“On the first day of Christmas, I downloaded an app…”

Regents University are very helpfully launching an ‘open to all’ course which runs through some apps that you might find beneficial for your teaching and students’ learning. If you are interested, please do sign up. Details are below…

Overwhelmed by the range of apps for teaching and learning to be found online? This year, the helpful elves of Regent’s University London are coming to your rescue, with 12 Apps of Christmas!

12 Apps of Christmas is a fun, free, and simple online course  and tailored to the needs of staff here at RUL but is open to all.

Running every weekday from Thursday 4th to Friday 19th December, 12 Apps of Christmas is like an advent calendar of learning!

Each day we will present a different educational app, explain how it can benefit you, and show you how to download it. There will be a short and fun task (no more than ten minutes) to get you using each app, with a chance to learn about it in more depth in your own time and at your own pace.

#RUL12AoC.

4th to 19th December 2014.

Harness the reindeer, launch the sleigh, and sign up here:

https://openeducation.blackboard.com/mooc-catalog/courseDetails/view?course_id=_98_1

Updated Blackboard Learn Tools card for 2014-15

Have you ever thought that it would be really handy to have all the Blackboard Learn tools listed in a convenient one-page guide? Well, you’re in luck because that’s exactly what we’ve done! We’ve split tools into five categories – Content, Assessment, Collaboration, Information and Management – so it should be easier to see what tools you can use for which purpose. There are 53 tools in all so we’ve pretty much got everything including the kitchen sink! Tools range from the old reliable Content Folder to the new kid on the block Panopto video links.

You can find the guide here: Blackboard Learn Tools card 2014-15

ToolsScreenshotA small taster of the tools card!

Feel free to take a look and if you would like any further information on how any of the tools on the card work, please contact your liaison (details below).

Enjoy!

College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences – Natalie Parnis

College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences – Louise Faux

College of Health and Life Sciences – Alastair Gemmill

Central Services – Alex Osmond

User Guides and Tracking Stats

Ever wondered if anyone clicks on your resources?

Wonder no more!

In Blackboard you can turn on Enable Tracking to show you how many people have clicked on a resource.

To do this you must go to Control Panel > Content Collection. Select the options menu for the file you want to track and click Edit Settings.

Blog post image 1

The ‘360 View’ screen then displays a list of users and times of access.

The Learning Technology Team looked to find how many staff accessed the PDF help guides on the Help for Staff tab in Blackboard since tracking was enabled over the summer.

In total, all guides received over 1200 hits.

The top 10 guides are shown in the table below.

Graph

The most popular guides during the period August-October were unsurprisingly ‘Getting Ready for 2014-15’, ‘Course Copy’ and ‘Creating Assignments’, which made up 1000 (around 85%) of those hits. It is likely these guides received significantly more hits was because they available from inside every course (via the course template).

Staff looking for other tool guides will now find them in the ‘new look’ Help for Staff tab within Blackboard.

Gearing up with a ‘Headstart’

This week we have been busy preparing for the start of yet another year. Amongst various activities one of the initiatives we have participated in is ‘Headstart Week’- an opportunity for new Brunel students to literally get a ‘head start’ on University life (organised by the ASK team).

Students from various Colleges have been brought onto campus a week ahead of the start of term to get to grips with various aspects of University life, including academic writing, using Library resources, managing finances and, of course, getting to grips with Blackboard Learn!

A series of sessions were delivered by the LTT explaining how to use some of the features within Blackboard Learn, getting hold of the mobile app and seeking support more generally.

The Bb Learn Getting Started guide provides a great summary of the essential information for students.

Week 0…. here we come!

Ready, Set, Go! New Courses Now Available

With the new academic year fast approaching, the next few weeks will see students eagerly logging in to Blackboard Learn to find out more about their new modules.

get set go

Staff will need log in to Blackboard to prepare for the influx of students by uploading content into their new course sites or copying content over from last year. Here is a handy guide if you are not sure how to do this . Don’t forget to check out the ‘Help for Staff’ tab on Blackboard for more guides like this.

Last year, students nominated certain courses for good, effective practice. One of the things many of these courses did was to clearly introduce topics and resources. They were also structured in a clear, accessible way; your course menu, on the left-hand side of the screen, is a good place to highlight your structure.

