Sunday, May 11, 2008

Use of Blackboard at Utrecht University

We have analysed the logs of the Blackboard server over the past few years and this gives an interesting insight into the use of the VLE. The results (in Dutch I am afraid) are reasonably comparable to outcomes of research at other universities. An interesting note is the fact that all courses at Social Sciences have been supported by Blackboard for a number of years now. That accounts for the early growth.
We have also tried to gain some insight in the use of different tools using the log data. Interestingly the use of discussion boards really has grown and is still growing. This doesn´t give an immediate answer as to how they are used as they are used for general FAQs, debating, collaboration, file sharing, etc.
All in all the results nicely mirror the use of Blackboard as a tool use to support all F2F learning, with the odd exploit into blended learning. The outcomes come at a great time as we are in the middle of an process to make a decision on a future single VLE for Utrecht University.


wrubens said...

Hi Keith,

Interesting. Why do you think that BB is used less in the last months of an academic year (from March)?
BTW: good to see you blogging more intensively again!

Keith Russell said...

Traditionally, in the course of the academic year there is less activity by students. A number of students drop out in the course of the year. The courses with more teaching and assignments (and more sending of information, communication, feedback etc) are in the first periods. The courses which are based on students working individually or in small groups with less teaching involved (e.g. writing thesis, fieldwork, work experience) are in the later part of the academic year. This is a hypothesis on my behalf, I would have to analyse the courses to be sure.
ad BTW: yep, I have been rather busy at home and at work (I will write a posting on that just to keep everybody informed ;-)