Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference 2017

A few weeks ago myself and Danny attended Blackboard Learning and Teaching conference in Milan. The conference took place at Università Bocconi who are a relatively new customer to Blackboard.

Below is a summary of some of the sessions I attended over the 3 days:

The honest Journey to full e-submission and feedback using Blackboard
Rob Howe - The University of Northampton
Rob talked about some of the learning and teaching systems used at Northampton before going through the story of implementing widespread online assessment. At Northampton all staff undergo training & retraining around online assessment and a number of trials have been undertaken around audio and video feedback. By 2012 a widespread consistent process was in place at the university. Rob then discussed some of the benefits and challenges of the initiative. He also gave some tips around other institutions who are wanting to implement widespread online assessment and talked about how consistency of sites really helped towards the success. Northampton are now 2% above the sector average for assessment and feedback satisfaction in the NSS.
The slides from Rob’s session can be found here.

EMA - Herding cats and Drinking Horses
Mark Gamble - University of Bedfordshire
Mark explored Bedfordshire’s move from Turnitin to the use of Blackboard’s assessment and feedback tool. Whilst the tool has been successful for them be did outline some drawbacks to the tool such as the delegated marking tool which allows random groups to be setup, but can leave students out, if there is more students than groups made.
He also talked about the inflexibility of not been able to add in feedback without a mark in the Blackboard assessment tool for more formative activities.
The move overall worked for them and they still used Turnitin in some areas but this was done as an instructor process uploaded to Turnitin in bulk, but only to produce the originality reports for staff.
No! Don’t put that there! (Improving the student Experience)
Tim Smale - Keele University - United Kingdom
Tim talked about how Keele have implemented a school template to their Blackboard courses and how staff need to adhere to certain elements of the templates, particularly around assessment. The student response has been positive where the template has been applied correctly. He then explained how javascript code can be used to change the appearance of Blackboard and add/remove certain options to support the templates.
Tim’s slides can be found here.
From Desk to Desktop: Making online exams work
Danny Monaghan - University of Sheffield
Danny’s session looked at how we have implemented online exams here at the university. Looking at the growth, logistics and challenges, whilst giving people some practical advice along the way.

Gamification - with Blackboard
Malcolm Murray - University of Durham
Malcolm’s session looked at how elements of gamification can be created in Blackboard. He showed how leaderboards were added into Blackboard and how content released using adaptive release can be associated with a gamification model of learning.

The downside to this is that much of the content doesn’t work on the mobile app, so this produced some severe challenges. There was also a bigger question posed around does points based gamification actually increase the quality of learning or do students rush through content to gain more points?

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