let staff know about the skills and development opportunities Learning Services are providing as part of our Developing Digital Excellence programme.

This is the second year we have created a series of workshops where we wanted to share our expertise and collaborate with staff within a number of key development areas.  We are continuing to use the 4 strands as we feel they resonate with the key drivers for teams.  We have also got some new developing areas, following the feedback we had last year.

If you are a new member of staff, the sessions on using classrooms and lecture theatres may be very useful, and we are also keen to welcome all new academic staff to our introudctory session around using Learning Edge.  This session introduces staff to thier test area in Blackboard and looks at some of the key elements of the system for all new starters.

These sessions are face to face and are all delivered in our training room on the 2nd floor of the LINC building, however we are keen to deliver more sessions as online using Collaborate as we had some excellent feedback from our online session in July when we had over 50 people logged into the Blackboard Service Pack 12 update session.  

These sessions are all within our programme and you can book your place online via the HR Staff Development booking system..  If there are sessions you feel might be beneficial to your team as a bespoke event, or you feel your team could attend as an online session, please get in touch with me.

The Digital Classroom

Lecture theatre equipment            Wilson 1                    04/10/13         11.00am – 11.30am

Introduction to classroom equipment    B004                  04/10/13         4.00pm – 4.30pm

The Digital Practitioner   

Getting started with Learning Edge – essential skills for tutors using BlackBoard 

                                                                                        15/10/13           10.00am – 12.00pm

Restock your presentation toolkit                                   16/10/13           1.00pm – 2.00pm

Successfully managing online marking –    A guide to using the grade centre in  Blackboard                                                                      17/10/13          12.00pm – 1.00pm

Capturing workshop or seminar work in Learning Edge/Blackboard 

                                                                                         23/10/13         1.00pm – 2.00pm

Beyond the Baseline – building an exemplary course     30/10/13          2.00pm – 3.00pm

The Digital Researcher

Systematic Reviews: where to search                           10/10/13       10.00am – 11.30am                           

The Digital Office

Outlook desktop email                                                     3/10/13         9.30am – 12.30am

Outlook desktop calendar                                                4/10/13        11.30am – 1.00pm

Folders and file management on the Edge Hill  network    7/10/13        9.30am – 10.30am 

Word 1 – managing paragraph and page formats            8/10/13        10.00am – 11.30am 

PowerPoint 1 – introduction to on-screen presentations  14/10/13       2.00pm – 4.00pm

Excel 2 – functions and workbook management               22/10/13       10.00am – 12.00pm

Publisher 1 – introduction to desk top publishing              24/10/13       10.00am – 12.00pm


Rachel Bury

Academic Liaison Manager – Quality, Marketing and Communication

Learning Edge Upgrade: Introducing New Features



As most of you are aware Learning Edge is scheduled to be upgraded this weekend (July 21st-22nd). Once completed you will have access to a number of impressive new features and improvements to existing ones. Over the past few weeks we have promoted what these new features can do and how they can help you expand on current usage.

To help introduce you to what’s new, Learning Technology will be running an online webinar (via Collaborate) at 2.30pm on Wednesday 24th July to allow instructors on Blackboard to become acquainted with the new features and tools.  Anyone can join via a computer with an internet connection, regardless of where they are, you could even attend from the comfort of your own home.  Questions will be taken via the chat box in the webinar.

This online session will be very useful as it will provide you with the opportunity to have an overview of the new Learning Edge and the opportunity to ask questions on how and where you may wish to use the new features and tools. Please follow this link to register for the event via the Staff Development pages:

Once you have registered, you will receive joining instructions and information via email on how to virtually attend.

You may find it useful to review our marketing flyers.  You can also download and share them with your colleagues.



During the webinar, the following new features will be introduced:

Calendar – a unified calendar across all areas enrolled in to see ‘the big picture’ of what is happening in Blackboard.

Discussion Boards – revamped and easier to follow including profile pictures (if users have uploaded a picture or avatar).

Profiles – entering your own details or optionally using Facebook or Twitter to ‘pull’ through basic info about yourself into Blackboard.

Inline Grading – like Turnitin’s feature ‘GradeMark’ the Blackboard Assignment tool now allows online comments, feedback and grading against the actual work in a virtual window.

Global Navigation – quick links for all users to quickly get to key activity in Blackboard.

My Blackboard – still quick access, but more detailed information about the activity including the ability to reply to any discussion forums from the Learning Edge Homepage without having to click into each individual course or module!

