One challenge to win over the Nursing team, was to find a way to support their inter-disciplinary “Working Together” modules that bring together students from different specialisms, such as Radiography and Midwifery, whilst maintaining the consistency of the module approach. This was achieved by creating a “parent” site and linking “child” field-specific module sites to it. The assessment element could have proven difficult, however the option to “mark by groups” on Turnitin provided an ideal solution.
This successful project with Nursing, ongoing work with other programmes and a benchmarking exercise resulted in the development of a set of Blackboard protocols which were launched in June 2016. These set out baseline expectations for module delivery on Blackboard, alongside additional advice for those who wanted to enhance their site further.
Many academics who had previously been delivering teaching via an unwieldy, high-risk site have already started to embrace the opportunities now available to them; whilst the protocols have also helped define expectations for all staff.
A benchmarking exercise during semester 1 of 2016/17, found that 83% of sites surveyed were using individual module sites (up from 49% in 2015), as this was just a few months after the protocols had been announced, it was very encouraging.
The protocols require each programme to have their own “programme” site, which contains key content, such as External Examiner reports. Learning technologists have been working with programme teams to enhance the value of these sites to students, for example, by embedding social media feeds and LTi links to PebblePad.
Supported by examples and feedback from academic staff across the institution, this presentation reflects on the work to-date which has helped drive the culture-shift within the Nursing course team’s VLE delivery, and how this work has helped influence practice across the university, alongside next-steps to continue to further innovate course delivery, such as flipping the classroom (Thai, De Wever, & Valcke,2017), helping support an engaging and consistent student-experience within the university’s virtual learning space.
ALT (2015) ALT Online Winter Conference. Available at: https://altc.alt.ac.uk/online2015/sessions/making-a-poorly-site-better-transforming-our-nursing-vle-delivery/
Swan, K. (2001). Virtual interaction: Design factors affecting student satisfaction and perceived learning in asynchronous online courses. Distance Education, 22(2), 306-331.
Thai, De Wever, & Valcke. (2017). The impact of a flipped classroom design on learning performance in higher education: Looking for the best “blend” of lectures and guiding questions with feedback. Computers & Education, 107, 113-126.