In their own words: Understanding and Enhancing Our Students’ Experience of Blackboard


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Presentation at the Blackboard T&L Conference, 2012. Antwerp. Examines local and national drivers of VLE adoption and the importance of understanding the student (and staff) user experience. Reflects on how evaluation of technology and innovation has changed over time and focuses on the annual EHU student elearning survey which is now providing longitudinal data of use adn expectations. Describes how the survey data is used to inform change.

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  • Good afternoon everyone. It is a pleasure to be here.My name is Lindsey Martin and I am the eLearning Strategy and Development Manager at Edge Hill University in the NW of England.
  • Some very brief context to why running a student eLearning survey is considered important at Edge Hill.
  • We have been able to do this while maintaining high levels of stakeholder satisfaction. This has been achieved by understanding and responding to stakeholders – largely students and teaching staff
  • A period of dramatic expansion of useDoesn’t include Performing Arts DepartmentReflects the ‘baseline’ or ‘minimum entitlement’
  • The student voice is the hardest thing to get hold of – largely anecdotal or individual e.g. SU rep on a committee or tutor observations/assumptions – little chance to drill down.
  • In their own words: Understanding and Enhancing Our Students’ Experience of Blackboard

    1. 1. In their own words: Understanding and Enhancing Our Students’ Experience of Blackboard Lindsey Martin, Edge Hill University
    2. 2. Overview Drivers: National, Institutional, personal Tools to aid understanding ‘In their own words’: what makes a positive EHU student experience of Blackboard? Making use of our student data within EHU Discussion: what can we learn from each other?
    3. 3. Drivers: National New business model Student fees, student as consumer and assumptions of their expectations as digital ‘natives’ Institutional Audit 2004-2008 Strong messages from QAA outcomes reports around the need for a strategic approach to VLE deployment National Student Survey (NSS) League tables based on student satisfaction – increasingly looking to the VLE for enhancements to organisation and management, communications and learning resources
    4. 4. Drivers: Edge Hill University Rapid expansion Institution has doubled in size in past 5 years Institutional Audits 2005 and 2010 QAA 2005 recommendation for a more strategic use of VLE resulted in an institutional ‘minimum entitlement’ to the VLE - phased in 2008-2010 which mainstreamed adoption Much change around the VLE 2008 moved from WebCT to Blackboard CE8 and Managed Hosting VLE Review 2009-2010 2011 upgraded from CE8 to Blackboard Learn 9.1 and rebranded Learning Edge
    5. 5. VLE: adoption on undergraduate programmes 2005 5% 2006/07 60% 2008/09 71.47% 2009/10 90.56%
    6. 6. Key tools to aid evaluation and understanding Baseline data CE8 activity. Drilling down to Faculty and year of study, active use of Blackboard tools Blackboard reporting tools Usage statistics – users, live courses Google Analytics Supplements Blackboard reports. Provides valuable user information – geographic location, browsers, mobile access Annual eLearning Survey Online survey, began in 2008/09. Mixture of closed questions supplemented with free text NSS/Student Union surveys/focus groups NSS and SU qualitative data is limited with regard to the VLE. Focus groups exploring ‘student experience’ only offer a glimpse of VLE
    7. 7. Evolving … evaluation for decision-making Assumptions Satisfaction Expectations Impact Rule of thumb Experience Similarities Perceptions Emotional Behavioural Will recommend to others? Intentions KPIs/ performance measurement Return on investment Engagement Access ‘You said… …we did’ Checklists Scale Benchmarking Value for money L&T Literature ‘early adopters’ mainstream
    8. 8. The EHU Student eLearning Survey A snapshot in time An indicator of the extent that the VLE is integral to the learning experience of EHU students Longitudinal 4 years worth of data Not just a VLE survey What other technologies do our students use (or want to use) in their studies – and what would they like to see more of? Where and how do they study? But is also a VLE ‘health check’ Frequency of use, importance to study, impact on their learning, what works and what doesn’t
    9. 9. Survey Headlines 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Never Rarely Sometimes A lot Never heard of this 09/10 10/11 11/12 How often do you use Learning Edge in your studies? Frequency
    10. 10. Survey Headlines How often do you use Learning Edge in your studies? Importance 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Very important Quite important Quite unimportant Unimportant 09/10 10/11 11/12
    11. 11. Survey Headlines Learning Edge has enhanced the knowledge and understanding I get from lectures, tutorials and practical sessions 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 08/09 09/10 10/11 11/12 Agree/strongly agree neutral disagree/strongly disagree
    12. 12. Survey Headlines My tutors regularly update Learning Edge with course information and materials 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 09/10 10/11 11/12 Agree/strongly agree neutral Diasagree/ strongly disagree
    13. 13. Key themes from the 2011/12 survey Mobile technologies 55.8% participants own a smartphone (36.1% in 2010/11). Picking up notifications, grades, lecture notes ‘on the go’ often in preference to bringing a laptop Importance of Learning Edge Used frequently, rated important, enhancing learning, online submission, communication 2 sides of the same coin 4 themes identified: access (technical), access (content and resources), communication, design and layout Social networking for informal learning Facebook widely used for informal learning – Facebook ‘Hub’ and Learning Edge ‘classroom’ – largely student owned and managed
    14. 14. • “This is the first time I have used eLearning and I love it. It gives me the freedom to log on whenever I have time and continue my study and it is fast and effective. “ • “Consistent format across all modules means I know where to look for information. “ • “If used properly it has the capability to improve everyone’s learning experience – even just using the basic features. “ Student quotes from the 4th EHU Student eLearning Survey, 2011/12
    15. 15. • “It can sometimes be slow. “ • “Layout of Blackboard modules can be confusing, not always sure where to find information and material. “ • “Learning Edge is massively underused and handing in hard copies of work seems pointless when the facility is available. “ Student quotes from the 4th EHU Student eLearning Survey, 2011/12
    16. 16. Using our survey findings … You said … we did activities Identifying and rectifying touch points (build your ‘ideal’ VLE responses, needs and issues) Influencing academic practice Getting the message out that the student experience of the VLE is largely determined by how it is set up and managed by tutors – consistency, lecture notes, communications Raising visibility and awareness Demonstrating that we understand the needs of our key stakeholders. Disseminating through deliberative structures and informal channels, audit trail Supporting business cases Blackboard 9.1, Complex Managed Hosting, Mobile Learn, Mobile Central, Assignment Handler,
    17. 17. Lessons learned … Have a prize draw! No brainer! Make it mean something Take any negative comments on the chin and do something about them. It has to inform real and visible improvement/enhancement Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! Before, during, after! Student email, Blackboard announcements, Learning Edge blog, Facebook, Student Union, Committees … Learn from mistakes Allocate lots of time – it generates a lot of data. Listen to students – they tell you if questions don’t work. Time your survey release for maximum uptake. Get some headlines out quickly afterwards
    18. 18. • Outcomes from Institutional audit and review, QAA, Outcomes.aspx • Kyriaki Anagnostopoulou, University of Bath. Evaluating the Role of Technology in Supporting Students. Follow the Sun, 13-15 April 2011 • EHU Student eLearning Survey Collection References
    19. 19. Contact Lindsey Martin