A brief history of the BLE
Established in 2004 by LSHTM, SOAS and the Royal Veterinary College, the Bloomsbury Learning Environment service was set up to provide a joint virtual learning platform, Blackboard. The Institute of Education and Birkbeck joined the consortium soon after, and all five partners were using this shared platform. Blackboard was cleverly set up so users didn't realise they were actually using the same system. In addition to Blackboard, a number of additional shared software licences were negotiated and introduced. In 2012, we migrated away from Blackboard and each partner moved onto their own instance of Moodle.
The BLE is no longer a shared platform - although the partner institutions still benefit from preferential software licence deals, negotiated by the Service Manager. Today, it is much more about sharing, collaborating and improving the use of learning technology and the exchange of good practice in digital education to enhance learning and teaching across the partnership institutions. Therefore, 'Bloomsbury Learning Exchange' is a much better fit to represent what we do.
"In my opinion, the modification of the BLE's name is a no-brainer and took the Steering Group no time at all to approve. I'm proud to support and continue to Chair this valuable and successful collaboration". Jonathon Thomas, Chair of the BLE Steering Group.
"The new name offers much stronger reflection and more representative connotations for what the BLE service provides its partner institutions. I'm delighted that the Service continues to make strides in supporting and improving the application of digital learning and teaching". Dr Mandy Bentham, Founder of the BLE.
What does this mean for the service?
Other than some tweaks to our beautiful branding, designed by the BLE's Digital Education Specialist Nancy Weitz, nothing will change. The Service will continue to provide support to staff in the BLE's partner institution (including academics, academic support, learning technologists, librarians and other professional services) and students to explore the opportunities that digital education lends to improving practice. We do this by arranging meetings, events, webinars, workshops, demonstrations and developing resources (such as our MOOC for teaching staff and Digital Skills Awareness course for students).
For more information and to get in touch, please visit our website: www.ble.ac.uk