After lunch, which again was very nice, it was time for the last two sessions of the conference. The first session I attended was by Clare Horrocks from the School of Media, Critical and Creative Arts, talking about getting a verbal/visual mix in the Communication and Cultural Research module. Clare talked about a number of different resources she uses including 19th Century UK Periodicals which we have a subscription to at LJMU. She uses lots of digital sources and for her the visual layout is as important in teaching as the actual text.
The last session of the conference for me was Steve Moss and Paul Welsh talking about using Blackboard to support the foundation degree in police studies. This is a course that working off-campus I need to be able to support so I wanted to find out more about what they were doing with Blackboard, to aid with any queries I might get from these students. The course has a number of different cohorts, totally around 200 students in all, who start at 5 week intervals. They have set up sections for each cohort with an FAQ section that is continually updated. They used the blog tool in Blackboard for group blogs stimulating discussion around key topics and individual blogs for reflection. Forum engagement is 20% of the mark and currently they are trying to address problems getting the students to engage.
They have overcome many technical issues related to police firewalls as well as our LJMU firewall, but this is always something that needs to be considered before introducing something new. They asked staff who use Blackboard to feed in any good ideas for areas they could adopt for this course.
All in all a very interesting and stimulating conference as always. There are things to bring back to my area that we can use to enhance the student experience, particularly in relation to user education and I hope next year more Library and Student Support staff will be presenting at the conference.