Retention Centre – revamped ‘Early Course Warnings’ with much clearer graphics to monitor and keep track of students.

We will look forward to seeing you online and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the upgrade.

If you have any queries regarding the session please don’t hesitate to contact the Learning Technology Development team on 01695 650754 or via [email protected]

Nina_Unsworth 1Nina Unsworth

Learning Technology Development Operations Coordinator


Introducing Service Pack 12: A look at what’s next for Learning Edge – July 2013 upgrade


Over the years, there have been significant system upgrades implemented to Learning Edge (Blackboard 9.1) which have added many new features as well as an improved overall user experience. The next upgrade to Learning Edge is scheduled for July 21st-22nd 2013, this is when the system will be unavailable for a short time – However we will continue to update you with further information closer to the time. You can follow up to date status alerts of all Learning Edge systems via Twitter @EdgeHillVLE

Once the work is complete, you will be able to log in as normal but will notice a number of enhancements.This upgrade will provide an even more user friendly and modern experience for students and staff alike. Many existing features have been improved and some exciting new features added to make the user experience more efficient.

The following is a quick overview of the tools* that you can expect to be using soon:

*Some of these features are subject to change and agreement of social ‘cloud’ policy and testing.

Global Navigation

The new Global Navigation feature refers to the set of links that appears at the very top right of the Blackboard Learn frame. This set of links has been streamlined and becomes the entry point to My Blackboard and social learning tools. Access points to your courses and other information are organised in one place to provide a consistent, quick, and easy way to find information.


My Blackboard

The new My Blackboard feature provides information from across Learning Edge for users. Users access My Blackboard via the new Global Navigation Menu at the top of the screen. My Blackboard has a navigation panel that quickly connects to the new My Blackboard tools – Profile, Updates, People, and Posts – as well as courses, organisations, and settings.



With this enhancement, Blackboard have thoroughly revamped the look and feel of this tool. The first thing you’ll notice are the large avatars or profile pictures, so it’s a lot easier to identify tutors or fellow students. And now you can see all threads on one page, but if this gets overwhelming, you have the ability to collapse and expand them.

Highlights include:

  • All posts on one page: The entire discussion thread appears on a single page, thereby maintaining the context of posts and replies to one another.
  • Avatars:  The user profile avatars are more prominent in the new Discussions.
  • Conditional highlighting of instructors’ posts: It is easier for students to find posts from instructors in a sea of other posts.
  • Respond to posts inline: When clicking “Reply”, the content editor appears in the context of the discussion so as not to disrupt the flow of the user.  The full content editor is available for the user to write a reply. When finished, submitting the post adds it directly into the page without losing context.


Inline Assignment Grading

Inline Assignment Grading is a revision to the workflow for grading submissions via the Assignment tool. Now instead of downloading the files that you need to view, edit and grade, you can view the Word, Excel, PPT docs or PDFs “inline” within Learning Edge.   Instead of downloading student-submitted files to view or edit, you will now be able to view student-submitted files “inline,” i.e. in the web browser, without requiring any plugins, applets, or client-side applications.

Additionally, annotation tools will be made available as part of the inline viewer, enabling tutors to provide feedback including comments, highlights, and even drawings/annotations directly on the inline view of the document.


Retention Center

The brand new Retention Center provides tutors with an easy-to-use data visualisation and pre-configured rules for identifying at-risk students in a course. Because it requires no set up on the part of the tutor or administrator, it automatically calls out students who may need the tutor’s attention, making it easy for tutors to catch and respond to risk factors quickly, while there is time to help the at-risk students succeed in the course.


New Calendar

With this new calendar, you can spend less time organising your calendar and more time doing what’s on it. Consolidate your course items into this easy-to-use calendar. Add events, drag and drop to change due dates, input course reminders.

Students and tutors can view items that are past due, due today, or due this week by navigating to the overview capability in My Blackboard. From the image below you can see that it’s much more modern, in terms of both look and functionality.

You can select views (month, week, and day) and color-code the events to differentiate courses and personal items. Items with due dates automatically appear on the new Learning Edge calendar.  If you change a due date within a course area, the calendar gets updated for students as well.

Calendar events may be viewed at once– or filtered to show only the desired mix of class and personal events. Users can select which calendars to view, ranging from personal to institution to individual course listings.  These calendar items can also be exported via an iCal feed to Outlook, Google or other 3rd party calendars.


