Review of ACES 2014/15 Blackboard sites

I am one of two TEL graduate interns who have been reviewing all Blackboard sites across the institution over the last 6 months. As the reviews for all 2014/15 ACES module sites are now complete, it seems I should explain a little about what has been going on!

The reviews are part of an ongoing process of establishing some ‘Threshold Standards’ for staff use of e-learning as a university policy. Introduced as ‘expectations’ in 2013, these lay out some crucial content to be included on all Blackboard sites, for a more consistent online student learning experience.

The review process was piloted last year in D&S, and was considered to have really helped staff with improving their Blackboard module sites. Additionally, the expectations were revised based on staff feedback.

Funding was then secured to scale up the project on an institutional level, and was when Laura McNally and I were hired as TEL Graduate Interns! With two faculty’s each, we have had the task of reviewing and reporting on all 2014/15 module sites at SHU – approximately 3000!


Each module leader has or will receive a report on how well they were meeting the expectations, and what they could do to meet more of them. Departmental reports have also been written to indicate where support at a higher level may be needed this academic year.

The reports are to support staff with improving their sites, and indicate what they can do for the policy expectations to be met! The expectations themselves are largely regarding administrative content, and are to enhance consistency in this respect across module sites! This can be seen in my previous blog series on meeting the expectations.

I have encountered some excellent practice on ACES Blackboard sites. This has also included a lot of examples of staff going beyond what is expected of them, with their use of technologies for learning!

This blog is an excellent area to share such e-learning practice, and I will thus be posting case studies about ACES staff using technology in and out of the classroom! If you also have any personal experience of this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I have also since been employed at a faculty level as an ACES TEL intern. Along with Lee Coddington, I am thus also able to provide further support to faculty staff with meeting and/or exceeding the university’s minimum expectations!

Chloe Benning

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