Russel Group University25,000 Student FTEs6,000 Staff27 SchoolsLearning and Teaching Team6 StaffVLE called Learning Central. (Blackboard Core)
At end 2010 new member of staff joined teamUnfamiliar with our systemTasked with looking at system from a users perspective and reporting on findings.Result a 14 Page Report.
The report was filed whilst we thought about it.
In April 2011 at the Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference I saw a presentation by University of Delft, Netherlands about a system they had put in place to improve their support of their VLE. This looked like a possible solution to our problems, and discussions with Eesysoft were initiated.
Presentation by University Delft.Presentatation showed some new software they were using to facilitate help and support within their Blackboard environment.
Why our help documentation might as well be in Dutch!
Why our helpdocumentation might as well be in Dutch! Peter Rayment, Cardiff University Michel Visser, Eesysoft.
Learning CentralLearning Central is made up of; Core of Blackboard Version 9.1 (Classic)Plus; Blackboard Mobile Learning Objects Campus Pack Wimba Voice Tools Questionmark Perception Turnitin Echo360 Panopto
Learning Central use265,000 student enrolments on 5000 modules accessing an ever-increasing variety of functionalityOn a busy Monday in October there are in the region of 19000 logins to the system.
Background to support issuesUpgraded Core Learning Central system In summer 2010 we undertook a major software upgrade from Version 8 to 9.1 of Blackboard. Although we attempted to review and prioritise support documentation the release of the new software resulted in a significant increase in support calls throughout the start of term.
Comparison of support callsBelow are comparison figures for help requests for2009 and 2010.1st August 2009 to 1st December 2009 Total VLE calls recorded on INFRA = 502 Resolved by Service Desk Staff = 94 Resolved by VLE Team = 4081st August 2010 to 1st December 2010 Total VLE calls recorded on INFRA = 997 Resolved by Service Desk Staff = 311 Resolved by VLE Team = 686
Context regarding support callsEssentially during this four month period two members of staffcleared just under 700 support calls.Questions arising from this;1) Why did we get so many calls?2) How many of these calls could we have prevented from being loggedby having an easy self help system?3) How can we improve the situation for our customers (and ourselves)?
Question?Why did we get so many calls?This was in part due to increased functionality and complexity ofthe new system plus an increase in usage of the systemAn underlying factor was that customers did not generally read helpdocuments.In part this was due to difficulty locating relevant information,compounded by the fact that our help files are located across a numberof systems, making relevant and focused help difficult to find.Titles of help items did not always make it clear what the content was.
Investigation into…Remaining Questions-- How many of these calls could we have prevented from beinglogged by having an easy self help system?- How can we improve the situation for our customers (andourselves)?Action-At the end 2010 an investigation was undertaken into the situation withour Help Documentation, and options for improving the customersexperience.A 14 page report was produced, by Jin Tan who had recently joined ourteam.
Report overviewThe Learning Central Help Service does not provide a robust self-learning environment for users.To provide this type of service, We need to know what help guides we have, Where they are? What is missing and / or required?Once we know the answers to the above we can discuss how our helpsystem needs to be improved and how to improve it.
Report findingsAt the beginning of 2011 an audit and analysis was undertaken of ourhelp materials, and the resulting report highlighted deficits and thefractured nature of our help documentation.“The current problems of the Learning Central help resources are: Help resources are managed/created by different systems, and the LC team does not have an integrated entry for users to access help resources, Many old Help content pages needs to be updated to Bb v9.0, Some guides are not easy to read and need to be improved, To make the LC help resources a user self-learning resource, new help guides need to be added.”
RecommendationsThis report made recommendations that our help documents needed to; – Be easily accessible (Searchable) – Centralised – Timely (up to date) and relevant. – Provide the ability for users to provide feedback on help materialsA further requirement was a need for improved communication aboutfunctionality changes or outages within the system i.e. a method ofcascading this information in a targeted way to customers. Thesematerials needed to be; – Proactive, – Contextual.
Problem….Following the report we knew that we needed to do acomplete update of the way we provide our helpmaterials but were unsure of the best way to proceed.It seemed like a problem without a solution.
Plan to improve help.Contacted EesysoftLooked at possibilities of using system to resolve the problems we arehaving.Software seemed to meet our requirements and particularly mirrored theresults of our report.Currently finalising contract.There is much work to do still but now we are hoping that we will have aframework around which we can build our support system.
Learning Central use265,000 student enrolments on 5000 modules accessing an ever-increasing variety of functionalityOn a busy Monday in October there are in the region of 19000 logins to the system.Question? What are they doing and how do we prioritise helping them to help themselves?
Plan processInvestigations into how the system is used, Students and Staff. The existing help and support documentation will be used to start to populate the system . Additional materials will be added based on need, with factors such as time of year, emergent issues and common support enquiries considered, along with consultation with Service Desk. Once this first tranche of population is completed, population of further materials will be undertaken as part of the team’s business as usual work.
Proactive approach facilitated. Proactive notifications of change in functionality etc. will be populated as part of the appropriate associated project work Any notifications about service outages would be handled as part of the usual process. Will have ability to provide Role and Situation based notifications to our users. In the past we were only able to act reactively.
DemonstrationDemonstration of Eesysoft Software by Michel Visserhttp://www.eesysoft.com
Navigation system forBlackboard users Context sensitve help Situation: ‘How to?’ questionsEesySoft’s Application Positioning System (APS) monitorsof end-users whereusers are working within an application (like GPS for your sat nav) It provide reports on how frequently specific functionality within Blackboard is being used and by whom Based on the context users can receive (pro-active) support information about e.g. know problems, changes, faq’s, unused functionality
BlackboardDemo overview Users Pro-active information Context sensitve Situation: help Information about Situation: known problems, Find the Info Pull & ‘How to?’ questions Info Push Feedback changes, FAQ’s & expert of end-users unused functionality EesySoft APS Application Mapping, Content Reporting & Management User Feedback Plug-in free building block Installed in < 10 minutes Hosting in UK Expert Tools Application Manager SME‘S
Questions?Should you have any questions please feel free tocontactPeter RaymentLearning and Teaching Manager, INSRV.Telephone – 029 208 70290Email – email@example.comMichel VisserManaging Director, EesysoftTelephone - +31 (0)20 6586204Email firstname.lastname@example.org