Blackboard Upgrade and Rollover – Summer 2015

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Dear colleagues,

Full information on the Blackboard upgrade and rollover can be found at the following url . Please do take the time to read the important information provided by the Technology Enhanced Learning Support (TELS) team. The key dates for your diary are:

Blackboard upgrade – 1st July
Blackboard rollover – 2nd July

Blackboard will be unavailable until 10am on the 1st and at risk until 12pm. Any problems with either the upgrade and the rollover will be communicated to staff via the portal.




TLE Seminar “What’s New in Learning Technology”

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To ensure all staff could benefit from our 6th May TLE Seminar “What’s New in Learning Technology”, we recorded the sessions, which are now available on our YouTube channel, so if you want to know more about Flipped Classrooms, e-portfolios or Open Educational Practices in Scotland follow this link to the TLE Seminar YouTube Playlist .

Many thanks to our external speakers: Dr Pete Cannell and Dr Ronald Macintyre from OEPS, Dr Heather Smith from Cranfield University, Robert Chielewski from Institute of Academic Development Edinburgh University and Alastair Brooke and Nathan Cobb from Blackboard.




Blackboard 2015 European Teaching and Learning Conference

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A couple of weeks ago I attended the 2015 annual European Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference.  This conference is a great place to connect with other Blackboard users.  The presentations were an interesting mix with many institutions showcasing how they had customised their learning environments and others providing information on how they use the Blackboard platform to deliver innovative teaching and fully online courses.

Blackboard also used the event to present product updates.  The CEO of Blackboard shared the company vision of how they are redesigning all their products to look and feel more like integrated solutions rather than separate standalone systems.  It was good to hear details of how the company is working on making Blackboard more customisable to local environments.

Some of the highlights for me were seeing how MEF University in Turkey is delivering all of their courses via the flipped classroom method.  MEF is a brand new institution and all their teaching spaces have been designed to facilitate collaborative group working.

Sheffield Hallam presented the findings of their project on how they are using technology to improve student engagement with feedback.  More information on this project is available on their blog

I presented information on how the Sociology Division at Abertay has been using the Blackboard Wikis for assessment.  There was good interest from the audience, in particular on how the module was using the sign-up groups for the students to organise themselves into the wiki groups – which saves a lot of administration on the part of the course tutors.

A full listing of the conference programme is available online at the conference website

If you are thinking of using new tools in Blackboard next year have a look at the range of courses TELs are providing over summer or get in touch at


TLE Seminar – What’s New In Learning Technology?

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The University is starting at Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) working group that will include all stakeholders throughout the university, including senior management, academic teaching staff, administrative and support functions.   The working group will be asked to consider the technology Abertay are currently using, what the sector trends are are what our future direction should be.  This seminar will showcase some of the technologies the group will be asked to consider.    Heads of Schools will be asking for volunteers for this group very soon.

We wil be inviting external speakers to talk about the Open Education Practices Scotland project, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Flipped Classroom, e-portfolios for personal development and employability.

Blackboard will also be attending via Webinar to update us on future directions for their virtual learning environment.

There will be a panel for Questions and Answers at the end of the seminar which we hope will spark ideas for the working group.


10:15  Coffee

10:25  Intro

10:30 Open Education Practice Scotland project and MOOCs

11:30 The Flipped Classroom

12:00 Lunch

12:30 Use of e-portfolios for Personal Development and Employability

13:00 Blackboard – Content & Community + Future Direction

13:30 Panel Question & Answer session

14:00 Close


Book your place on the TLE Seminar What’s New In Learning Technology?  All welcome


Note: Relevant workshops relating to this seminar will be run over the summer by TELS.



Electronic Management of Assessment – Equipment Roadshow

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The Electronic Management of Assessment Steering Group would like feedback from staff regarding how they are finding online marking and feedback,  whether they need more support and if they have found that they need additional equipment to make the process more efficient.

TELS are planning to demonstrate the following equipment when using online grading and feedback technologies.  Our Health and Safety Officer and Occupational Health Advisor will also attend to advise staff on correct posture when working with mobile devices.

  • 1 PC with two screens
  • 1 laptop connected to a full size screen with separate keyboard and mouse
  • iPad with Turnitin App

There are 4 dates planned in different areas of the university.   Each event will be held between 11:30am and 2:30pm .  Staff can attend the session most convenient to them.

  • AMG – 30th January – Admin Area in White Space.
  • SHS – 5th February – Room 5531
  • DBS – 12th February – Room 3010
  • SET – 13th February –  SET  Social Space, SET office, level 4

Staff will be asked to complete a questionnaire to find out how they feel about their experiences so far, support needs and additional equipment requirements.

We look forward to seeing you there.