blackboard: making an impression in a visual world university for the creative arts

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blackboard: making an impression in a visual world university for the creative arts. Maria Tannant web design & information management Nick Power web programmer. who we are. University for the Creative Arts Kent Institute of Art & Design (KIAD) Surrey University College of Art & Design - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • blackboard: making an impression in a visual world

    university for the creative arts

    Maria Tannant web design & information managementNick Power web programmer

  • who we areUniversity for the Creative ArtsKent Institute of Art & Design (KIAD)Surrey University College of Art & DesignLocation

    BlackboardPurchased independently about 7 years ago by both institutions.

  • learning technologiesProgress was limited at both institutions Innovators Early Adopters

    Two Learning Technologists were appointed in May 2007

  • initial analysisTwo issues quickly emerged:Staff viewed Bb as text based and content driven, therefore not relevant to learning and teaching in the visual and creative arts context.Significant Integration Problems

  • the way forwardA series of recommendations were made in January 2008:Solve the integration issues by using snapshot

    To mirror more accurately the reflective and collaborative needs of learning and teaching in the visual and creative arts.

  • solution?Additional reflective, collaborative and visual tools such as wikis and blogs were added.Snapshot was implemented.Both have been highly successful in increasing Blackboard usage, which grew by 140% in the last year.

  • howeverStaff opposition in some areas remained intense, this now seemed to focus on the visual nature of Blackboard. One of the things that is being explored is the opportunity for Art and Design institutions to take the lead on technology enhanced learning. We have a fantastic opportunity here to do something truly groundbreaking. But Blackboard's inherently didactic approach, focusing on digital 'delivery' (and even then rather clumsily) is going to hold us back for sure.

    This was despite a survey in February 2008 indicated that where Blackboard was used, students loved it and wanted more

  • student feedback

  • the solution?Redesign the interface!As the UKs first creative arts University it seemed sensible to stop moaning and do something about it!

    This coincided with the start of the student portal project.

  • before - after

  • current student portal

  • current blackboard

  • what our students are saying

  • student designs from Rochester

  • student designs from Farnham

  • homepages

  • homepages

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  • 12 shortlisted designs

  • final 4 student vote

  • final 4 SPWG vote

  • homepages

  • prototype

  • was the exercise worth itYes Indeed!We have learnt so much more about our student needsWe need to be selective in the amount of information they seeStudents want simple, functional designWe can be confident in knowing which direction to take this project.

  • conclusionWe need to listen to our studentsDe-clutter and simplifyEasily accessibleFashionably understatedUser friendlyStudents dont want the world, they want something simple to grasp

  • wikis, powerpoints and videosThe following link takes you to the fullbody of student work including theproject brief.

    View full range of student ideas

    Contact: mtannant@ucreative.ac.uk

    6th annual European users conference, BbWorld Europe 09April 6-8 2009Fira Palace HotelBarcelona, Spain.*Merged in 2005*Innovators at this period was low, around 2% compared to to other HEIs - due to the fact that student output is often studio based taking fashion, fine art and model making subjects as examples.

    Early Adopters again was low again for the same reasons. There was no central support or strategic direction with E-learning until 2006 when the Learning and Teaching Strategy was developed, this then created the focus for work and led to the appointment of the 2 Learning Technologists

    Ref: onlyInnovators - people who just try something just because its thereEarly Adopters - early followers Late adoptersMajorityLaggards lag behind*The nature of creative and visual arts is very reflective and collaborative, therefore people had difficulty in applying Blackboard to this method of learning.Traditional teaching of non-arts subject matter is predominantly text based, thus many staff at UCA found the notion of Blackboard very challenging as a learning tool. It was also seen as merely a file repository holding reading lists, lecture notes and timetables.