Assessment Item Analysis

The new Item Analysis provides statistics on overall test performance and on individual test questions. This data helps faculty recognise questions that might not adequately discriminate between students who understand the material and those who do not. Faculty can use this information to improve questions for future tests or to adjust marks on current attempts. Ineffective or misleading questions are identified easily, corrected in the Test Canvas, and are re-graded automatically.


We hope you like the look of these new features and would be happy to hear your thoughts via the comments section below.

If you have any queries regarding this upgrade please don’t hesitate to contact the Learning Technology Development team on 01695 650754 or via [email protected]


Mark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer



Technology Roadshow to appear at FoHSC enrollment day

Technology Roadshow April

Tuesday 30th April sees the return of the Technology Roadshow!

After the success of the last event held in the University Library, we are to bring the road show to the Faculty of Health and Social Care to tie in with the Faculty enrollment and induction day for the newest cohorts, but all current students and staff are welcome to come and ask any burning questions you may have about your devices, gadgets or gizmos.

We would be delighted to talk to you about technology; let us demystify some of the things you’ve heard about but don’t know how to use, and let us help you get started using technologies maybe you haven’t heard of yet!

Some of you have said you would like to know how to do such things as:

  • sync my emails?
  • easily log into Learning Edge?
  • get the course notifications I want?
  • download journal articles and eBooks?
  • save shortcuts to the library and my subject pages?
  • watch videos or listen to podcasts?
  • find online journals and articles?
  • build a reference using the Discover More ‘cite’ tool?
  • find useful apps?
  • connect to wi-fi on campus?
  • find a PC to use?
  • forward my Edge Hill emails to a personal account?

Tell us what you want to know about Learning Edge, Campus Pack, Mobile Learn, the PC Availability Finder, Library Anywhere, Ebrary, Collaborate and anything else you want to know about technology to support your learning.

Come along to the Faculty of Health and Social Care; we will be located in the foyer between 11am and 2pm.

If you’re not on campus on the day to speak to us in person, we have got that covered too!  You can contact us during the event (and beyond) via our social media channels: Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be using #EHUmobileclinic so if you have something to say or a question to ask about using technologies for your studies please get in touch.

We look forward to seeing you!




Carol Chatten
Learning Technology Development Officer


Award Winning Leadership in Mobile Teaching and Learning!

Learning Services have been awarded a Mobile Innovation Award as part of the 2013 Blackboard Catalyst Award programme. This exciting achievement recognises the impressive growth of mobile enhanced provision and practice at Edge Hill University and specifically, Learning Services’ strategic approach to supporting all staff and students to embrace the educational affordances of mobile technology.

BB_Catalyst_AwardIn September 2011, evidence of increasing mobile device ownership and student feedback about the potential of mobile technology led the university to invest in the Blackboard Mobile Learn app and our journey to mobility began! Following installation, set-up and testing, a strong communication and marketing campaign was initiated to promote and encourage uptake. Resource guides and support events like the technology roadshow mobile clinics were provided to help students and staff get started downloading apps, connecting to the campus wifi and using the vast range of mobile compatible library resources, such as the Library Catalogue app, Discover more and Ebrary eBooks. Concurrently a comprehensive staff development programme, which included innovative workshops like ‘A Mobile Field Trip’ & ‘Help My Mobile Is Smarter Than Me’, began, in order to support the effective adaptation and development of new mobile friendly teaching and learning practices – with areas such as Postgraduate Clinical Education, HEA4065 Clinical Research, SENCo, Dyslexia, and Sports Therapy leading the way to design and develop course environments that work seamlessly with the Mobile Learn app and enable their students to engage and learn at a time and place that is convenient to them.

Over the last 18 months mobile usage has increased dramatically and pockets of mobile friendly practices are expanding to become the standard modus operandi, accordingly both the service and the university have continued to invest in a portfolio of mobile facilities and activities to develop staffing expertise in order to positively enhance the student experience.

Mobile_Learn_Users_ComparisonFigure 1. Yearly Comparison 2011-12 2012-13 : – Number of Mobile Learn app users

Mobile_Learn_ComparisonFigure 2. Yearly Comparison 2011-12 2012-13 : Number of visits to the VLE via Mobile Learn

The mobile landscape continues to shift and provide new opportunities to enhance education and we’re working to build on these strong foundations to explore and exploit these exciting  developments. (Augmented reality is next on our agenda so watch this space!) Ongoing evaluation through analytics, user feedback, research and benchmarking is helping to ensure we are in a position to respond to changing behaviours and continue to implement a progressive mobile strategy.

