New VLE announced

Bournemouth University is pleased to announce the winning supplier of its brand new virtual learning environment (VLE) is Desire2Learn (D2L) with their award-winning platform Brightspace. Selected by the BU community, this will replace the system currently known to us as myBU.

D2L’s Brightspace offers a responsive and personalised learning experience with powerful learning analytics capabilities, integrated social media, chat, game-based learning and advanced video features, making it well suited to the modern student and to the BU community’s needs. In total 250 students and members of BU staff, representing ten university departments and services, participated in the selection of Brightspace as BU’s new VLE.

Head of the Centre for Excellence in Learning (CEL), Professor Gail Thomas, outlined what the new VLE means for BU: “Our infrastructure is improving on all fronts – new buildings, better facilities and, very importantly, our new VLE. Every student and every member of academic staff will benefit from a 21st century VLE that is intuitive, inspiring and user friendly.”

D2L serve more than 15 million users across 1,300 institutions worldwide including Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the University of Surrey and Nottingham Trent University. The Canadian educational technology company fought off global competition to secure BU’s ten year VLE contract, securing excellent feedback in staff and student usability testing for their product’s modern interface and intuitive navigation. The implementation of the new platform is expected to start in 2017.

The decision to review BU’s VLE came from BU student and staff feedback during the externally facilitated ‘Changing the Learning Landscape’ (CLL) project, which took place during 2013 – 2014. CLL identified confidence in core technology as an important factor in BU’s use of technology enhanced learning and the VLE. This feedback led to IT Services’ refresh of all AV equipment in teaching spaces, whilst BU’s legal obligation to offer the VLE contract for re-tender under European law provided a timely opportunity to respond to student and staff feedback.

This decision marks a pivotal stage in a rigorous year long procurement process. Competing suppliers were required to prove compliance in meeting over 200 functional and non-functional requirements, outline the service associated with BU’s new platform, provide sandbox environments for staff and students to test, and to supply references from other Higher Education Institutions.

Wendy Drake, Project Manager of Vision4Learning (V4L), the project overseeing BU’s VLE procurement process, expressed her thanks to all who have given their time. “I really appreciate the effort and expertise people have contributed in addition to their regular day jobs. This process has been a real collaboration across BU.”

The V4L project will move into its second phase in 2017, planning the training and implementation schedule required to make a smooth transition to the Brightspace platform. V4L is also in the process of reviewing BU’s technology-enhanced learning support model, to ensure that staff and students derive maximum value from this new and substantial investment.

To keep up with V4L developments monitor the staff intranet or email any questions to the V4L team on v4l@bournemouth.ac.uk.

Pictured, some of the VLE team:

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Back L-R: Simon Dunn (IT Business Systems Information Architect), Kimberley Mills (Senior Learning Technologist), Ian Brown (IT Supplier Manager), Pauline Dean (Procurement Manager), Tim Galling (Learning Technologist), Dr. Andrew Main (Deputy Dean- Education & Professional Practice, Faculty of Management)
Front L-R: Jamie Swanson (Student Union Vice-President for Education), Professor Gail Thomas (Head of CEL, co-chair of V4L), Wendy Drake (Project Manager, V4L). Missing Dr. Gelareh Roushan (co-chair of V4L).

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