Latest Event Updates
As we have been reporting, there are a number of changes happening to Blackboard over the summer.
One of these changes is a new, responsive theme. Responsive themes are optimised to work on different devices, scaling-down to accommodate smaller screen sizes. Access to Blackboard via portable devices, such as smartphones, is growing rapidly, and the new theme helps support this growth, whilst providing an improved experience for all users.
To accommodate the responsive design, Blackboard no longer supports individual “Course Themes” (some examples below). Any courses that have a Course Theme applied will find that it has been reverted to the system-default design following the responsive theme application. This only applies to course design, course content is not affected.
You will still be able to personalise your course using a banner on the entry page and colour on the menu. However, consider accessibility issues, and make sure there is sufficient contrast between the text and background colours.
NEW! A new webinar is available on the Inclusive Learning and Teaching PebblePad site.
At only 9 minutes long this webinar is an easily digestible source of information and guidance on how to further develop your practice in this area. It is a response to the changes to the Disabled Student’s Allowance which places the responsibility for meeting students’ learning needs on HEIs. It contains an opportunity for reflection on your and your department’s current practice and links to a range of sources to use in your teaching. Click the image below to go straight to the page.
On Weds 25th April, we enjoyed a visit from our PebblePad representatives: Debbie Holmes, Sarah Copeland and Sarah Chesney.
We had asked them specifically to come and talk to our guests about how PebblePad can be used to deliver Apprenticeship requirements but also to generally speak about ways in which this system could be used to get the best out of students, no matter what they are studying.
With degree apprenticeships, there are usually several parties involved in the process – the student, the university tutor, workplace mentors/coaches, PLUS external verifiers (required by whichever Apprentice body is overseeing the delivery).
Debbie spoke about the work currently underway at Northumbria University where they are using PebblePad to deliver the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA).
PebblePad is used as a Personal Learning Space to capture records and reflections along the students’ learning journey, incorporating heavy use of PebblePocket (the mobile app). In the early days, this builds up users’ confidence in the system and encourages them to become more creative right from the start of their studies.
PebblePad is also used more formally for formative and summative work. Bespoke electronic templates have been built to suit the particular requirements of the CDMA apprenticeship at Northumbria – and in such a way as to get out the information the verifiers need. (Reporting is a way to quickly collate students’ responses to certain questions posed in electronic templates and is a brilliant (underused) feature of the system offering pie charts and nice visual touches)
PebblePad is a useful way to evidence any professional standards which need to be met, and for evidencing the number of hours spent on particular activities – both features proving very useful for apprentices.
I have to say we had a really interesting debate afterwards and the enthusiasm in the room was wonderful – thank you to all who attended. Many conversations were had; demonstrations of live work currently underway at UoC (particularly Ofsted reporting and Paramedic developments) were carried out. There were promises to move forward with the system for some, and just general food for thought for others. If anyone would like to explore the use of bespoke electronic templates to sit within PebblePocket, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have offered UoC to be part of an Apprenticeship Special Interest Group (SIG) which is looking to meet in the North West so I will post any future dates of meetings as soon as I know them. I have also offered UoC as a possible venue.
- Health Symposium June 25th, Birmingham – a day sharing stories of PebblePad and healthcare programmes https://www.pebblepad.co.uk/events/default.aspx?app=healthcare25062018
- Minibash June 26th, Birmingham – a day of all things PebblePad! https://www.pebblepad.co.uk/events/default.aspx?app=minibash26062018
£100 if you book both events so a great deal for CPD
Here is a link to the recording from the session (NB questions/demonstrations at the end have been removed). Click the image to view the video:
And finally, here is a link to the Implementation Toolkit which Debbie mentions in her presentation: https://v3.pebblepad.co.uk/spa/#/public/Gfd459chr3yR8kstkx5j9jtRHc for anyone designing curriculum and wish to incorporate PebblePad into their students’ learning.
The process for creating, claiming and getting started with your Blackboard sites will change for 2018/9 academic year. Our January and March iLead posts will provide further information on the project, however, if these articles don’t cover your question please contact email@example.com.
In summary, the success of the automated process relies on the data in SITS, and a Blackboard site will be created using MAV data in the normal way but now also relies on:
- a MAV ‘flagged’ as needing a Blackboard site and
- the ‘Lead Tutor’. This individual will automatically be added as an Instructor to the site which will subsequently appear in a “Pending” section of their Blackboard My Courses list.
