On 3 November, our client support team at Blackboard met with the Ultra Project Board. The board is made up of Information Services members responsible for the move to Blackboard Ultra and academic colleagues.
The meeting’s purpose was to outline the project’s scope, mission, vision, and goals.
Part of the activity involved a Mural board.
On this Mural board we were asked to give an overview of the institutional, departmental, and individual goals we wanted to achieve.
We’re looking to maintain our excellent student experience, and making sure that the move is sustainable for all staff. From a pedagogical perspective, we want active learning and student as partners to be an ethos for the project, whilst also focusing on ways that blended distance learning and online assessment can be developed. We want the VLE to be as self-service for our users as much as possible, whilst complying with the accessibility legislation. We want data to flow seamlessly between other systems, and give greater transparency to mark processing. Blackboard Ultra needs to have a clear identity and brand easily identifiable with Aberystwyth. The environment needs to be fully bilingual, easy to navigate, and reviews save users time where possible. Consistency across modules in terms of navigation remains a large driver, with a standardised baseline of best practice and an institutional template. There needs to be opportunities for staff to innovate, with examples of excellent learning and teaching activities. We need to make the most out of our investment and ensure the VLE is GDPR compliant.
Departments are looking for as smooth a transition as possible and the opportunities to share their best practice both in their departments and beyond. Reducing the need for support and concentrate on development activities would be welcomed. Departments have departmental organisations which contain various pieces of relevant information – this is something that we’d like to see developed and standardised for students. As part of the project, departments need clear reporting mechanisms for liaising with the project team as well as back to central universities.
Workloads need to be realistic and colleagues need to be given time to prepare courses in Ultra. There’s the opportunity for individuals to explore industry practices, and to shift focus onto innovation. Members of staff have spent a lot of time developing and maintaining activities in Blackboard Original so support will be required for that. All staff should be able to achieve the minimum presence, and we should be seeking minimal disruption. Staff will gain
We’ll continuing blogging about the move to Ultra and further information about the project will be communicated via the Weekly Bulletin.