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BREO Changes: New Blackboard

This is a blog for staff at the University of Bedfordshire intended to keep them abreast of the progress we are making changing to the new version of Blackboard, Release 9.1

19 August 2011

Streamlined Login Page, Helpdesk and line, Training

Mark Gamble writes:

We've been working to make the BREO login page more streamlined. If you have already logged in, you'll probably still see the old version because it's likely to have been cached by your browser. To make sure you see the new one, you'll need to clear your cache (usually found under your browser's preferences or may be under Tools > Delete Browsing History) and then restart the browser. It actually makes no difference for logging in, but the page is a little easier to use.

Remember, too, there is a Feedback Forum you can use once you've logged in, and for additional help calls we shall shortly have our own module in the online Helpdesk together with a telephone Helpline. Watch this space.



Mark Gamble writes:

We've been working to make the BREO login page more streamlined. If you have already logged in, you'll probably still see the old version because it's likely to have been cached by your browser. To make sure you see the new one, you'll need to clear your cache (usually found under your browser's preferences or may be under Tools > Delete Browsing History) and then restart the browser. It actually makes no difference for logging in, but the page is a little easier to use.

Remember, too, there is a Feedback Forum you can use once you've logged in, and for additional help calls we shall shortly have our own module in the online Helpdesk together with a telephone Helpline. Watch this space.

Posted by Mark Gamble at 12:08

12 August 2011

Blackboard Mobile Learn for smartphones

Mark Gamble writes:

We have just turned on Blackboard Mobile. Although it has always been possible to access BREO on a smart phone or a tablet via a browser, this is far from an ideal experience. Blackboard has created an app that delivers content in a much better way and you can now use it for free. On an Android phone, go to 'Market,' and on an iPhone, go to 'App Store' and search for 'Blackboard.' The app you need is called 'Blackboard Mobile Learn.' Once you have installed it, search for 'Bedfordshire' and log in with your normal credentials. Students see their learning materials and tools and tutors can upload and manage content.

Learn more at http://www.blackboard.com/Platforms/Mobile/Products/Mobile-Learn.aspx



Mark Gamble writes:

We have just turned on Blackboard Mobile. Although it has always been possible to access BREO on a smart phone or a tablet via a browser, this is far from an ideal experience. Blackboard has created an app that delivers content in a much better way and you can now try it out for free. On an Android phone, go to 'Market,' and on an iPhone, go to 'App Store' and search for 'Blackboard.' The app you need is called 'Blackboard Mobile Learn.' Once you have installed it, search for 'Bedfordshire' and log in with your normal credentials.

Learn more at http://www.blackboard.com/Platforms/Mobile/Products/Mobile-Learn.aspx

Posted by Mark Gamble at 16:54

Self Enrol Available

Mark Gamble writes:

Although we had it working in our pre-launch test system, the new system uses updated software and so we have had to rework some of the coding that makes the Self-Enrol module function. And it is now working! As before, you'll find it on the Home page once you've logged in (provided you are recognised as a member of staff), and you should see it at the top of the right-hand column. If you make a mistake, it's a single click to un-enrol yourself.



Mark Gamble writes:

Although we had it working in our pre-launch test system, the new system uses updated software and so we have had to rework some of the coding that makes the Self-Enrol module function. And it is now working! As before, you'll find it on the Home page once you've logged in (provided you are recognised as a member of staff), and you should see it at the top of the right-hand column. If you make a mistake, it's a single click to un-enrol yourself.

Posted by Mark Gamble at 16:37

Old or New?

Mark Gamble writes:

Please do remember that the old version of BREO is still available to both staff and students and if you are currently working with students, either running out an existing unit (perhaps ending in mid-September), or working on referrals, then you and your students should continue to work on old BREO, making sure your students know this.

Login is as it has always been, except that the web address is now oldbreo.beds.ac.uk - there is a link to this from the login page of the new version. Although we have moved the existing units from the old version to the new, it is very unlikely that everything will be exactly as you left it on the old system (and certainly, any transferred, existing Turnitin links WILL NOT WORK on the new system), so do not try and use the 10-11 units on the new version for teaching. The old units have been moved across to help you populate the new shells for 11-12, not to use 10-11 sites with existing cohorts.

