All posts by Anu Sharma

Want to gain an early insight into the new upgraded Blackboard Learn?

Next week the LTT will be busily working away testing the latest version of Blackboard Learn. Our test system will be upgraded to Blackboard Learn Service Pack October 2014 so that we can have an early insight into the new features we can expect when we upgrade our live system in July.


We would really like to get the community involved, so if you would like to get access to the test system, even just to have a look around and play with some of the new features, please get in touch with us (

eLearning 2.0 Conference 2015

Hi Folks, we thought you may be interested in the following event being held here at Brunel….

“The Paradigm Shift: Refocusing on the Student”
Brunel University
, UK
July 29, 2015

eLearning 2.0 is a lively international conference exploring technology-enhanced learning and social media technologies. The conference is a collaborative space for educators, students, researchers, entrepreneurs, and policy makers to share their eLearning classroom successes, as well as new developments in their research and workplace. The main theme of this year’s conference is “The Paradigm Shift: Refocusing on the Student”. This educational paradigm shift is fuelled by the unprecedented access that students now have to information coupled with a view of learning as a constructive process consisting of selecting, organising and integrating information.

There is currently a call for contributions- though the deadline is tomorrow – so you will need to hurry!

Further information is available at:

So what can we expect from the upcoming Blackboard Learn upgrade?

With just under 2 months until our next Blackboard Learn upgrade, we thought it might be useful to provide a round-up of some of the key features you might expect to find in the system (as always- this comes with the usual caveat that features will always be released subject to testing!).

We will be upgrading from Service Pack 14 to the October 2014 release. Here are some of the highlights…

Anonymous and Delegated Grading

Instructors can hide student names from submitted assignments for anonymous grading. Instructors can delegate grading to specific users.


Course Messages Notifications

The Course Message Notifications tool gives each course a private and secure system for communication that functions similar to email.


My Grades

The look and feel of My Grades has been updated. Students now view feedback by clicking View Feedback.

Student Preview

Instructors can view their course exactly as a student does by using a student account the system generates for them.


If you are interested in any of the features, or would like to find out more, as usual, please get in touch with the Learning Technology Team (

Bb Learn Template 2015/6: Have your say!

Following a well-rested Bank Holiday weekend, we now turn our attention to next year and we would like to ask you for any suggestions you might have about how to adapt the institutional Bb Learn course template for 2015/6.

As a reminder the Bb Learn course template is the starting point for all Bb Learn Courses. Unless you import your content from your 2014/5 Course into your new Course, you will see this template. We have included a screen shot of the existing template below (click to enlarge)…


We are looking for suggestions that might make the template easier to use, better designed and help enhance the student learning experience. As it is an institutional template – we can’t promise we will use all suggestions- but we will consider them very carefully!

Please submit any suggestions to by 14th May 2015.

Announcing the 2015 Blackboard Learn Upgrade

Hi Folks! It’s that time of the year again- our Blackboard Learn Upgrade is just round the corner.

The upgrade will take place this year between 13th – 17th July 2015, during which time the system will remain inaccessible. As usual, the Learning Technology Team will aim to minimise the downtime as far as possible by working very hard to bring Bb Learn back to life quickly!

The upgrade will help us to take advantage of improvements in the system, overcoming existing bugs and issues, as well as introducing some new features. We will be sure to tell you more about these in another blog post soon!

Key contacts from Schools and Central Services will be reminded in a separate email and students will also be informed.

As always – if you have any questions, please contact

Book your place on this year’s Learning & Teaching Symposium!

Welcome back after the Easter break. Having indulged in Easter eggs and enjoyed the good weather, it’s now time to get back into the swing of things as we turn our attention to this year’s Learning & Teaching Symposium at Brunel.

This year’s event will consist of 3 themes:

  • Technology Enhanced Learning
  • Inclusivity
  • Transitions

The Learning Technology Team and other support services from Brunel’s Educational Excellence Centre (BEEC) will also be showcasing at the event (being held on Monday 20th April 2015).

Booking for the Symposium is now open! To view the full programme and book your place, visit:

We look forward to seeing you there! host Google hangout on 27th January for the digital academic

On Tuesday 27th January at 12pm GMT,, the leading global jobs board for academia, are hosting a free 60-minute live video event on the topic of ‘How to be a Successful Digital Academic to Boost Your Career’.

The event, which is being hosted via a #jobsQ Google+ Hangout, will explore how academics, researchers, PhDs and supporting staff can use digital media, such as blogs, apps and social media, to enhance their research and boost their careers.

Participants in the Hangout will hear from a panel of five experts, including Dr Inger Mewburn, Editor of popular blog ‘The Thesis Whisperer’, on topics such as:

  • How to blend digital tools into your current work and conferences
  • How to manage your time online effectively
  • How to write for an online audience
  • How to use a blog to increase your public engagement
  • How digital networking can enhance your research
  • How to effectively use online networking to find collaborators

Participants will also be able to get involved in the conversation by submitting their digital questions via’s Google+ page in the run up to event – or by asking their questions live on the day.

Find out more about the Hangout and register for free here.

“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.


4th to 19th December 2014.

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

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!

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…!!

Fuel for our gruelling merged Course session