Excellence in VLE Awards trophies 2019

This year saw our seventh annual Blackboard & VLE Awards, with students putting forward an impressive array of modules that offer valuable online support for their learning.  Students’ insightful comments about why a particular approach works, or the benefits of certain features, give a detailed picture about what works well in a virtual learning environment.  A key theme emerging from this year’s nominations was connections: sites that connect what happens in face-to-face teaching with the online content; sites that facilitate further connection between staff and students; and sites that connect module content with real-world applications of the subject, with future employment or with wider learning.

Student input has been increasingly significant for the Awards, and this year we’ve been very grateful to have students involved in nominating, shortlisting and judging.

What works well?

In the following video, some of this year’s shortlisted course representatives contribute their thoughts about what works well in their VLE:


People’s choice

As part of this year’s Awards Event, attendees were encouraged to vote for a ‘People’s Choice’ winner, with one course from each faculty selected by students:

Dr Scott Border receives award from Prof Alex Neill
Dr Scott Border is congratulated by Prof Alex Neill

MEDI2046 Nervous and Locomotor 2 emerged as the winning course, with student comments highlighting the depth and range of support it provides:

“The support in the NLM2 module is incredible. In particular, the available podcasts are an immense help, as well as the cranial nerves online teaching. By far the best is the Soton Brain Hub videos – AMAZING!”


Award winners

Choosing the winning courses proved challenging in the best possible way, with shortlisted modules setting a consistently high standard, and each showcasing different ways of using the online space to bring together and underline students’ learning experience.  Those chosen as the winning courses showed exceptional care and clarity in the way they guided students through their learning journey, with a clear, cohesive approach, consistent layout and a range of media used to help students prepare and follow up from taught sessions.

Last year’s bespoke trophies from Toasted Designs were much admired and this year’s equally so. The videos below overview some of the features and student comments for each award winner.

PHYS6005 Cosmology and the Early Universe

Prof Alex Neill presents the award to Dr Francesco Shankar and Prof Alexander Belyaev
Dr Francesco Shankar and Prof Alexander Belyaev receive their award

SOES1009 The Living Earth

UOSM2037 Women and Gender in the Arab and Muslim World

Dr Lisa Bernasak receives the award from Prof Alex Neill
Dr Lisa Bernasek is presented with her award

Staff self-nominated winner

Staff are also encouraged to nominate courses they’ve been working on for an award, and this year saw some really exciting initiatives using a range of platforms.

Charlotte Everitt receives her award from Prof Alex Neill
Charlotte Everitt accepts the staff category award

LING6019 e-Learning for English Language Teaching was chosen as the winning course for its appealing presentation, useful context throughout, and engaging delivery of content through interactive exercises and activities.  It offers strong support for students as they study independently, with discussion facilitated through Microsoft Teams, and Blackboard’s ‘achievements’ used to help them monitor their progress.

We hope to share some of the content and advice from this year’s winners and shortlisted courses more widely, and will share further updates via this blog and our newsletter.  In the mean time, if you’ve been inspired by anything here and would like to discuss how you might develop your course further, we are always glad to hear from you.

Blackboard & VLE Awards 2019

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