Latest Blackboard news I gleaned from attending the recent West Midlands Blackboard users group.
• Confidence was high after the recent acquisition by venture capitalists – and was reported to “be business as usual”
• The new rubrics tool (available in Service Pack 6) can be deployed at assessment creation stage – this ensures constructive alignment is built into the assessment process. Multiple rubrics can be utilised on a single assessment. Students will be able to view easily all the feedback and feed forward comments. This has the potential to provide very detailed feedback – and has appears to be more flexible than GradeMark. GradeMark only offers 10 single rubric criteria, whereas the Bb version has up to 100. You are also able to export rubrics and therefore share them amongst courses.
• There is a new SCORM player – that allows tighter integration (of Adobe Presenter) with the Grade Centre.
• We saw a demonstration of the flexibility offered by the overarching Community feature. Amongst many portal type features this allows local administration and finite control of blocks using the Community addition. For example one School could purchase a “block” and it could be controlled to serve only the students of that area. This feature is not available at Aston.
• BB Collaborate (replacing Elluminate & Wimba) is out now:
• Durham have developed a Twitter and sign up block
• There are now Google Doc’s and Microsoft Live blocks
• Birbeck have developed a Federated Access Management Block
• Developers have the ability to use the Google Apps engine to create new features. i.e. Edinburgh has developed a virtual field trip.
• Purdue have developed the Purdue Signal block. This delivers “learning analytics” from data derived by tracking student engagement with the course. This can then be subsequently used to predict assessment failure or attrition rates.
• There is a BB STATS tool that can be used to deliver real-time course usage data to an Android phone.
As yet; no one, apart from the JISC funded CELTIC project (integrating ELGG, WebPA, and PebblePad) appear to making any use of the LTI Open Standards! I found this to be quite surprising, considering the potential it offers. Maybe it is just too new for universities to experiment with, as we are all too busy testing service packs!
Leave a Reply