Student Expectations of the VLE Blackboard Learn


A recent end-of-year survey asked students what areas of Brunel’s virtual learning environment they found most useful, with the aim to identify, promote and guide staff using Blackboard Learn with ‘good practice’ examples.

The survey appeared to students on the front page of Blackboard during a 2 week period in April 2014, and received 450 responses.

This Learning Technology Team initiative discovered the following areas of good practice that students are finding useful in support of their studies.

  • 25% of votes related to finding things easily
  • 20% of votes were related to clear guidance and ease to use resources
  • 18% of votes related to having a range of content including extra resources (e.g. past papers) and extra reading
  • 12% of votes related to having content that was made available in a timely and up to date manner (e.g. resources that relate to weekly themes of study were uploaded

The remaining 25% of votes related to specific types of content that was well received by students, such as:

  • Having a range of multi-media content such as audio, video and lecture capture resources
  • regular communication from tutors via Blackboard announcements and email tools
  • online discussion boards
  • self-tests and quizzes
  • online assignment submission
  • online assignment grading and feedback

One of the students surveyed said:

“I really liked the use of Blackboard for this course. Lecture notes were uploaded every week. They were absolutely clear and well prepared. There were even some extra notes every now and then. For the communications part, we submitted our assignments online which is so much better than handing in pieces of paper and is more environmentally friendly also. Handing in assignments online was easy and just intuitive. The way we received our grades as well was a lot nicer. The module leader delivered the grades using the Blackboard interface (the tab in the menu that was designed for grades). That way, you could only see your grade and couldn’t see others which is great for privacy.”

The Learning Technology Team then put together the best examples of each of these areas of good practice to showcase and demonstrate real-life uses of the technology, along with a ‘how do I do it?’ poster display. This poster presentation showcased the good practice at the Learning and Teaching Symposium 1st May 2014 as part of the Technologies Zone.

The full presentation including all 10 areas of good practice is now located here. You may find it useful to refer to when considering how to improve you Blackboard module site for students for the upcoming academic year.

The LTT are on hand to support your VLE requirements so if you have any new ideas, or if you want clearer guidance on how to implement some of these ones, please do not hesitate to contact the Learning Technology Team [part of the new Brunel Educational Excellence Centre] on

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