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Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment


Electronic communication: e-mail, video conferencing, message boards etc. ... Asynchronous message board. Mechanical Engineering. Demonstration. Mechanical Engineering ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment

Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment
  • http//

  • Objectives
  • To introduce the Blackboard VLE
  • To suggest how it might be used in our courses
  • To present some thoughts on the application of IT
    in teaching and learning
  • Topics
  • CSCW and Virtual Learning Environments
  • Blackboard
  • Current and possible future applications of
  • Thoughts on IT in teaching

CSCW and Virtual Learning Environments
  • Computer-Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW)
  • Electronic communication e-mail, video
    conferencing, message boards etc.
  • Shared workspace systems, including screen
    sharing, intelligent whiteboards etc.
  • Group activity support systems, including
    workflow systems, co-authoring tools, decision
    support tools etc.
  • Shared information systems

Synchronous CSCW
  • Same/real time communication
  • Conferencing
  • Video
  • Audio
  • White board
  • Shared applications
  • Multicast seminars
  • Chat rooms

Asynchronous CSCW
  • Email
  • Message boards
  • Bulletin boards
  • Workflow
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • And others

Virtual Learning Environments
  • VLEs - learners and tutors participate in
    online interactions of various kinds (JISC
    Managed Learning Environment Steering Group)
  • Integrated set of Internet tools, enabling easy
    upload of materials and offering a consistent
    look and feel that can be customised by the user
    (Economics LTSN)
  • WebCT and Blackboard are typical commercial
  • 3rd National Virtual Learning Environment
    Conference, July http//

VLE Facilities
  • Communication between tutors and students e.g.
    e-mail, discussion board and virtual chat
  • Self-assessment and summative assessment e.g.
    multiple-choice assessment with automated marking
    and immediate feedback.
  • Delivery of learning resources and materials
    e.g. lecture notes and supporting materials,
    images/video clips, Web links, online discussion
  • Shared work group areas allows designated
    groups of students to upload and share files as
    well as communicate with each other.

VLE Facilities (cont)
  • Management and tracking facilities e.g.
    username and password control, analysis of VLE
  • Student tools e.g. individual student web
    pages, drop boxes for the upload of coursework,
    electronic diaries and calendars.
  • Consistent and customisable look and feel a
    standard user interface, customisable for
    different courses
  • Standard navigation structure
  • http//

  • Washington DC based, founded 1997
  • the leading e-Education software company
  • Used at 35 HEIs in UK including Bath, Bristol,
    Durham, Newcastle, Nottingham, Southampton . .
  • Supported in Bath by the e-Learning
    Centre http//
  • Largest users are School of Management and HUSS

Usage of Blackboard at Bath
  • Faculty of Engineering and Design use
  • Design project support
  • General programme support
  • MSc and Centre support (e.g PTMC)
  • Management courses
  • Research Methods for Engineering
  • Further Mathematical Techniques Engineering
  • Global Product Development
  • Introduction to C
  • Surveying 1

Blackboard Course Screen
Use of Blackboard
Use of Blackboard
Applications in the Department
Departmental Applications
  • Course support
  • Online notes, examples and answers etc.
  • Timed release of material, confidentiality
  • Self-assessment questions (will try to use for
    1st year Manufacturing teaching in 2003-4)
  • Project support
  • Group discussion forums
  • File sharing areas
  • email and chat rooms (including links to external

Departmental Applications
  • Digital submission of work
  • Time stamping
  • Easy feedback of comments
  • Reduced copy costs
  • Sharing of student work
  • Laboratory support
  • Lab handouts
  • Sample data
  • Guidelines to report writing

Using Word for Feedback
What is the Future Role of ICT?
The Role of ICT
  • ICT may be the way for the productivity issue in
    education to be addressed
  • For improvement to be realised, a significant
    change in modus operandi is required, otherwise
    the effects of ICT may be negative

How Can Productivity be Improved?
  • What productivity improvement mechanisms can be
    applied in education?
  • Mechanisms in industry and commerce include
  • investment in equipment to reduce labour costs
  • modification to the product to simplify its
  • modification to the process of production
  • economies of scale
  • Can these improve productivity in education?

