Achievements tool

As part of the recent Blackboard upgrade, a new feature called Achievements will be made available. This tool allows staff to create digital badges that can be awarded to students, either manually or automatically according to a defined set of criteria, to either recognise student achievement or provide them with a way to track their progress within a module.

While there are Achievements for completing the module, probably more interesting and useful are the ‘Milestone’ ones that are used during the module. Combinations of different criteria can be used when setting the rules for a particular Milestone, including dates and membership of particular groups, but the most useful are likely to be the ones related to assessments and course content. These final criterion-types can be used to encourage students to engage with formative tests and additional materials within the module, by issuing an Achievement if they view all the supplementary readings or obtain a defined minimum mark in all of the formative tests. As the tool includes a report on who has obtained each Achievement, then a combined rule that is triggered when a student looks at some specific resources and achieves a threshold mark in a test can also be a simple way for lecturers using a Flipped model to check engagement prior to the face-to-face session.

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Blackboard upgrade – Changes to Blackboard Collaborate

After the upcoming Blackboard upgrade is complete, there will be improvements around using Blackboard Collaborate inside Blackboard sites.

Currently, staff can only have a single session of Collaborate Ultra. After the upgrade, staff will be able to schedule different sessions in their Blackboard site.

Staff and students will also be able to download Collaborate Ultra recordings as MP4 files as well as have access to recordings with the chat aligned to the recording.

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Thoughts from the LTA conference

Last Tuesday, the ACES TEL Team were involved in a workshop that looked at Blackboard sites within the Media Arts and Communication department. Earlier in January, we began the Threshold Standards projects and reviewed 25% of all ACES module sites. Through the Threshold Standards reports, we were able to identify some elements of Blackboard sites that were above and beyond expectations! The workshop highlighted some of this best practice and discussed the importance of creating engaging and exciting module sites for students.

We will be looking to share our workshop session within the next few weeks, and devise some Threshold Standards workshops to work to continually improve our Blackboard sites.

If you would like any more information about our session, or advice surrounding the Threshold Standards, please contact


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Changes to the Print to Mark Service

Print to Mark

In 2015, working with the Print Shop, the Assessment Journey Programme launched a Print to Mark service to support academic staff making the transition to online management of assessment by providing printed assignments for marking purposes, prior to electronic feedback being provided online.

This service will continue to be made available after the Assessment Journey Programme ends, however, there will be some changes for 2017/18 following the implementation of new software by the Print Shop.

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Get into!

4415.6 LyndaWebBanner NO LOGOIf you haven’t already discovered, you can sign up easily with your University account! Simply click on the Online IT training (Lynda) link, and sign in with your University details.

Make the most of the videos for personal benefit, or signpost to your students.

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Refined business contingency process now in place to support assessment

AJP business contingency process

Over the past few months, the Assessment Journey Programme team has been working with a number of key stakeholders across the University to define and test a business contingency process that will be implemented in the event of system downtime.

The agreed process will ensure that there is a consistent approach should Blackboard be unavailable for the submission of student work or the marking or provision of feedback by academic staff.

Details on the agreed process can be found in Assessment Essentials.


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Student Video Guides

Student guides (2)

Click on the YouTube playlist (below) to access a series of video guides created specifically to help your students with online assessment/ feedback. You can embed these within your Blackboard sites for easy access or simply provide a link to a specific video.

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Google Keep – Note Taking Application

Image result for google keep logoGoogle Keep is an on-the-go note taking application. It allows you to capture information in a variety of ways, including through audio, photographs, note taking and making lists. You can also set up location based reminders, time reminders and share your notes with other users.

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