Blended Learning Guidance News

Changes to our Central Learning Environment

New CLE Product – Canvas – Implementation by September 2025

As part of the ongoing Flexible Learning Project, the University has announced that the preferred product to replace our current Blackboard Learn Original system is Canvas. The entire University will go live with courses on Canvas for the academic year 2025/26. Now begins a huge phase of work to plan how we, as a faculty, will approach the migration from Blackboard to Canvas. This work will be led by the Digital and Flexible segment of the FSE Teaching College. Details of how staff can contribute to this planning and further information will be forthcoming as soon as possible.

It is important to recognise that this change of CLE is being made out of necessity and not desire. Our current contract with Blackboard expires in September 2025.  Renewal of that contract is not an option as the Blackboard Learn Original product is no longer supported and so we would have to migrate to a different system even if we’d have chosen to stay with a Blackboard product.

Comments from Teaching College, Digital and Flexible Learning Co-Leads

“The selection panel unanimously agreed Canvas was the best product, considering our requirements. However, it was not an easy decision, since all three VLEs showed real promise, and were an enormous improvement on the product we use right now.” – Prof Niels Walet, Physics and Astronomy

“The elearning team have some experience of using Canvas, it is considerably different from Blackboard and the migration will be a significant challenge for all of us, but I’m really happy with the outcome and can’t wait to get started” – Dan Jagger, eLearning Team

You can find out more about Canvas in this short video.

Ultra Based Navigation – January 2024

UPDATE: this update to Blackboard will come into effect for Monday 29th January, with probable diruption to Blackboard over the proceeding weekend.

A further, and somewhat frustrating, change to our current VLE will take place in January 2024. In the weekend between the end of exams and the start of Teaching, the University will adopt the Blackboard Ultra Based Navigation tool. Again, this change is out of necessity rather than desire. The current Blackboard landing page (as seen in the image below) will cease to work in Summer 2024. To enable us to have a working CLE for the time period up to our transition to Canvas in September 2025, we need to adopt Ultra Based Navigation to act as a replacement landing page. Once you click on your course unit link, you will be taken through to your existing course spaces – this change will ONLY affect the Blackboard landing page, no work is required from Staff for this change. Further information on some additional features that Ultra Based Navigation provides will be provided soon.

We very much appreciate that changing Blackboard a year before we move to another product seems illogical but do stress that these changes are made out of necessity rather than desire.