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Educational Design and Engagement

Educational Design and Engagement

Enriching the student learning experience & supporting development of on campus and online courses.

Scot-Bug: Blackboard’s Roadmap, Enterprise Survey Tool, and MOOCs

The Scot-Bug meeting was held at the University of Stirling on June 20th, 2014.

Blackboard Roadmap

Dominic Gore, the Blackboard Representative, outlined the latest upgrade to Learn 9.1. Details are available from the upgrade area at  The new student preview mode is a key feature of the latest upgrade.

Dominic then outlined Blackboard’s thematic priorities for the coming months, which are:

  • to simplify products
  • enhance mobile interactions
  • become more learner centered
  • address the local needs of their international market
  • enhancements in accessibility
  • assignment workflows
  • learner centered education
  •  mobile  integration
  • remediation and retention
  • responsive design
  • collaboration

All of these can be expected in forthcoming releases.

Looking further ahead, Blackboard is currently working on:

  • simplified content creation
  • new course organiser view
  • course links
  • shared rubrics across courses
  • new grade centre
  • removing barriers to web conferencing
  •  high fidelity video
  •  the ability to follow a student’s progress through a learning path

Dominic’s presentation is available from this link

Enterprise Survey Tool: Two case studies

Simon Booth, who works at the University of Stirling, outlined the institution’s experience with using the Enterprise Survey tool for a staff and student satisfaction survey. Phil Richards from North East Scotland College , described his colleges’ experiences with the tool when used to conduct various staff pilot evaluations and student satisfaction surveys.

The Enterprise Survey tool was bought in as an optional enhancement to Learn because the basic survey tool was felt to be inadequate. The fact that the tool sends an individual link to respondents was deemed to be a positive feature by both institutions. This had the advantage of being able to track respondents who had completed the surveys, thereby making it easy to target follow-up communications. NE Scotland College found that the tool also works well with mobile devices. Overall both institutions found using the Enterprise Survey Tool to be a positive experience. However, one note of caution was that there were numerous bugs and other issues to contend with in the software.

The presentation on the Enterprise Survey tool is available here.

MOOCs: Two case studies

The final presentations covered two MOOC case studies.

The first case study, titled “Emphasising the Massive in MOOCs” was given by Christine Sinclair, from the University of Edinburgh. The presentation explored some of the implications of potentially high numbers of students enrolled in MOOCs.  Christina used UoE “eLearning and Digital Cultures” offered via Coursera as its case study.

High numbers of enrolled students (often in the thousands) and it being taught online, present challenges for many aspects of course design and delivery.  Some facets which need to be rethought to counterbalance the challenges of a massive operation are: How lectures are delivered, how digital artefacts are used, how assessment is done and how staff are presented to students online.

Christine’s presentation is available here.

The second case study was presented by Kathleen Savage of the University of Strathclyde.  Kathleen spoke of Strathclyde’s experience with their Forensic Science MOOC. Similar to the first case study, this MOOC attracted a high number of students. A large part of their success was their approach to teaching.  They presented their course content as a digital story which was using forensic science to solve crimes.

Parts of the story were dramatised and presented as a video, filmed on external locations, and with professional actors.  The technical standard of the video production was high, as was the production budget. The success of the course was measured in the high level of student retention until the end of the course.  This lead to media exposure and publicity for the University of Strathclyde.




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