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Blackboard Vista Bulletin

19 Jul 2007

Find out about the University's new virtual learning environment

A University Community Worldwide

Our Vision: 'To enrich face-to-face teaching and learning through the provision of highly interactive on-line learning environments drawing on international best practice'.

Investing in the future

The University has recently signed contracts with Blackboard, reaffirming its commitment to implement the Blackboard Learning System (Vista), as the virtual learning environment for The University of Manchester.  This single enterprise-wide system provides the basis for an integrated service, which will allow us to monitor and assess performance, manage staff and student access, and share and reuse digital teaching resources. 

Investing in advanced learning technologies, opens up opportunities to provide a high quality service to students wherever they are located.  Staff will be able to enrich and supplement their face-to-face teaching and learning provision with a highly interactive learning environment.  In addition, the scalable nature of the Blackboard Vista platform will enable the University to significantly expand its distance-learning provision. 

Implementing change

Professor Colin Stirling (Associate Vice-President for E-Learning) leads the team managing the implementation of Blackboard Vista. 

Phase One

In the first phase of the implementation, seventeen pilot projects from across all four Faculties will be deployed in Blackboard Vista by the start of the new semester. Owners of the first pilot courses are currently receiving Vista training, and are being supported in this by Blackboard Professional Services and by the University Blackboard implementation team.

Phase Two

A wider group of exemplar projects will then be identified for the second phase of development designed to go live to students at the start of the second semester (February 2008). The implementation team, in close consultation with Faculties and Schools, will shortly begin the process of identifying suitable pilot projects.  At the same time we will undertake an audit of existing WebCT Campus Edition courses to identify those which need to be migrated to Blackboard Vista and in what order they should move. 

Phase Three

The Virtual Learning Environment will go live to all staff in February 2008 and the migration plan for WebCT Campus Edition courses will be completed by the end of the academic year.  A comprehensive training and support programme will be put in place to ensure that individual staff have access to the skills needed to take advantage of this new environment. The Campus Edition of WebCT will continue to be supported until the end of the 2007-08 academic year and is expected to close in September 2008.
A series of showcase events will be arranged after the Phase I pilots go live in September. Further details will appear in future bulletins. If you require any information in the meantime please contact: