Monday, 18 August 2014

LearnUCS 2014/15 Module Template - Focused yet Flexible

We have used module templates in LearnUCS for a number of years, they allow us to pre-build materials into all modules/courses that get released for the new academic year.

Once a template is created and then used to generate new module and course sites, those module are then set to that content.  UCS are a managed hosted client of Blackboard's, so we have no write access to the central databases, making global changes to modules/courses not possible.

Following a small review of the VLE, we were aware of feedback that was suggesting more timely, focused support for both staff and students.  Being timely, means that content needs to change at different points of the year.  This in turn makes templates difficult, as be definition they tend to be static once created.

This year the Elevate team have taken a different approach, meaning the content in the templates can be changed, globally.  We are able to be both focused and flexible, to achieve this we are using RSS feeds from this blog.

We have setup three keyword labels:
  • StudentsLearnUCS
  • StaffLearnUCSSupport
  • StudentSubmissionLearnUCS
We have a RSS feed building block in LearnUCS, this has been deployed three times in the template:
  • Assessment Folder
  • Help Folder
  • Staff EMA Support Folder (hidden from students)
Any blog post that uses one or more of those labels will mean that post is automatically displayed in the list of FAQs in one or more of the folders in every module/course.

The advantage of using RSS to control support page content is that we are able to amend, remove or add new content at any time to the 1300 module sites in LearnUCS.

We are able to make them timely, by re-ordering them or adding new content to the top of the list to coincide with assessment times.

By changing the date of the post to the blog, enables us to re-order the FAQs.

Below is an image showing how they are displayed in the module sites.

This year we have also introduced a new menu item, as shown below:

This set to "hidden", so it is only available to academic staff and not students.  This area again pulls in support material from this blog via RSS.  These materials are designed to offer support specifically for EMA - Electronic Management of Assessments.  These new materials were designed after an EMA review this summer, which showed that academic staff were asking for more support material.

No comments:

Post a Comment