Learn.UQ upgrade timeline 2017

Learn.UQ (Blackboard) Upgrade Christmas Vacation 2017

Blackboard will be unavailable for maintenance from December 27th to 29th, during the mid-Summer Semester recess. During this period the upgrade intended for July will be applied along with some other changes required to maintain key functionality like online assignment marking.

Lecture Recording Enhancement 2017

The University of Queensland currently uses Echo360 for lecture recording. Echo360 is moving to a cloud-based offering, and UQ will therefore be upgrading to the new cloud-based Echo360 solution for summer semester 2017/2018 and beyond.

What’s new?

Most existing features will remain with lecture capture and personal (desktop) capture functionality; however the new system also includes user interface improvements, and reporting tools to measure student engagement before, during and after the teaching activity occurs. 

Active Learning Tools

In support of the University's strategy to offer high value in-class experiences, this investigation seeks tools for in-class teaching and collaboration (active learning). Examples include screen sharing software, free text response, in class polling tool, collaborative writing in large cohorts / classes etc. This also includes team/group - focused collaborative solutions (in large classes) that support creating and sharing sketches, diagrams, maths and symbols online.

Adaptive learning tools

There is increasing interest in adaptive learning tools that represent information to students on a personal basis depending on their interactions. Currently the Blackboard quiz allows feedback directing students to revision material based on responses. The iSpring advanced authoring tool (free to UQ staff) offers a more advanced version of this capability. Smartsparrow is available in the MBS faculty. The Cerego adaptive learning tool was being added to EdX and is also available for Blackboard at no cost.

Blackboard Course Analytics

ITS is building new analytics functionality with flexible reporting in every course. This interface will show eLearning data from a variety of central eLearning systems, and serve a variety of stakeholders including: faculty based developers (e.g. ELIPSE); ITaLI analytics team; researchers; and other service providers (e.g. Student Services). A beta version of ELK is up and running and in use by ELIPSE. ITS is also experimenting with collecting data from a wider range of eLearning systems (e.g. Kaltura/Echo) based on ELK data and using vendor APIs.

Content Management System (CMS)

An eLearning CMS would allow course coordinators, schools and faculties to store and share course content centrally. Sharing content between courses at UQ might help improve content quality and achieve economies of scale. A business case would be required.

eExam pilot in the Faculty of Medicine

eExams pilot in the Faculty of Medicine

Throughout 2016, the Teaching and Learning Committee and Faculty of Medicine co-funded a proof-of-concept pilot within the medical program. This pilot was designed to test the concept and viability of invigilated, on campus, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) based online exams (e-exams). The Faculty of Medicine partnered with ITaLI, ITS, and UQ Examinations for governance and practical support where required.

Elearning Technology Roadmap

This page sets out the current state of thinking for the eLearning technology roadmap for UQ. This is a living document updated quarterly, with the most recent update in March 2017.

Informing the Roadmap

Grades Management

It may be helpful to provide a grade management system supplemental to Blackboard, if demand can be identified, and if requirements are sufficiently similar across schools. Currently there are some limitations with Blackboards inbuilt grades management system, Gradecentre. 

High Value Classroom Experiences

To achieve the University’s vision of being a high value place-based learning institution, distinguished from distance education, it needs to enhance the in-class learning experience. For UQ to move forward with the vision in broad scalable and sustainable fashion a number of service adjustments may be required:

In-class hardware

ITS is monitoring options to enhance / support physical learning spaces with in-class hardware, e.g. visualisers, tablet, stylus, interactive whiteboards.

Large classes

Large Classes pose an administrative challenge in terms of difficulties with group manipulation, marking and keeping accurate statistics. A number of technologies show promise of reducing these costs, including Peer Assessment in Blackboard and Turnitin.

Lecture recording expansion

ITS is continuing to expand automatic lecture recording during 2015 to include all centrally controlled theatres of 20 seats or more. ITS and the faculties have also been testing the new live streaming feature to broadcast a single lecture to multiple campuses, or to allow busy postgraduate or remote students to attend classes live, interacting with student response tools. Further expansion plans need to take into account the Lecture Technology Services roadmap.

Lecture Technology Services Roadmap

The University of Queensland has benefited early adoption of a very extensive automated lecture capture system. Our students clearly enjoy the benefits this capability gives them in terms of flexibility of learning (distance learning) and enhanced self-paced revision. Two new developments however may require adjustments to this approach:

Mobile marking

This capability is to allow instructors to mark large class project groups in the field without having to navigate the Bb Grade Centre and Rubrics.

