Students have contributed a record number of nominations for this year’s Blackboard & VLE Awards, sharing valuable feedback about what is most useful in a course site. It is evident that many courses offer students a fantastic online learning experience alongside the face-to-face teaching, and the challenge of narrowing these down to a final shortlist is an encouraging one to have! After much deliberation, a shortlist has been chosen and can be viewed here.
Among the comments are a number of insights into the impact good VLE provision can make on a student’s experience:
“[My lecturer] deserves recognition for his blackboard skills; it is a factor in deciding to take his modules”
“The layout on blackboard and all of the resources helped me to achieve a strong first in this module”
“If every module were taught in this way making full use of technology available, I would study my Masters at the University”
Common themes and features mentioned in the comments are summarised below.
VLE as place
A good learning environment will have certain characteristics whether it is physical or virtual. Students highlight the value of:
- A helpful layout that is easy to navigate
- Clear signposting of resources
- Being able to choose how to study, with a range of materials and formats offered
VLE as person
At last year’s Awards one module lead talked about the importance of seeing the VLE not as “technical, but as an extension of you and the classroom”. It’s evident that students appreciate a VLE where there is a strong staff presence and sense of community, nominating sites where:
- They are guided through the course, with direction to key activities and context for resources
- There are opportunities for interaction, such as ‘Ask the lecturer’ discussion forums or group blogs
- Staff provide regular updates
VLE as preparation
Comments this year particularly emphasise the importance of:
- Advance availability of content and information
- Clear assessment details, accompanied by revision exercises, past papers and feedback
- Specific pre-lecture tasks or activities
VLE as playground
Many students nominate course sites that stand out due to the engaging way content is presented and delivered, where quizzes and other interactive learning activities “do not feel like work” and links to optional extras encourage further exploration.
It has also been great to view courses submitted by staff in the self-nominated category, which offer many exciting features. Some inspiring examples from these courses will be shared shortly.
The winning courses in both categories will be announced at the Awards Lunch on May 11th. All are welcome to attend and tickets can be booked here.