Investment in Equipment?
  • The possibility for productivity improvement
    through investment in equipment has been limited
  • e.g. marks processing
  • word processing of papers and presentations
  • Equipment can have limited effect without changes
    in unit size - e.g. use of AV aids.
  • Indeed, some new equipment may require more not
    less staff effort
  • chalk and talk vs. use of pre-prepared AV

Product Modification?
  • Product modification is a standard technique in
    industry - e.g. Design for assembly. Can it be
    applied in education?
  • Numbers of courses have been reduced, lecture
    programmes combined, laboratory write-ups
    eliminated etc. but possibility of further
    changes is limited
  • Many changes have been resisted to limit the
    negative effect on students

Process Changes?
  • Decrease labour costs by process changes?
  • E.g. carrying out assembly overseas eliminating
  • Again difficult in academia
  • Process changes often have a negative effect on
    productivity e.g. inspection, quality
  • Other changes have had an impact on quality e.g.
    reducing the numbers of markers for project work,
    replacing academics by postgraduate assistants or
    increasing studentstaff ratios in laboratory and
    project classes

Economies of Scale?
  • What about economies of scale? E.g. globalisation
    of production, amalgamations between firms
  • Again difficult in academia, because of the
    independent status of academic institutions.
  • Instead, we have
  • a proliferation of separately developed courses
    and curricula, of university administrations, of
    computing services and so on, and
  • extra numbers have meant increased workloads,
    pressure on real wages and on participation in
    such activities as professional societies

What are the Implications of ICT?
  • ICT may enable us to achieve economies of scale,
    but may only be helpful if we change our
  • Small academic units may find it prohibitively
    expensive to set up the appropriate facilities
  • Computer-based assessment and teaching support
    must be supported by professional support teams
  • Piecemeal effort by small groups will not work
    application of ICT will require concentration on
    small ranges of software, and on a more common
    curriculum to justify economies of scale

Links with Industry
  • Academics are paid to be experts in their fields,
    yet society makes poor use of their expertise
  • New technologies may allow academic expertise to
    reach a larger audience through webcast video
  • The same technologies may facilitate a greater
    involvement in university work by the wider
    community for an engineer to join in a student
    group discussion by video conferencing would be
    much less disruptive than having to travel to the

A Future Pattern in Tertiary Education
  • Routine teaching will be carried out with the
    support of electronically delivered teaching
  • Examination of some aspects of work will also be
    done electronically
  • Teaching material will be created by specialist
    units to achieve economies of scale
  • In academic institutions, personalised insight
    type lectures and direct pupil-teacher tutorial
    contact will support this material
  • Mailbases and video telephony will provide tutor
    and peer group support to students

How will HEIs Respond?
  • Educational institutions will concentrate on
    their specialist courses (later years of
    undergraduate courses and in post-graduate taught
  • They will offer these to a wider audience through
    video links and through well-prepared Web content
  • Educational institutions will also concentrate on
    the hands-on design, laboratory and project
    elements of their courses
  • Group and individual project, design and
    laboratory work will be the stimulating
    conventional experience for many students

Reactions from Students
  • Some reactions from students
  • Social aspects of the university experience are
    very important probably the most important for
  • A structured programme, pressures of timetable
    and deadlines are important to academic progress
  • The community of students working together allows
    valuable sharing of experience
  • On-line teaching material would however allow
    students to proceed at their own pace
  • There are many different lecturing styles, and
    different subjects require different approaches
  • Personal touch and feedback are important

Reactions from Students and Staff
  • And some reactions from academic staff
  • Lectures are not that important - it is the
    pupil-teacher contact that is vital
  • Contact with physical artefacts, laboratory
    activities, and project and group work are
    important elements of high quality engineering