Staff looking to get to grips with Blackboard should sign up for staff development training or if you have an idea you would like to discuss with your new College-based LTT liaison, please email ltt@brunel.ac.uk with details of what you want to do.

 

If you do not yet have access to a particular module, particularly if it has a new module code or if your network account has changed during TxP, please email the Learning Technology Team with your access request.

Merged Course Monday

Well it’s Monday folks and hope you all had a great weekend!

The LTT have started the week with our annual exercise of merging courses in Blackboard Learn: “Merged Course Monday” (the title could catch on!!). Fuelled by treats and plenty of caffeine, we are currently busy merging those Blackboard Learn Courses that Departments have informed us about.

Students will get access to 2014/5 Courses in Blackboard on 3rd September, so we want to get these merged Courses sorted out ahead of ‘go live’!

Right…best get back to merging…!!

treats
Fuel for our gruelling merged Course session

Auditor Accounts: Going, going…gone!

As you know – we at LTT like to change things up a bit (all positive changes, of course!).

One thing that we have been reviewing is the use of auditor accounts in Blackboard Learn. What are these? – you might ask! Auditor accounts are Blackboard Learn accounts that allow read-only access to all Courses (modules) within (former) academic Schools.

Whilst this may sound handy – we have reviewed the use of these accounts and it seems like they haven’t been used quite as much as we would have liked. This may be, in part, as individuals have been taking advantage of the Bb Learn Course Catalogue which already allows all staff and students read-only access to all modules.

So – as you can see- there is hardly any need for these accounts any longer and we will soon be decommissioning them.

However, we recognise that there may be some staff out there that require editing access to many modules, which is why we have been working on another project to allow delegated administrative access to Bb Learn (more about that later!)

As usual- please let us know if you have any questions about this.

Build your 2014-15 modules now!

We’re pleased to let you know that the majority of Blackboard Courses (that is, modules) that’ll run in 2014/15 are now available in the VLE. Similarly, most members of staff will have access to these modules from today; they’ll show up with the rest of your enrolments in the ‘My Blackboard’ widget.

As such, many of you will be able to get started on building your Courses. Alternatively, we realise many of you will want to copy last year’s content – or portions of it – into the  new module area.

There is an exception to the above: we are still handling Merged Courses. We have emailed key contacts across campus to verify which Courses are to be merged this year – the sooner we receive this information, the sooner we can create the Courses, and group them as requested.

If, then, you don’t see an up-to-date list when you log into Blackboard, it’s likely because some of your content consists of some Merged Courses. Feel free to enquire about this, but we are aiming to have the work completed by the end of August.

If you need reminding about how to copy existing content into a new module, take a look at our guide to this procedure:

https://blackboard.brunel.ac.uk/bbcswebdav/xid-1345992_1 

Questions as always to ltt@brunel.ac.uk.

To Merge or not to Merge? That is the question!

As part of our annual processes for Blackboard Learn our TEL Advisers are in touch with Colleges and Departments to establish which Merged Courses are required for 2014/5 in Blackboard Learn.

If you are not familiar with the concept- here is a quick overview…

cleverclogs

If you know of any Courses that need to be merged – please let us know via ltt@brunel.ac.uk

We aim to gather this information from Colleges/ Departments by 22nd August (but preferably earlier!)

New Look University … New Look LTT!

Following all the changes to the University post-TXP, the LTT are now pleased to announce that we have a new structure in place that will be able to better support Colleges and Departments going forward.

You will already be aware from an earlier post that we are part of Brunel’s Educational Excellence Centre (BEEC).

The great news is that we are now officially a bigger team, and below is a brief overview of our ‘new look’…

LTT Structure

The new TEL Adviser roles (held by Louise, Natalie and Alastair) will enable our team to build closer relationships with each of the Colleges and their respective departments. This means that we can better understand your needs and we can become more proactive in supporting you with Technology Enhanced Learning initiatives… not to mention that you will now have a dedicated contact in the LTT!

We are also thrilled to have a dedicated TEL Developer (Alex) who will provide a key technical support function in the team, taking forward technical projects and also being the support contact for Central Departments.

Over the coming weeks the TEL Advisers will be in touch to discuss ways in which we can work with each of the Colleges and, most importantly, to introduce themselves to you!