Blackboard Learn is the University’s centrally supported Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It is a flexible, web-based system that enables tutors to deliver blended and online learning to students that is accessible at anytime and anywhere via an internet connection. It is a central hub for module materials, resources, learning activities and assessments.
*A project is now underway to move from Blackboard Learn to the improved version: Blackboard Learn Ultra. Find out more on the Ultra Project page.
Blackboard is used to support different teaching methods and modes of delivery across various disciplines at the University, supporting both face-to-face teaching, blended learning and distance provision. It provides a practical way to:
- deliver and organise teaching content and activities
- offer dynamic interaction, communication and collaboration
- provide links to essential resources (websites, reading lists and past exam papers)
- track, monitor and assess student progress.
Find out more about Blackboard and how it is used at the university.
Designing & Structuring your Module
You can structure and design your Blackboard course area to encourage student engagement and optimise your face-to-face teaching.
Each Blackboard course has a default course menu, which is the starting point for organising the course structure and is located on the left of your screen. The course menu is applied to all new courses created in Blackboard to increase consistency across modules. However, you can customise it to reflect your specific module structure. Please see the TEL guide Customising a course menu to find out more.
You can start organising your course materials and activities by editing the course menu and creating content folders.You can then use these to add various types of content, such as Blackboard 'items', assignments, file attachments, multimedia, and links to tools and activities. Please see our step-by-step guides on the Blackboard Help for Staff site.
You can also add and embed multi-media content, including videos from Box of Broadcasts (an archive of TV and radio programmes from over 65 channels).
It is important for your course structure to be as clear and accessible as possible. If you're teaching on more than one module, make sure there is consistency in terms of layout and style where possible.
As the 'module instructor' you're in control of what content is available to students at any time. You can use the 'Hide' function and Adaptive Release to ensure students see content that is relevant to the right students at the right time.
Find out more about how to structure and design your Blackboard module using this Toolkit.
Every Blackboard module has two communication features to keep the students updated on module information and news, and to send them reminders:
- Announcements - a time-sensitive tool that can be used to send students updates and reminders, e.g. about upcoming events.
- Email - which allows you to send an email to individual, all or a group of participants in your Blackboard module, directly from within Blackboard.
Find out more about how to use Blackboard's Announcements and email features.
Assessment and feedback
Online reading lists
As a document frequently accessed by students, an effective, timely and well-annotated reading list can be an immensely valuable pedagogic tool for developing student learning, both for their immediate module and beyond for the duration of their academic career. Adopting online reading lists will connect tutors, students and the Library to foster the achievement of student success.
Engaging with scholarly, tutor-recommended resources through a dynamic online reading lists system enables us to offer our students further opportunities to ‘study and learn effectively in technology-rich environments’ in a diverse and constantly changing information landscape.
The University uses a system called Talis Aspire to make reading lists available to students online.
Administering & Preparing your Module
The processes below detail how to administer your module at different times in the academic year, how to prepare your module for the new year and how to ensure it is rolled over for the following year.
Annual Course Rollover- the creation of Blackboard courses for the next academic year
Preparing your course for the new academic year
What to do with courses from previous years
VLE Content Management, Retention and Disposal - schedule for archiving and deleting Blackboard courses
Blackboard Request Forms- requesting and checking the enrolments for organisations and non-standard Blackboard courses
Tracking student activity
Reporting and statistics inside Blackboard and Turnitin
Statistics tracking on content items
Module Evaluation - details of module evaluation information which should be uploaded to Blackboard
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TEL help & support
If you have a query about anything related to technology enhanced learning, have a suggestion for an addition to this site, or find a broken link, please contact the TEL team via the DTS Self Service Portal or by emailing email@example.com.