‘Blackboard Learn’ is the institute’s Virtual Learning Environment—vle.iadt.ie. Its main purposes are to add online elements to courses traditionally delivered face-to-face, to develop completely online courses with few or no face-to-face meetings and to collate and grade assessments. Continue reading “The Breif”
This is an initial personal review of IADT’s Blackboard Learn education portal. It documents my own personal reactions and experience in using Blackboard Learn for the first time. It is not meant as an exhaustive in depth analysis.
On September 27th we were assigned our team, my team consisted of myself, David Sheridan & Maria Treacy. David has a background in digital product design, while Maria has a background in fine art and graphic design.I have a varied background in Graphic design, web development, and management. Continue reading “The Team”
As part of the first stage of the brief the team was required to create Personas which represented typical users of the Blackboard Learn system. Each member of the team decided to create one Persona each which we would then collectively refine as a group. We used a Google site for the collaborative storing of research and Xtensio for persona creation.
After completing an individual review of Blackboard Learn the team carried out user research covering various areas and using a variety of research techniques. This research covered user observations, competitor analysis and student surveys, and was eventually combined with the previous initial review to aid us in identifying the key issues. Continue reading “Competitor Analysis”
The problem identification phase of the assignment was again carried out both independently by each member of team and collectively, using a number of methods such as personal reviews, user studies and online reviews of the current Blackboard Learn system. Google sites and Realtimeboard were used to collate and store our findings and to provide a collaborative space to work. Continue reading “Problem Identification”
After identifying our key problem area email as well as the secondary areas of calendar, navigation and confidence. We set about gathering user research information on email use, through online research and surveys and user observations. We used this information combined with our personas to aid us in creating scenarios which would help define features and functions, highlight current issues and focus our efforts on the end user goal.
From the four problem areas, we decided to address the issue of Email. Our secondary choice had been the calendar functionality but we felt that email afforded the best opportunity to address not only the key issue of email but also the calendar, navigation and user confidence issues, through the standardisation and consistency of user interface controls and the integration of calendar event functionality within email. We used the following research techniques and tools to clearly define and record the key issues with the current email system
Our user observations were made up of users from both a college background and those who are not currently in college, IT literacy for all was reasonably high, which reflects our personas level of literacy. They were all given the set core task of logging into Blackboard and sending an email with some carrying out minor extra tasks. We also carried out a user survey of IADT students to obtain further feedback on issues and desired functionality.
For the iterative design phase we had some key pain points which needed to be dealt with as well as the integration of various desirable functionality which would aid users in achieving their goals. We needed to come up with a general idea of how we would tackle these issues and ensure that key tasks and goals where addressed before moving to our first iteration of the paper prototype.
Before beginning the second iteration of the prototype, and the final push to our completed version, we underwent a classroom review as well as heuristic analysis of the prototype. Both these reviews allowed us to identify key issues which would need to be clearly identified in the next iteration.
For the creation of the final prototype we met over both Saturday and Sunday to complete the 3rd iteration. At this stage we had already completed some rough drawings, a paper prototype and heuristically reviewed the prototype. By the end of this final stage we intended to have the completed prototype and carried out a user observation of the prototype in use.
After we had completed the prototype and recorded it being used as intended and documented any issues that we observed. We also decided to take the opportunity to retest the final prototype using one of our original testers.
As a team and as individuals we had a large volume of work to complete with some of us having experience of various areas and others not. We managed to work collaboratively, supporting each other when we encountered areas various team members were weak in. It was an extremely tight deadline but also very rewarding and extremely educational. Continue reading “Reflection”