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Brightspace

Enhanced use of Brightspace: structures and tools for delivery 

Fully integrated use of the Online Learning Environment (OLE), Brightspace, should be used to create an online community, or inclusive social learning network. In this space, students can work together to find answers to questions through discussion boards, with lecturers able to moderate and respond as appropriate. Clearly explained course and module narratives will help to shape and manage expectations for learning, behaviours (digital civility), communication in this space, and signpost additional support available.   

All uploaded documents, including Microsoft Word and PowerPoint slides, must meet the requirements of Digital Accessibility Legislation. This includes, for example, the use of styles (e.g. Heading 1) rather than different sized font. Guidance on this, and tutorials for this on using in-software accessibility checkers has been published at https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/celt/brightspace/accessibility

As a platform, Brightspace meets the Digital Accessibility compliance requirements, and includes an in-built tool to check content developed by you, within the platform.  

Baseline Standard

Courses 

For each course we expect the following to be created and available to all students: 

Overview 

This overview area is a space accessible for all current students registered on the course. Students should expect to find:  

  • course handbook (currently this should be in a .pdf format, noting that in future years we will undertake work which will result in our handbook becoming more interactive.) 

Folder requirements 

These folders present exactly the same information for all students registered on the course, regardless of level of study: 

  • full course assessment schedule (for all years of study); 

  • course Committee minutes (.pdf); 

  • RiME documentation (.pdf), 

  • expectations for behaviours in face to face and online learning environments; 

  • signposting to key contacts and additional support, including lecturers, course administrators, Student Services, Librarians, Academic Skills Advisors and IT.  

Communication tools to be used 

Regular and consistent communication helps to manage the student journey and provide clear expectations.  Communication in Brightspace should be consistent through modules and courses. This can be done through: 

  • announcements; 

  • discussion fora; 

  • activity feeds; 

  • intelligent agents. 

Modules 

For each module we expect the following to be available to all students:  

Overview  

  • module handbook (.pdf) 

Folder requirements  

  • module introduction: 

  • introduction video 

  • signposting to key contacts and additional support, including lecturers, course administrators, Student Services, Librarians, Academic Skills Advisors and IT; 

  • assessment schedule and learning outcomes including:  

  • assessment briefs and dates (.pdf) 

  • process for feedback (time, how, where)  

  • guidance on academic misconduct 

  • use of Turnitin drafts 

  • module learning outcomes; 

  • Reading and Resource lists, embedding the lists from LibGuides;  

  • content folders, organised by week of delivery or by topic as appropriate for the delivery mode, or course; 

  • content sub folders for supplementary and additional resources within each week including weekly readings, and digitised readings from Reading and Resource lists (content should be created by Library and Learning Services to ensure copyright legislation compliance); 

  • adaptive release used on week delivery folders to only make them visible to students during the last week of the block, with clear signposting and commentary during delivery to encourage students to engage in their fifth week, post assessment and prepare for the next block.   

Creating content 

Learning content should made using instructional design techniques. This enables the narrative and rationale of the learning to be conveyed to the student and supports them in progressing through the learning activities.  

Module learning content 

Content should be made using principles of instructional design. This means that content is “chunked” into smaller units designed to help students achieve module and course learning outcomes. It should also be designed with Brightspace integral to driving engagement with learning and to support particular activities. This must be consistent across all modules. To do this we expect the following to be applied: 

  • templates (developed centrally based on HTML); 

  • narrative to describe the learning activities enabling students to understand expectations and use of them; 

  • rich multimedia, embedded where possible, including videos (e.g. Learning On Screen) and simulation; 

  • minimal use of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint Slides (remembering these must be compliant with Digital Accessibility Legislation).  

Tools for learning 

Some or all of the tools presented below should be used, as appropriate to the content and learning to be delivered.  

Self-assessment, formative and summative assessment: quizzes 

Regular use of quizzes during blended learning can support students in engaging with content and measuring their own learning gain. They can also be used for formative assessment, tracking learning and understanding. These can be used as: 

  • auto answer; 

  • manual answer, for example as a longer / essay answer; 

Wherever the format of the assessment allows, submission should be online. Access to assessment and unratified grades should be enabled using release conditions.   

Self-assessment, peer- assessment, formative and summative assessment: video 

Individual and group projects with video annotation can be student led and organised within Virtual Classroom. These can be also be peer assessed.  

Access to assessment and unratified grades should be enabled using release conditions.   

Feedback 

Feedback on written assessment should be made using the Brightspace annotations tool. It is also possible to provide feedback using audio tools, in-video feedback on AV assessment, and rubrics.   

Tools for delivery 

Virtual classroom1 should be used in both face to face and online delivery of lectures and seminars. It can also be used to support group work, by both the lecturer and students working on independent group activities as part of blended learning.

Principles for the use of ‘lecture capture’

(Virtual Classroom at the University of Suffolk)


The University is committed to providing students with a flexible and supportive learning experience. This includes the use of Virtual Classroom (Bongo, VC) for the delivery of lectures, and on occasion seminars. The University recognises that this will enable students to engage with live synchronous delivery, but to also revisit learning delivered through lectures and seminars post live delivery or if, exceptionally, engagement with live delivery is not possible. 

The use of recorded sessions (lecture capture) is based on the following guiding principles:  

  1. All lectures should be delivered using VC, and should, normally, be recorded and posted to the Brightspace module / unit folder.  

  1. Where sensitive topics are delivered and discussed using VC there may be a rationale from not recording the live session, or for stopping and then restarting the recording. The decision to not record should be: 

    1. determined as part of the course design process ahead of the scheduled delivery date, 

    2. discussed between the tutor delivering the lecture, and either the Course Leader or Associate dean of Learning Teaching and Student Experience, with a clear rationale provided, 

    3. notified to the students as part of the timetabling or module introduction, 

    4. be replaced by additional learning resources such as slides, video, readings or discussion boards within the module / unit of content in Brightspace.  

  2. Where the chat function is used as part of delivery, this will be included in the uploaded recorded lecture. In exceptional circumstances, the entire chat may be removed from the recorded, by the Learning Design team, through a manual process.  

  1. Recorded lectures are for educational purposes and are not used as part of performance management by the tutor line manager or course team.  

  1. Recorded lectures may be used as part of the University Peer Observation policy and procedure to encourage practice of individual staff members or course teams.  

  1. Recorded lectures are made available for the duration of the academic year, but will not form part of the content rolled across academic years.