This Blackboard Catalyst Mobile Innovation Award celebrates the hard work and achievement of many colleagues and students across the university. The product of constructive relationships and collaboration makes innovation and transformative teaching and learning practices possible- so this award goes to everyone at Edge Hill who is involved, engaged and working together to embrace mobile learning!

The awards ceremony will take place amongst a global community of peers at the Blackboard World 2013 Education Technology Conference this July in Las Vegas. As Learning Technology Development Manager I have been lucky enough to be invited to represent Edge Hill and Learning Services to accept this prestigious Mobile Innovation Award.

Congratulations everyone – keep up the good work!

Meg Juss, Learning Technology Development Manager





Meg Juss
Learning Technology Development Manager

The Blackboard Catalyst Mobile Innovation awards honour those who have pushed boundaries and embraced mobility to positively impact the educational experience at their institution.

For more information about the award visit the Blackboard Catalyst Awards web pages.

Spring clean your digital skills

Staff Development Programme – Developing Digital Excellence

Calling all staff, dust off your keyboard (sorry maybe taking the spring cleaning pun too far..)

Staff from across Learning Services are delivering sessions this month around a number of themes.  There are three sessions from our Digital Practitioner series – maybe you might want to start with the essentials skills in Learning Edge and then follow up with sessions looking at enhancing the online experience for your students using podcasting and also, how you can further support your students in a very positive way by using the tracking tool within Blackboard.

Digital Practitioner

Radio Ga Ga, Host Your Own Podcast

11/04/2013 12.00 – 1.00pm

Learning Edge Essential Skills

18/04/2013 10.00 – 11.30am

Big Brother Knows: Supportive Online Tracking

26/04/2013 12.00 – 1.00pm


Our librarians are here to support your research and information retrieval skills, which includes searching, critical analysis, storing and recording your references and copyright and intellectual property. 

Digital Researcher

Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights for Research

09/04/2013 12.30 – 1.00pm

Advanced RefWorks

11/04/2013 10.00am – 12.00pm

Critical Analysis of Information Sources

15/04/2013 1.00 – 2.00pm

A core component of our Developing Digital Excellence programme is ICT skills.  If you or staff you manage are keen to improve their skills, there is a ECDL induction on the 9th April.  You can come along and meet Elaine Czotter, the ICT staff development trainer who can tell you more about the qualification, our ECDL test centre and the programme she delivers.

Digital Office

ECDL Induction

09/04/2013 10.00 – 11.00am

POWERPOINT 1 – Introduction to On-Screen Presentations

16/04/2012 9.30 – 11.30am

Find out more about the whole programme and future sessions in May and June via the Learning Services wiki

Rachel Bury

Academic Liaison Manager – Quality, Marketing and Communication

Highlights of the Technology Road Show & Mobile Clinic

Last month Learning Services and IT Services combined forces to bring the first ever Technology Road Show & Mobile Clinic to the University.  The event was hosted in the Hub, to which students and staff took the opportunity to see demonstrations of Edge Hill mobile applications, and to speak to us and obtain technical support for mobile devices (phones, tablets and laptops).

Road Show 2013

Application wise, we showcased all of the institutions’ mobile apps and online resources, and when we demonstrated our very own Edge Hill Central we found that many students didn’t know this was available, or what it could do.  The combination of having Blackboard Mobile Learn, Email and library access all in one place was quite a surprise to users – prompting them to download the app on the spot!


In terms of the hardware issues we encountered, practically all the concerns were focussed on Wi-Fi connectivity.  Of course, with digital natives becoming the majority on campus and in the classroom, it’s vital we ensure your internet enabled devices are connected.  So to clarify and resolve this issue, please ensure you connect to eduroam.  Like the users we encountered, you’ll find that if you use EdgeNet it will repeatedly ask you to authenticate on a daily basis and even building to building. The new, and much easier way for continuous access is eduroam.

Eduroam will ensure you won’t have to enter your account details on a daily basis, your connection will roam around campus with you and will be active until you change/reset your network login password.  Make sure you connect your device to eduroam today. 

Mobile Flyer

For more information please take a look at the IT Services Wi-Fi pages.

Overall the Technology Road Show was a success and we’re pretty sure everyone we spoke to took something out of the event. If you missed out on the Road Show and have a question for us, please do get in touch on the following address: [email protected]



Mark Wilcock

Learning Technology Development Officer