In view of this, we are asking you to review and update a spreadsheet to ensure your Blackboard site will be created and available to you. We understand that future changes to the lead tutors are inevitable and are working on a solution to manage this.
The spreadsheet shows all the MAV’s set up for 2018/9 within each subject group and only the columns highlighted in yellow need to be completed. We request that you check:
- the module title, subject group and department. These are taken from the Module Record (MOD), if this data is incorrect please contact firstname.lastname@example.org providing the correct details.
- ‘Is the Blackboard Site Needed?’ has been defaulted to YES, please change to NO if you do not need a Blackboard site.
- ‘Tutor Name’. This has been pre-populated by data currently on SITS, please amend and complete as necessary. Changes to the spreadsheet are tracked by colour changing cells.
- To complete the data collection please add in your initials in the first column to indicate the MAV has been checked.
Access to the Spreadsheet
On Campus is via the ‘Z’ Drive and can be found using this file path: Z:\SAAS – Shared Documents\Data Collection\SDMU\Blackboard Tutor Collection
Off Campus you will need to use the ‘Off campus Z drive access or the Remote Desktop both of which can be found under Systems on the StaffHub:
Can’t find your modules? The individual spreadsheets are built using the Subject Group data on the MAV, if this is incorrect then you are likely to find your modules on one of the other spreadsheets within your department folder.
If you notice the data isn’t quite right ie. the Period isn’t right or the module is on the wrong spreadsheet please make a note in the Comments column for correction at the end of this process.
Course information has been provided for information only and is not a definitive list. The information was sourced from 2017/8 MAVs that have students attached. Variants have not been split-out; there will be one title covering part time/full time, placement/sandwich etc.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this process, please note the spreadsheet is available from now until 18th May.
To find out more on any of the above please contact either the central email@example.com email or directly to your supporting learning technologist.
Partners in Practice: Nurses Working Together Through Change.
Royal College of Nursing Education Forum, National Conference & Exhibition.
20 – 21 March 2018
Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Lisa Smith, Senior Lecturer in Emergency and Urgent Care and Sarah Ruston, Senior Learning Technologist, Academic Quality and Standards.
Using Blogs for structured learning activities in Undergraduate and Postgraduate nursing education.
Lisa had the brilliant (but scary) idea of presenting our work on blogs, at this national conference a few months ago, so we duly submitted our proposal at the allotted time. We were pleased to hear that we had been accepted early in the New Year. We would be supporting each other and presenting as a duo, and it would be a nice trip where we would find out what others are doing in the nursing sector. Unfortunately, on the day (well several before it) Lisa succumbed to the flu and could not stand, let alone travel for 3 hours and present at a conference. Therefore, there was nothing for it but for Sarah to present the paper on her own.
The keynote speech was very interesting, especially when the Regional Director of the RCN, Glenn Turp, gave a recent overview of the RCN and mentioned the University of Cumbria in a very positive light stating ‘we love the University of Cumbria’ as I think many of our students go on to be members of the RCN.
So, onto my presentation, thankfully straight after the opening keynote. There I am with no nursing qualifications (so not a lot in common with the other 270 delegates) presenting to a room of 40+ people as a first-time presenter at a conference, with a very shaky internet connection (my presentation relied totally on the internet!).
I talked about the work Lisa has done to move away from the somewhat chaotic discussion boards within Blackboard, and onto using the Blackboard blog feature. Blogs have really benefited her management of the large cohorts she is dealing with, especially as it is totally online delivery. Once I got started, I really enjoyed presenting the session and had lots of interesting questions and debate afterwards so the presentation had certainly garnered quite a bit of interest.
Next time Lisa suggests a joint conference presentation, I might think twice………!
The project streams documented in our iLead Blackboard Development post are progressing well and to plan. The following information is still very much in draft form, but should give a flavour of how it might look. Please note that the images below are mock-up screenshots and are subject to change.
The process for creating, claiming and getting started with your Blackboard sites will change for 2018/9 academic year. The introduction of enhanced automation will create a much faster process, with you in control.
For a new Blackboard site to be created the lead tutor needs to be added to the associated module (MAV) on SITS. A data collection exercise, managed by Data Management, will take place between 16th April and 18th May when you will be asked if a Blackboard site is required for a MAV, and to identify the Module Lead for each module delivery. This data will be imported into SITS and, via an automated process on a yet to be specified date, a Blackboard site is created and will appear in a “Pending” section of the identified individual’s Blackboard courses list. We are also working on a solution to manage future changes to this data.