New LMS - Moodle or other

From time to time people ask if UQ has considered alternate Learning Management Systems (LMSs). The current strategy is standardise the student eLearning experience around Blackboard, but to add more advanced capabilities through external tools connected using the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard. This is believed to be the fastest and lowest-impact way to enhance our blended learning experience, and has been endorsed by the Technology Enhanced Learning Strategy Committee (2013). They key arguments informing this strategy are:

Open badges and achievements

Faculty can assign and students can earn Open Badges to signal the completion of a course or that the key learning milestones have been met. Students can see which rewards they’ve earned and what is required of them to receive additional rewards, providing insight into learning progression toward defined competencies. Students can view and share earned badges and publish badges to the Mozilla Open Backpack, transporting evidence of their learning outside UQ. Instructors can see which students have reached learning milestones.

Open Education and CPD

Open Education is the free open cloud based instructional environment that comes with UQ's Blackboard Learning Management System. Open Education allows you to publish a course for any student to consume anywhere. Courses can be self enrol, or enrolment vetted by the instructor. Open Education is scalable to any number of students, and always uses the latest version of Blackboard. Courses can be branded by institution or branded for the client in the case of corporate education. The service comes with online support.

Peer (student) assessment - of each others work / reflection tools

While a peer assessment is available in Turnitin (Peermark), it is not aware of groups (for group assignments). For instance a students may be assigned to groups to develop assessable material that is reviewed by students in other groups. While tools like PAF measure relative contributions to group work, they don't facilitate peer review of the work of other groups. A tool that is aware of groups and allows the students to rate and give feedback on other group work may be helpful. UQ does have some bespoke tools for this purpose (e.g.

Peer assessment - contribution to group work

UQ Group Peer Assessment tool, a fully integrated version of WebPAf will be available to all Learn.UQ courses from Semester 1 2016 onwards.
Information on accessing the updated tool will be emailed to all current WebPAf users in the beginning of February 2016 and publicised in the ITS eLearning newsletter.

The new tool will be centrally supported by ITS and includes the following features:

Smart device policy (BYOD equity programme) and UQ advantage suite

To achieve the University’s vision of being a high value place-based learning institution, distinguished from distance education, it needs to optimise the in-class learning experience. While UQ instructors now have access to a range of in-class active learning technologies, UQ students now need support services and policies to complete the vision. Although pure distance education is possible with static in-place computers (e.g. desktops at home or in labs or in library), modern active learning technology in the classroom depends on students having a smart device (e.g.

Student response system - clickers

The entry level student response system available free for all UQ instructors is UQPoll. For more advanced users, the University has a licence for 2000 concurrent students to use the Responseware web based classroom response system.  ITS is also facilitating the pilot of the Echo Active Learning Platform (ALP) during Semester 2-2015, and all instructors have free access to Lecture Tools until Echo ALP is available.

Technology Enhanced Learning Grants

Proposals for 2015 Technology Enhanced Learning Grants (TEL Grants) will be invited in February-March 2015. TEL Grants were previously called Gated Pipeline eLearning Submissions.

Successful projects for the 2014 second round were announced at Teaching and Learning Week in November 2014.

Training and change management - 2014

To help course coordinators come up to speed with the new tools available for teaching, ITS expanded its eLearning training programme to include a second trainer during 2014. The additional resource enabled custom school and faculty training, and prepare on demand video guides, advanced topics, and capability guides. During 2015 a third resource is being added to allow priority support for a set list of tools.

UQ ePortfolio Deployment 2017

The University of Queensland is implementing Chalk and Wire as the enterprise ePortfolio solution.  For further information refer to the ePortfolio tool page.

UQ LMS beyond 2014

There are a number of issues to consider when contemplating an alternate LMS.

Video generation

As the university move towards flipped classroom, services that support pre-recorded short videos, combined with quizzes are likely to be useful (Hattie 2009). ITS is investigating services that can help instructors record, including provision of lapel mikes, backdrops, and micro recording studios. Desktop recording software is already available.

Online exams

The Faculty of Medicine is currently piloting e-exams within a small number of courses.  For more information on this pilot please visit the e-exams in the Faculty of Medicine pilot page.

Online exams at UQ