Aston University

Two virtual learning environments. Two user communities.
One brilliant move for online learning.

Academic adoption was lower than desired despite clear student feedback requesting a higher online component. Aston University had two online learning environments, split approximately 50:50, with each being managed locally by schools and having reached their respective adoption plateaus. As a result, there was uncertainty about how the University would further develop its eLearning capability and capacity. There was also concern about how it would be able to meet student and staff expectations. Without a clear path forward, the opportunities to enhance learning and teaching through technology would be elusive.

Aston engaged Blackboard Consulting’s Strategic Planning team to review and assess the drivers, objectives, institution-wide implications, priorities, organizational issues, key decisions, and options. Following the Strategic Review, the consensus was to move to a single online platform. The findings from this Strategic Planning phase were critical in establishing the framework for subsequent Project and Technical Planning stages. They were used to develop timelines, determine success criteria, and start a transition that was focused on increased user adoption and engagement.

Blackboard Consulting’s Strategic Planning services laid the foundation for the smooth convergence of two Virtual Learning Environments, but more importantly two distinct user communities, resulting in the seamless implementation of the Blackboard Learn™ platform and the success of online learning at Aston. By working together as a team, Aston and Blackboard had a clear understanding of the University’s current baseline, issues and opportunities. They were able to design and implement a customized plan to bring the University’s two Virtual Learning Environment communities together on a single platform. Now students, faculty and staff are actively engaged in online learning as a single community, and thriving as they explore and use the many new tools and opportunities for collaboration, communications and learning.

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For more information about Strategic & Implementation Planning solutions, consult your Blackboard Learn Representative or contact Blackboard today.