The 2018 Blackboard & VLE Awards bring the competition into its sixth year, showcasing some consistently good practice and some innovative approaches to delivering blended learning. Students had the opportunity to put forward course sites that made a real difference to their learning, and those that stood out were viewed by a guest judging panel, featuring representatives from SUSU, CHEP, the Associate Deans and iSolutions. The thoughtful feedback accompanying students’ nominations gives a valuable picture of what a good VLE site might include.
The winning courses chosen by the panel (and receiving our new wooden awards created by Digital Learning’s Joe Brett) are revealed below:
ECON3008 Macroeconomic Policy 3
The success of Macroeconomic Policy 3 makes it a hat-trick of wins for Economics modules in recent years, and in addition to the excellence of the individual sites, students benefit from the consistency between modules.
Students appreciate how well organised and easy to follow the site is. It supports blended learning well by indicating activities to prepare ahead of taught sessions, and topic tests to help consolidate learning.
There are opportunities to revise and practise the module content with weekly problem sets and clearly labelled lecture recordings.
Students describe the range of resources offered as “so much more helpful than just a black and white reading list” and the detailed material provided in advance of lectures “took the pressure away from not understanding something”.
MEDI3044 Child Health
The approach throughout the Child Health module is characterised by its welcome page, which features an engaging video to introduce the module, a Twitter feed with regular updates and a helpful guide to navigating the site.
Students on placement need access to additional organisation details, and this Blackboard site addresses that need really well, with hub pages for each centre.
There is excellent use of visual resources throughout which make it easy to find the wealth of study resources offered, including a range of eLearning and self-assessment packages.
Students appreciate the thought that has gone into creating an online resource that goes well beyond the basics to help them get the most out of the module.
MATH1060 Multivariable Calculus
Students appreciate the “intuitive approach” to the site, describing it as “very easy to learn from the resources and the clear structure.”
There is helpful context guiding students through the materials. Valuable features include pre- and post- versions of lecture notes, clear assessment information and many opportunities to practise.
The use of recorded examples alongside more conventional text-based materials is really informative and engaging.
Students also highlighted the efforts to present useful content in an entertaining way, and felt the module lead had “gone the extra mile” in all the site provided.
Our separate category for staff nominations brought forward some exciting courses with considerable commitment to enhancing students’ experience. The panel chose the following as this year’s winner:
MEDI6114: Personal Professional Development
This self-study module for students on placement has been carefully constructed to give students an engaging and well-supported learning experience.
Content is clearly set out with helpful guidance throughout. Self-study materials are offered in a range of formats, including Sway presentations, video interviews and a series of podcasts recorded by clinicians. Clear efforts have been made to offer content that is relevant, authentic and inspiring.
Students are involved in creating content to share with others through the Peerwise task, and online tutorials allow face-to-face support. Course developments and further resources are shared through announcements and Twitter updates.
The presentation slides from the event can be accessed here.
If you are looking for inspiration, a range of examples from this year’s shortlisted courses can be accessed in the video linked here.
Further examples can be accessed via our Blackboard & VLE Awards homepage.
Or, if you would like an opportunity for hands-on support in redesigning your course site, come along to the first of this year’s VLE Masterclass sessions on May 24th. Book your place here: https://vlemasterclass.eventbrite.co.uk.