Preparing for the new VLE – training in Brightspace

Preparations for the new VLE are well underway.  In CEL, IT Skills and LLS we have been preparing for the staff training which begins on Monday 8th May.  The plan is to train 350 academic and administrative staff over the next 8-10 weeks as preparation for almost half of all BU programmes transitioning to the new VLE in September 2017.

This post gives an overview of the planned training.

1.  The goals of the training

By the time an attendee has finished the one day of training, they will:

– Gain confidence in using the core features of Brightspace through hands-on practice using their own materials 

– Know how to access their own Brightspace test area so that they can practice in a safe environment and develop expertise

– Understand the work needed to prepare unit(s) for semester 1 

– Know where to go for help and support

2.  What to expect

Two half days of training are planned:

Session A:

– An introduction to Brightspace and the pedagogic and learning opportunities it provides

– An overview of the plan for rolling out Brightspace and a few caveats

– A tour of how Brightspace looks from a student perspective, including its key features

– A guided walkthrough of the core features needed by academic staff including options for structuring unit(s)

– How to access and work in your own, individual test area

– Where to go for on-going support and help with Brightspace

– An introduction to the Brightspace Community and how it can help you

– Participation in an anonymous survey on the learning culture in BU

 Session B:

– Following an academic tutor’s workflow, we begin by considering learning objectives and what students need to know

– Next, you look at content and create a variety of different items, using release conditions to schedule availability 

– You then practice creating discussions and announcements

– Lastly, you work on student-focused areas of Brightspace – the classlist, groups and communication

There is a lot to cover in these two sessions and it is 70% hands-on.

3.  What you need to do in advance of the training

We believe the training will be of much greater use to you the participants are working with a selection of their own materials.  We will therefore ask the attendees to have access to a unit guide, one or more powerpoint presentations, a YouTube or online video that is used, one or more PDF documents and a digital photo of yourself please? 

4.  Thinking about learning

The adoption of Brightspace is an opportunity to reflect on how best to facilitate student learning in our unit(s).  In advance of the training, please take a few moments to review the six pedagogies in the TEL Toolkit and consider if they could be used in your unit(s).  A strong pedagogic thread will run through both sessions as we approach Brightspace from the perspective of how it can be used to support student learning. 

We look forward to welcoming colleagues from HSS and SciTech in this first wave of training.  We will provide updates on how the training is progressing and the innovative ways in which staff are using Brightspace to enhance student learning at BU.

4 Responses to “Preparing for the new VLE – training in Brightspace”

  1. David Biggins's avatar David Biggins


    In the first part of the training, we are concentrating on academic staff to give them the most time to prepare materials for the start of semester 1.

    It is important that ALS staff are included in the training too. We will be back in touch in a few weeks’ time to arrange sessions for administrators and professional services.

  2. Deborah Collcutt's avatar Deborah Collcutt

    There was a mention of another training session in July – when is this pls?


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