Universiteit Leiden

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Students and lecturers evaluate Brightspace

Following evaluations of students and lecturers’ first impressions of Brightspace, the project team now plans to make this digital learning environment more user-friendly. Brightspace will fully replace Blackboard in academic year 2020-2021.

Brightspace has been supporting the teaching since this academic year, and students and lecturers from almost all of the faculties have been trying it out for 60 courses. The project team is using this phase to gather feedback to ensure that, wherever possible, Brightspace will meet the University’s needs.

Surveys about information and use

Students and lecturers completed a survey in September and in November: the first was about the communication and information about Brightspace and the second about using and navigating within Brightspace. In the second survey, 357 students gave Brightspace an average mark of 6.6 and lecturers a 7.2.

Lecturers

Around a quarter of the lecturers did not think that the week/theme model was the best fit for their course, and said they would prefer to define the structure themselves. The project team therefore recommends the option of a ‘flat’ model. The lecturers said it was easy to navigate through Brightspace, but that the tiles on the homepage and ‘course home’ take up too much space. The large font also means too much scrolling or clicking.

Students

The students also thought they had to scroll too much to find information. And although they liked the homepage, 40% of the students had specific suggestions on how to improve the ‘course home’ and the navigation. They asked for a search option within a course.

Recommendations

In an advisory report the Brightspace project team has made various recommendations on how to improve the user experience in Brightspace. These are based on the feedback from both groups. The team has asked the developer for a search option for documents, space will be made available within the courses for web lectures, assignment and exams, and a sample structure in the course environment will help the lecturers.

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