The external designers tasked with creating a special look and feel for Westminster on Blackboard have conducted a survey with our students. The students were asked to give their views on 10 quite different looking websites so as to gauge the ‘mood’ of students in respect of a range of styles. Over 350 students responded to the survey (see the survey) and the 3 websites below came out as the top 3.
Manchester City Council
Some delays have occurred in preparation of the tender for the classrooms refurbishment. In light of feedback and detailed costing the project should now be able to go forward with plans for the re-development of 22 rooms across the estate. The tender is now scheduled for issue on the 21st May and the revised outline plan for the project is as follows:
Tender: 4 weeks (22.05-19.06)
Negotiation: 1 week (22.06-26.06) (Appoint contractor 26.06)
Contractor’s mobilisation: 2 weeks (29.06-10.07)
Construction period: 8 weeks (13.07- 04.09).
Although appreciable numbers of our staff and students have been involved already in providing feedback and ideas on the the changes to be made to Blackboard, there will still be an awful lot of folk out there who wont know in detail what is happening.
In the last couple of weeks there has been progress across all strands of the Blackboard portal project.
We are on the verge of appointing up to 14 students to help over the Summer engaging with academic staff to help them learn more about the basics of Blackboard with a specific remit to ‘tidy up’ the navigation menu in sites to make them look simpler and cleaner.
The external design company that will provide the new look and feel for Blackboard have made available a ‘mood’ questionnaire to our students to get a feel for ‘likes and dislikes’ across the student base with respect to web design.
One of our students, from Media Art and Design, has entered a JISC competition to win further support for his idea for ‘Chapter 2’, an online resource to support student prior to arrival at the University. You can find out more and vote for his idea via this web page.
A formal procurement is now being undertaken for the the FST Flexible Learning Mobile Tablet device project. This procurement is being run using the Crescent Purchasing Consortium – Desktop Hardware and Peripherals Framework and the invitation to tender has been issued to Suppliers that are listed on both the Apple Equipment Lot and the Maintenance & Installation Services Lot.
A preferred supplier will be selected towards the end of May 2015. This should enable the project to move ahead to deliver iPADs to existing staff and current level 5 students in FST from mid-June.
The Blackboard portal work continues with its various strands. Soon the project will appoint a number of student helpers to engage with staff on a ‘tidy-up’ of Blackboard sites over the Summer. They will be offering drop-ins and surgeries to support staff in making their site simpler and more consistent.
For our pre-arrival Blackboard offering work has started to identify some of the likely content of the pre-arrival experience. This is likely to include links mainly to existing information needed for enrolment and induction; specific information for international students and a range of help resources which will give students the opportunity to find out about services (including of course Blackboard), processes and procedures which they would normally only become familiar with in face to face induction week.
We also plan to have some ‘fun’ things for pre-arrival and students are helping us design a treasure hunt online for which there will be attractive winner prizes.
The project now has an advanced plan for the information architecture of the new Blackboard and meetings have been arranged with an external design company to begin to look at how to provide each Faculty with their own look and feel.
More updates to follow soon.
The Classrooms projects is nearing the end of the phase which will see plans go out to tender. Rock Townsend (external design consultancy) and Hewshott (external AV/IT consultants) have worked on the specifications for each room provided by the Faculties. Preliminary drawings were issues just over a week ago to Faculty contacts and the feedback is being used now to finalise detailed drawings for each room.
The detailed drawings for each room will go back to Faculties on the 6th May for a final look before the plans go off with the tender pack to a range of suppliers.
The principal Faculty contacts for this work to date have been:
FABE – Adam Clemens, Harry Charrington and Sarah Speed
WBS – Deirdre Sinclair and David Hitchcock
SSH – Tom Moore and Diane Buckley
FST – Thierry Delaitre and Mark Clements
MAD – Silke Lange and Mandy Addison