Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Are you one of the 1,000?

The first run of our 3-week MOOC, Get Interactive: Practical Teaching With Technology has almost come to an end. Over 1,000 teachers from all over the world* registered to find out how they can make their online courses more engaging and attractive to their students. By providing simple screencasts and materials clearly explaining a range of freely available learning technologies, we have helped participants try out new ways of interacting with their students in exciting, dynamic ways.

If you didn't sign up for the first run, fear not! The course starts again every 4 weeks - and you can enrol now for the next one, which starts on 29th May. By enrolling now, you'll get a head-start on the first week's materials.

For further information, see:

*Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar
, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Taiwan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United States and Vietnam !!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Get In MOOC: Press Release

Get Interactive with new course about teaching with technology
For immediate release
21st April 2017

From 1st May, educators from universities, colleges and schools around the world will have the opportunity to learn how best to incorporate educational technologies into their teaching.

The Bloomsbury Learning Environment (BLE) has co-designed the course Get Interactive: Practical Teaching with Technology, which will be delivered as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) through Coursera. The course is a practical, hands-on introduction to teaching with technology, providing the opportunity to explore a range of tools and technology that support and engage students with dynamic and interactive learning experiences.

This course, which is available to educators worldwide, will help enable teaching professionals to stay up to date with the fast-paced technological world we live in. It is aimed at teachers, lecturers and instructors who have little experience using online tools and technology for teaching purposes but who have basic familiarity with the Internet and online learning environments.

The three week long interactive course consists of a series of video tutorials and activities which participants can work through at their own pace, with opportunities for discussion with their peers throughout.

Each week of the course focuses on a particular topic, and there is a weekly peer-reviewed assessment:

Week 1 – Enriching course content with multimedia:

·         The course will look at a variety of media that can be used to engage and excite students. These include creating images, videos and screencasts, and embedding Twitter feeds.

Week 2 – Student production of content: encouraging students to collaborate:

·         During this week, participants will explore how to encourage students to work together and actively participate in their learning.

Week 3 - Formative assessment and feedback:

·         In the final week of the course, participants will consider their experiences in the course and how they might adapt and develop their own practice.

Sarah Sherman, BLE Service Manager, said: “We are excited to launch our new course to help educators around the world take full advantage of the great technology we have available to us. This is a perfect opportunity to learn good practice and explore how to incorporate innovative methods into teaching, and engage students through technology.”

For more information about the course, visit: and to register, visit


Notes to Editors

Bloomsbury Learning Environment
·         The Bloomsbury Learning Environment (BLE) is a shared e-learning service for six Higher Education institutions in central London, all of which are members of the University of London. The BLE is committed to innovating learning and teaching by sharing good practice in Technology Enhanced Learning and e-learning. It supports its partners by providing cost efficiencies, which are achieved by negotiating with software suppliers and sharing economies of scale. The BLE aims to work collaboratively, developing new and exciting ways of teaching and learning that would otherwise be difficult for the partners to achieve alone (the whole being greater than the sum of its parts).

Monday, 10 April 2017

Get Interactive: Practical Teaching with Technology

The BLE is excited to announce its new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will start 1st May. The course is a 3-week romp through some of the popular technologies that educators use to make their learning engaging, interactive and dynamic.
Each week will focus on a particular topic:
1.       Using multimedia for teaching and learning
2.       Encouraging student collaboration
3.       Formative assessment and feedback

Participants will read, watch videos, research, do activities, discuss and complete a practical, peer reviewed assessment each week. The emphasis is on gaining a wide range of experience. Although a few concepts are introduced along the way, this is a hands-on course, and participants should find many ideas to incorporate into their teaching.

This course is aimed at teachers, lecturers and instructors who have little experience using online tools and technology for teaching purposes but who have basic familiarity with the Internet and online learning environments.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Demystifying UX Design and Testing Conference Round Up

In the first event of its kind, co-managed by the Bloomsbury Learning Environment the University of London, learning technologists and digital workers were brought together to discuss User Experience (UX) processes in an accessible way.

City, University of London President Professor Sir Paul Curran opened the event commenting:"City, University of London has adopted UX approaches not only to support marketing and communications activities but in our academic learning environments. City is proud to run one of the UK’s few Master’s programmes in this field and to conduct cutting-edge research at the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design".

Ryan Taylor, Head of Digital at City illustrated the user experience journey the institution has implemented to transform their digital assets.

Leading on from Ryan, Professor Jonny Freeman from i2 Media Research at Goldsmiths University of London, stressed that UX is the whole span of production and experience lifecycle, not just design. He referred to Ryan’s independency circle where areas cross over and took this further to talk about CUBI research by Corey Stern.

