Bloomsbury Learning Environment (BLE)
The Bloomsbury Learning Environment (BLE) is made up of a number of shared electronic resources including a learning platform (Moodle, as of November 2012, and initially Blackboard Academic Suite).
A collaboration was established by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the Royal Veterinary College and the School of Oriental & African Studies in 2004, and joined by the Institute of Education in 2005 and Birkbeck in 2007 to provide benefits including sharing technical support, pedagogical expertise, cost efficiencies on licence fees and collaborative funding opportunities. The Colleges also share costs for remote hosting of Moodle freeing up dependency on IT infrastructures and support within the Colleges. Each College has its own unique site but they are managed under one licence
The learning platform is used by students to remotely access lecture notes, presentations, podcasts, webconferences, and other course-related materials and activities, added to dedicated course areas by their tutors. Students can submit electronic copies of their assignments and view tutor feedback and grade on the platform. The BLE can be used to track students’ progress, monitored by both students and their tutors. A variety of tools are available, which provide opportunity for student-led content, both individually and collaboratively authored. These tools include discussion boards, wikis (areas which can be collaboratively edited) and blogs (online journals). The BLE supports and encourages collaborative and personalised learning, which supports students of all learning styles and abilities. Other shared resources in Bloomsbury include Balckboard Collaborate (webconferencing software), Echo360 (lecture capture technology), Wimba Create (web authoring software) and Turnitin (plagiarism detection software).
Meet the Award Winning Team
A group of senior managers from each of the Colleges, who meet on a monthly basis, steer the work of the BLE. The BLE Technical Group (picture right), which reports to the Steering Group, meets monthly to ensure the BLE resources are running to optimal functionality. The BLE provides a fantastic example of the Bloomsbury Colleges collaborating and assisting each other in the application of online learning and teaching. The team was honoured with a valuable acknowledgement from the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) at their annual award ceremony 2010. (The BLE Blackboard site is the first example of a cross-institutional implementation of the Blackboard Academic Suite in the UK).
The judges were impressed by the way in which five somewhat disparate organisations have been able to work together and agree on products to be acquired, and their ongoing support arrangements. They were struck by the programme of joint events and workshops, the balance between development and the involvement with the community. Read the full report: http://repository.alt.ac.uk/817/
The Bloomsbury team October 2012