NEW Turnitin links made afresh on the new system WILL work and the old links on the old system will still work.

Posted by Mark Gamble at 12:39

Unit Menu Consistency

Mark Gamble writes:

You'll notice when you access your new, empty 2011-12 units on Blackboard 9.1 that the menu structure has changed. Every new shell will have been created with the same set of areas: Announcements; Rationale; Unit Information; Learning Activities; Assessment; Grade Centre; Reading List; Staff; Tools; Support/Advice. These 10 area names are followed by a divider line.

The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, we want to make the unit handbook content much more easily accessible to students online, so the content identified here should be presented on the web page rather than in a .doc file. We believe it is very important, for example, that students understand the rationale for each unit and are perfectly clear about why they are studying it and what they will learn as a result.

Secondly, feedback from students locally and nationally constantly highlights a desire for consistency across their course online learning. Moving from one unit to another while they are studying, especially within a course, students should intuitively know where they are not have to search for the core information relating to each unit.

Notice also, that there is an area titled Learning *Activities* - this is where materials that support learning activities should be organised, ideally by a straightforward structure. And those materials are best integrated into activities whose outcomes are clear and where evidence of learning is easily discernible.

For these reasons, you should not change the menu items as set out in a new shell, and you should make sure that each element has the relevant content, presented in a way that is clear to students. If you want to add more areas, you should add them *beneath* the divider. Our aim is to improve the student experience everywhere we can.



Mark Gamble writes:

You'll notice when you access your new, empty 2011-12 units on Blackboard 9.1 that the menu structure has changed. Every new shell will have been created with the same set of areas: Announcements; Rationale; Unit Information; Learning Activities; Assessment; Grade Centre; Reading List; Staff; Tools; Support/Advice. These 10 area names are followed by a divider line.

The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, we want to make the unit handbook content much more easily accessible to students online, so the content identified here should be presented on the web page rather than in a .doc file. We believe it is very important, for example, that students understand the rationale for each unit and are perfectly clear about why they are studying it and what they will learn as a result.

Secondly, feedback from students locally and nationally constantly highlights a desire for consistency across their course online learning. Moving fro one unit to another, especially within a course, students should not have to search for the core information relating to each unit.

Notice also, that there is an area titled Learning *Activities* - this is where materials that support learning activities should be organised, ideally by a straightforward structure. And those materials are best integrated into activities whose outcomes are clear and where evidence of learning is easily discernible.

For these reasons, you should not change the menu items as set out in a new shell, and you should make sure that each element has the relevant content, presented in a way that is clear to students. If you want to add more areas, you should add them *beneath* the divider. Our aim is to improve the student experience everywhere we can.

Posted by Mark Gamble at 12:24

10 August 2011

BREO is now Blackboard 9.1

Mark Gamble writes:

As you may have seen, after a week's delay, the new version of Blackboard is now live. Some of the work we did on the test system needs to be redone, as the new system is a slightly later version, but we are getting problems ironed out as quickly as we can.

If you would like to give us feedback on what you think of it so far, do feel free to use the feedback box on the Home page. We've already made some changes as a result of comments received so far. We'd also like to know if you like what we've done so far.

Posted by Mark Gamble at 14:48

02 August 2011

Nearly there!

We should be launching the new version of BREO imminently. The data is being verified and checked today by ourselves and the company hosting the system to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.

Whilst every effort is being made to minimize problems, it is inevitable that there may be a small number of glitches that manifest themselves after the upgrade. If you do find any problems, please use our new support address to let us know. The address for all support inquiries is:

breosupport@beds.ac.uk

Please include as much detail as possible.

Once the system has been made live, you will see the new login page after going to http://breo.beds.ac.uk (see attached for screengrab). The old system will be available on http://oldbreo.beds.ac.uk

Once you login, one of the new links you will see on the BREO Home page is for the BREO Feedback Forum. Leave a message on there and let us know what you think of the new system.



Login Page Screengrab

Posted by Nicholas Collis at 13:24

Tree view

Mark Gamble created this on 12 July 2011.
This was last edited on 19 August 2011.
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