User Goals
Business Goals

Andy McGregor, Deputy CIO at Jisc shared his experience with the Google ventures 'Sprint' model, which was used to run Jisc’s Summer of Student Innovation project. Based on their learnings, the team is going to produce a toolkit for universities to enable them to run their own sprints which will include capturing initial ideas through to the stages of developing user journeys.

Tying up the morning session, Alessandra Alari, Head of Search Activation at Google and part-time student at City’s Master’s programme in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Design discussed the building of the next generation mobile web.

Afternoon workshops included hands-on exercises on:
  • writing for the web, including tips for being on brand and using frameworks such as Bootstrap led by Leonard Houx, Senior Instructional Designer at Cass Business School
  • usability research: what is it and why it's important by Dimitra Bazani, UX Researcher at City, HCI Design Centre
  • the concept of segmentation and how to categorise a collection of users into a set of personas by Dr Jane Lessiter from i2 Media research
  • how to embed UX approaches to HE institutions led by Michael Frantzis from Precedent
So why is UX important to Higher Education?

As research organisations, we should be talking to our “customers” and understanding their needs. By doing this we can inform ourselves with good design and develop elegant integrated systems which are focused on what the customer needs.

There is a lot of competition in HE and it is our job to take what is complicated and make it easy to understand, so that our students can quickly make informed decisions about their future learning.

Great e-learning experiences allow students to focus their time on the key learning objectives and outcomes of the course. We don’t want to distract them with technological obstacles created by a poor user experience.

With thanks to Melanie Read, University of London

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Demystifying User Experience Design and Testing

digital faces
The BLE is organising an exciting one-day event on 23rd March, in partnership with the University of London, on User Experience (UX). The aim of the day is to introduce User Experience (UX) processes in an accessible way. We will be focusing on the process and techniques rather than the design, so it's the perfect event for newcomers to UX or those interested in learning more about it. The intended audience includes learning technologists, IT professionals, librarians, heads of digital, comms/marketing staff and web developers. The main UX elements that we will cover are Research, Design, Testing and Evaluation.

Aims and Objectives:
To provide an opportunity for staff to understand what is meant by UX design and testing
To improve the skill-set of key staff in training them in UX methodologies
To offer workshops for staff working in similar areas to learn more about UX in their own context
​To provide networking opportunities

Morning Agenda:
0930 Registration

1000 Welcome & Introductions:
Sarah Sherman, Service Manager (BLE); Melanie Read, Head of Digital (University of London); Prof Paul Curran, President (City, University of London)

1020 Keynote speaker 1: Ryan Taylor, Head of Digital, Marketing & Communications (City, University of London)

1035 Keynote speaker 2: Prof Jonny Freeman, Professor of Psychology & Managing Director, i2 media research (Goldsmiths)

1055 Keynote speaker 3: Andy McGregor, Deputy CIO (Jisc)

1115 Keynote speaker 4: Alessandra Alari, Head of Search Activation (Google)

1135 Comfort break

1150 Panel discussion:
Andy McGregor, Jonny Freeman, Ryan Taylor with Jane Van de Ban, Web and Social Media Manager (Birkbeck)

1235 Closing remarks

Afternoon Workshops:

1. Developing the online learning environment using UX approaches  
Led by Leonard Houx, Senior Instructional Designer (Cass Business School, City University London)
In this workshop, which will require a laptop or tablet, Leonard will lead presentations, discussions and activities for a number of areas crucial to developing a VLE. For example, best practice in writing for the web; adhering to branding guidelines; using an html editor and bootstrap; making sure the correct typography is used.

2. Research & Evaluation: Making use of analytics and testing techniques 
Led by Dimitra Bazani, UX Architect and Shermaine Waugh, UX Researcher (City, University of London)
Dimitra and Shermaine will explain what usability research is, why it's important and will describe the different ways that it can be managed. Using case studies and results fromtheir own research to demonstrate best practice for UX-informed research, they will alsoexplore the tools that can be used.

3. Designing for UX
Led by Dr Jane Lessiter, Senior Research Psychologist (i2 Media Research, Goldsmiths University of London)
Jane will introduce the concept of segmentation, which is an approach used to categorise a collection of users into a set of personas. She will do this by drawing on previous research projects conducted by her team and sharing the processes and procedures they have used.

4. Strategy for UX 
Led by Michael Frantzis, Senior UX Consultant (Precedent)
This session will provide the opportunity for Heads of Digital (and equivalents) to discuss how to embed UX approaches into an HE institution. Michael will guide attendees into shaping a strategy which they can take away with them, drawing on his experience as a UX consultant and the former deputy director of Goldsmith's International Programmes in Computing.

Afternoon Agenda:

1330 Welcome & Introductions
1350 Move into break-out workshops
1530 Coffee and reassemble in lecture theatre
1600 Plenary session
1630 Post-event drinks

To register interest in attending either the morning, afternoon or both, please email Sarah Sherman:
s.sherman (at)