    Significant Integration ProblemsFrom September 2007, before snapshot there was quite a lot of staff interest but as students were not enrolled in a timely fashion, they gave up, seeing no point to BB without students. Assumptions were made in thinking students were already enrolled on to BB and on to courses. Very soon these infrastructure problems became apparent, and the role of the Learning Technologlists was so much more than simply supporting staff in delivery learning technology. They had to get right under the bonnet so to speak and find solutions to these hiccups.*These were recommendations put to UCA in January 2008 to address the visual needs of learning & teaching

    Solve integration issues via snapshot

    Snapshot takes data from Sits about student enrolment and moves it into BB. We only undertake 2 processes with snapshot.Step 1: account creating (creates an account from sits to BBStep 2: student course enrolment is copied from SITS to BB

    *Some of the Visual tools include: Image based discussion boardpodcasting toola new course consolprontotutorial sign up listand appointment scheduler.

    In essence it comes down to wikis and blogs, wikis enables groups of users/students to come together to share knowledge, skills, experience and generate new knowledge, skills and experiences - that is what we call collaborative learning - traditionally this has been done by project or group work, now with wikis we can replicate and extent this learning opportunity. For example we can now get groups working together more effectively maybe because they don't meet that often - such as the MA Farnham, or get groups of students from different subject areas or campuses working together in online groups, or even with groups of students from overseas, such as South Africa or New Year - both projects are running at the moment. Blogs on the other hand enable students to also generate their own content and share it, the idea is that they record their learning and reflect on it later to see how much they have learned, if that learning has been effective and if not why etc. This has been traditionally captured in the arts via the sketchbook, now we can do it online, from anywhere.

    **Learning & Teaching set up a wiki in February 2008 to find out what students thought about BB as there had been some staff opposition to the VLE.

    The outcome of this survey proved that staff presented more problems than the students

    *Once Learning & Teaching had fixed the various integration problems more concentration could be applied to the actual the look of it.

    By redesigning BB, the exercise would raise awareness, gain interest and and help promote engagement with this VLE. It was decided that this exercise would be undertaken predominantly by Students, thereby giving them a sense of ownership and more importantly something they will use.*In 2008, once the KIAD and SIAD had harmonized their IT infrastructures and many other departments such as Registry and the Library, it was time to provide a far better Student Portal than the current one, which merely links out to all the main systems and interfaces students use in their daily studies.*Our current student portal******Among all the designs produced, students preferred this simple layout.*Was the exercise worth it? Yes Indeed! We have learnt so much more about our customers needs!

    Will it make a difference? Yes, we can use BB with confidence knowing what to watch out for and avoiding throwing everything at the student at once so they are not overwhelmed and confused with information overload

    Will staff now find something else to moan about?................... By completing this exercise we have explored the notion of staff saying none of my students use it because its not pretty enough, this simply is not true.

    Part of the problem lies with staff, and unfortunately, it will always be a problem to some degree due to the subjective nature of a visual and creative arts environment.

    The other part of the problem is being selective with what we offer up to students. We will have to continually find new ways to make BB an exciting and useful learning and communication tool - which delivers in a simple and functional manner.

    *Was the exercise worth it? Yes Indeed! We have learnt so much more about our customers needs!

    Will it make a difference? Yes, we can use BB with confidence knowing what to watch out for and avoiding throwing everything at the student at once so they are not overwhelmed and confused with information overload

    Will staff now find something else to moan about?................... By completing this exercise we have explored the notion of staff saying none of my students use it because its not pretty enough, this simply is not true.

    Part of the problem lies with staff, and unfortunately, it will always be a problem to some degree due to the subjective nature of a visual and creative arts environment.

    The other part of the problem is being selective with what we offer up to students. We will have to continually find new ways to make BB an exciting and useful learning and communication tool - which delivers in a simple and functional manner.

    *Was the exercise worth it? Yes Indeed! We have learnt so much more about our customers needs!

    Will it make a difference? Yes, we can use BB with confidence knowing what to watch out for and avoiding throwing everything at the student at once so they are not overwhelmed and confused with information overload

    Will staff now find something else to moan about?................... By completing this exercise we have explored the notion of staff saying none of my students use it because its not pretty enough, this simply is not true.

    Part of the problem lies with staff, and unfortunately, it will always be a problem to some degree due to the subjective nature of a visual and creative arts environment.

    The other part of the problem is being selective with what we offer up to students. We will have to continually find new ways to make BB an exciting and useful learning and communication tool - which delivers in a simple and functional manner.

    **

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