AU Case Studies - Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences - Blackboard departmental module case study

Last modified by AndyGreenway on 24/02/2011

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AU Case Studies - Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences - Blackboard departmental module case study

Description of use

The IGES web site was re-launched two years ago and as part of the process of designing the new web site it was decided that Blackboard would provide an effective site for our teaching resources.  We approached the Bb-team to ask whether they would be able to create ‘information/departmental modules’ in Blackboard for Part 1 students, Part 2 students, Postgraduates and Staff.  The following modules were created:

  • BBIGES0003: IGES Staff Information
  • BBIGES0001: IGES Student Information: Part 1
  • BBIGES0002: IGES Student Information: Part 2
  • BBIGES0004: IGES Postgraduate Information

The aims of the modules are to provide on-line resources to staff and students under one central location and to increase the use of Blackboard. Students and staff can download electronic copies of the student handbooks, consult policies and procedures, refer to assessment criteria for different types of assessments, find out who their students representatives are, check staff availability and follow links to useful web sites such as the Language and Learning Centre or APPR web pages, and much more.

Advantages of using departmental modules

  • Students are now better informed about our policies and procedures.
  • The Institute can now display and disseminate policies and procedures to staff and students as soon as they are approved through out the year, previously this would have happened once a year through the student’s handbooks.
  • Students can now access documents and forms on-line that they would previously have had to collect from the Department during office hours.
  • The modules have encouraged staff who had previously not used Blackboard in their teaching to familiarise themselves with Blackboard and its functions.
  • Noticeboards have been cleared and can now be used to display publicity and marketing material.

Disadvantages of using departmental modules

  • It takes time to set up and maintain the modules.
  • It is hard to estimate the impact that the departmental modules have had on improving our student’s experience. The tracking system is limited to items in folders, and operates on a time scale.

Future plans

  • We would like to investigate ways for student representatives (Staff/Student Consultative Committee) to use the discussion forums to consult their cohorts on the issues that they would like to raise at the SSCCs. The forums could also be used as a way of reporting back from the meetings.
  • Need to develop the Fieldwork folder to include policies and procedures on health and safety.

Advice to staff planning to use departmental modules

  • It helps to have one person responsible for maintaining the module to avoid duplication, ensure continuity and accuracy.
  • It is worthwhile to spend time designing the layout of the departmental modules. What information do staff and students need to access? How will they navigate through the modules? A good and clear layout will allow you to add and remove items without affecting the overall design.
  • It is important to introduce students to Blackboard early on in their courses. IGES runs a New Student’s Questionnaire for 1st Year students during the first week at college.  The questionnaire is posted in the IGES Student Information Part 1 module. This exercise introduces Blackboard to students and encourages them to navigate through the departmental as well as their other modules.

For further information and advice please contact Rosa Soto, IGES,

Created by Mary Jacob on 23/09/2009
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