We started training academic and administrative staff in using the new VLE, Brightspace, on Monday 8th May. The training is split into 2 sessions, an A and a B. To date we have hosted just less than 300 training instances (ie an A or B session) with the plan for around 860 instances for this first phase of the rollout.
Whilst a great deal of work is going on behind the scenes to integrate Brightspace into BU’s systems in preparation for the new academic year, training is being delivered using the standardised Brightspace product. This gives staff the earliest opportunity and the maximum time available to become familiar with the new platform. A team of 17 people is responsible for the administration and delivery of Brightspace training, which comprises a range of pedagogic uses of the VLE as well as an introduction to its features and functions. This offering is designed to equip the broadest range of staff with the confidence and knowledge needed to use Brightspace.
We ask everyone completing both sessions for their feedback so that we can gauge the response and improve the content and delivery. As a result of the standardised format, the feedback on the training is mixed with some participants thinking we spend too much/too little time on certain parts of the training material. However, the majority of the response has been very positive.
When we ask to what extent Brightspace will help in the development of learning practices, staff respond with a score of 7.3/10 reflecting the overall positive response to the new platform and what it offers. Another question asks how confident staff feel having completed the training and this scores 6.7/10 which demonstrates that a new VLE does require work to master its many features. Training participants leave session B with access their own training unit, a Brightspace sandbox, so that they can continue to develop their Brightspace skills. We also explain 7 different sources of further information on Brightspace as there are many resources available to staff. The response to the question about knowing where to go for help and support scores an average of 8.4/10. Lastly, we ask for an overall assessment for the training received. This averages at 7.2/10.
The questionnaire ends with a space for participants to add any final comments. I will end this post with some of the responses received:
- “I really enjoyed all of this. Session A was excellent as it was pedagogically focused – i wasn’t expecting this aspect of the day but it was the most worthwhile bit. Session B was very good but i felt it could have been condensed in time considerably.”
- “Another half day at some point during late semester one for semester two units would help some staff. Having the additional LTs here was really good.”
- “Looks very flexible – would have been good to work through it with other members of the same programme (although maybe not time practical). Good support (only 4 students)”
- “The New system is cleaner and more intuitive. But it might cause proplems and anxeties among the level 6 students upon their return to the university if their are not properly trained. I predict that they may have a lot of questions that a programme leader may not fully equiped to answer. Level 6 students are all wanted to do well in their final year with least changes or hurdles. This issue is important particularly for the reputation of our university since these students will complete the NSS.”
- “I need to spend some time on my own to practice, assimilate and consolidate information learnt today”
- “Very clearly explained. Could have given more time/individual space for uploading/experimenting with new possibilities, e.g. setting up quizzes etc.”
- “It was quite early which is useful, but when it comes to actually designing the units it would be good to have extra sessions in case questions arise. Especially relating to aspects which aren’t currently live.”
- “I need more time to go away and play with the system so that I feel more confident. I definitely like following the demonstration by clicking at the same time as that reinforces learning.”
- “Thought it was a good mix of background, teaching (i.e. being shown) and some practical doing. I am sure it will take time to become familiar with it but the early signs are promising and I feel BU is doing well in terms of training academic staff and bringing them up to speed ahead of the new academic year. I am still not 100% convinced it will handle big data files (?).”
- “Yesterday was one of the most enjoyable ‘away days’ I have had as HoD – it was great to engage with the new VLE and to be part of these new developments.”