You might remember my blog on Developing Skills for Blackboard published early in the year. Since our initial meeting with Josephine Ng, lots has happened in this project and amazing progress has been made.
So far, Cathy and I have had the great pleasure of travelling twice to the quiet and lovely Bundoora campus this year to conduct drop-in sessions for the academic staff in the Graduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood). As academic’s teaching hours and needs differed from one another, we deemed necessary to move into their training rooms for two whole days with the intent to give every teacher the opportunity to drop in at a convenient time and discuss with either of us their individual needs. I can confidently say that both sessions very valuable to the teachers as well as for Cathy and I. Not only were we able to address their needs, but in the process we also learned a lot about our role as educational developers.
What we have covered (so far…):
- Course shell structure (when different delivery modes are linked to it)
- Existing content from the previous year (cleaning up an old shell)
- Creating Groups
- Removing and adding students from/to groups
- Setting up assessment tasks
- Creating tests
- Blackboard Test feedback options
- Rubrics in Blackboard Assessment Task vs Turnitin
- Embedding videos and other file format using an embed link
- Customising the site menu
What we have learned (so far…):
- For Blackboard to be utilise successfully teachers need support and guidance
- Blackboard is used differently across the university and for different purposes
- Having a pool of resources (we have been working on them) readily available to teachers helps
- Understanding Blackboard from a technical point of view is not enough, this must be accompanied by a good understanding of learning and teaching design
- Reinforcement and follow up is vital
Our job is not over yet. Although the work we have done so far has had a positive impact, and teachers feel confident in the use of Blackboard, we are getting ready to have another session before the beginning of Semester 2.