Tag Archives: vle

Blackboard 9.1 Tips – #1 Campus Pack

Learning Objects Campus Pack, used to provide for blogs, wikis and podcasts in Swansea University’s VLE, was updated at the same time as Blackboard. If you have one or more Learning Objects blog(s), wiki(s) or podcast(s) in your Blackboard (learning portal) module sites, they will be upgraded the first time you or your students visit them.

If you have a large number of these installed in a module site, as I have for some of my modules, you may want to do the upgrade before your course is opened for new enrolments. That way, you will avoid confusion for your students and any colleagues you may be sharing a module site with.

Podcast of the Week #1: E-Learning Stuff

I read a lot of blogs and I listen to a lot of podcasts, so I thought I’d use this blog to tell you about some of my favourites. Here’s the first of an occasional series of recommendations: It’s e-Learning Stuff and the associated e-Learning Stuff podcast from James Clay, ILT & Learning Resources Manager at Gloucestershire College, and 2009 winner of the ALT Learning Technologist of the Year.

I am an early adopter and self-confessed geek. I love new technologies and often try to find ways to incorporate them into my teaching (and personal learning). But as an educator rather than a learning technologist, the bottom line for me is that I want my students to gain value from my experiments with e-learning technology. The technology should not be an end in itself. As such, I’m only on the periphery of the e-learning technology community. A guest, rather than a fully paid up member, if you like.

I have a digital identity and a personal learning environment that extends across this blog and my Facebook, Twitter, Posterous and FriendFeed accounts. I aggregate my Google shared items, Buzz, delicious account, Flickr, YouTube, SlideShare and Prezi to my FriendFeed. But despite all this, I still spend a frighteningly large amount of time in the institutional Virtual Learning Environment (Blackboard in our case). I tend to bring resources into the VLE on the basis that that’s were I assume students will be coming to find them, rather than trying to work outside it.

To the e-learning community, the VLE is like bronze-age technology that should have been made redundant by the dawn of the machine-gun age. But if most HE institutions are anything like mine, bronze-age weaponry is well in advance of the stone-age (should that be chalk-age) technologies that most of my colleagues are wedded to. It’s therefore refreshing to find learning technologists who are as pragmatic as James is. Sure, he likes his toys, but he also knows where the real world is at. His blog, especially his posts on 100 ways to use a VLE, is inspiring, and his podcast, usually consisting of a discussion with colleagues from the FE community mixed with the occasional recorded conference keynote, is genuinely interesting.

Recent highlights from the podcast include:
You can, or course, subscribe to the podcast at iTunes.

New Blackboard Tools

Some new features (blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, podcasting) were added to my institution’s Blackboard in the last upgrade. It’s very early days but I managed to try some of these out and blog about my first impressions. Here’s my blog entry. It’s hosted on Blackboard so I’m not sure if it will be publicly visible. My apologies if it isn’t! Some of my views are probably influenced by this Slideshare presentation posted by Alan Cann (of Leicester University) which compares Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and Personalised Learning Environments (PLEs).

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