Once your site is on Blackboard, you will be able to run a set-up programme that will walk you through the initial steps of template application and copying existing content from a previous iteration of the module.
We look forward to working with you and your team to create a Blackboard template for your programme, which will help ensure consistency between modules, and adherence to the Blackboard Protocols. Please contact AQD to find out more.
AQD ran a recent webinar session “preparing and enhancing your Blackboard site” which considered the use of the Blackboard Protocols when planning your course. The session also included a quick exemplar site walkthrough
Many of the protocol areas are straightforward to apply, and can have a positive impact on the site. AQD have put together a few “quick wins” for checking and applying some of these areas.
AQD can help support teams with their use of learning technology to enable and support learning. Please contact AQD to discuss.
|Module-Site Protocol Area||“Quick Win”|
|There is an easily located introduction to the course and/or Blackboard site||Add the module aims as an item within the Module Information section of the site. This text can be expanded to include other relevant information regarding the structure and running of the module.|
|Staff contact information is available in its own area||Ensure that up-to-date contact information is available. Include contact details for relevant support services.|
|Announcements are being used effectively||Add announcements to alert/remind students of new topics within the course.|
|There is a link to the programme site on the menu||Add a link to the programme site on your module’s menu – ensuring that the programme site is active and up-to-date.|
|There is an Assessment menu item, with information and submission points||Add assessment criteria and learning outcomes to the assessment area.|
|Learning Outcomes are being displayed around the site (outside of the module guide)||Copy the learning outcomes from the module handbook and paste them as an item in the Module Information area, and also add them to other relevant sections, such as the assessment area.|
|The module handbook is available||Ensure that the current module handbook is within the Module Information area of the site. The document needs to be in a format that students can easily open and access, such as PDF.|
|There is a working reading-list link||Add the relevant reading list link to your site’s menu. Please contact Information Services Library staff if you need help with creating/managing your reading list|
|An appropriate use of .pdf||Check the files that are located on the site; many file types (such as Word and PowerPoint) can easily be converted to PDF which can then be uploaded onto the site.|
For the latest guidance for adding library resources to Blackboard, please see the “making sure that you comply with copyright for library resources and reading and resource lists” section of this page
Action Research using problem-based learning to increase participation in discussion forums on Blackboard
Here is the latest PIP presentation held on Tuesday 13th March 2018.
The session generated discussion on how staff could make discussions boards more appealing to use in the future. Title :Action Research using problem-based learning to increase participation in discussion forums on Blackboard. Led by Tania Hopley HPSS.
The PowerPoint presentation can be viewed by clicking on the image above, or here.
The Education faculty had been using large Blackboard programme sites which presented a number of issues for students, and staff.
On a large programme site with multiple cohorts enrolled, any announcement sent out would be received by all students and therefore irrelevant to many and when marking students work, the numerous Turnitin submissions would make it hard for staff and externals to find and review.
By using a module site for teaching, communication is much more targeted, reading lists can be deployed and the management by staff is much more efficient. The module can also be tailored by the individual tutors in terms of themes, banners layout etc.
Edina Kulenovic from our London campus recently highlighted some of the positives the staff have found with their move to module sites.
We have found that using Blackboard Module sites is easier and more time efficient than the old, large Programme site. One of the big advantages is that both the lecturers and students are automatically enrolled into all new sites.
In addition, accessing the individual sites is quicker.
The option of changing the module specific sites by changing the colour schemes or banners and personalising the site is welcome too.
The announcements were often sent to all users, but now they are sent to specific groups of students or a specific site. Module leaders and lecturers now know where to post resources and announcements.
Marking has become easier, as both the lecturers and External Examiners found it difficult to find work to mark in the old site.
The new Blackboard app is most welcome too, for quick access and information.
Lecturers had to get used to having a long list of sites on their Blackboard My Institution page.
A previous Case Study regarding the move from Programme to Module sites, was also published by Emma Moore, BSc (Hons) Nursing Delivery here.
The Bristol Online Surveys (BOS) service migrated to Jisc in October 2017.
Jisc has recently announced that the service name, and site branding, will shortly start to change from “BOS” to “online surveys”, with all changes being completed by the summer (2018).
See their website for further details.