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Adapting and augmenting Brightspace to better support a diverse student group

Will Moindrot, Educational Technologist

Dan Robinson, Technology Enhanced Learning Manager

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, founded in 1898, was the first

institution in the world dedicated to research and teaching in the field of
tropical medicine. But our journey has only just begun.
In 2013, LSTM gained Higher Education Institute status from the UK government allowing us to go-italone from our former parent institution, University of Liverpool. With procuring new systems, we had an
opportunity to design and tailor the learning environment to the specific needs of our students.
Our educational portfolio ranges from professional courses lasting between several days to several months,
to year-long masters level degrees. We welcome students from around the world, many of whom come
from low resource poor settings, and with expansion into distance learning and in-country delivery we are
presented with new challenges.
On the next few slides we will show you a number of approaches we have taken to adapt Brightspace to
make studying at LSTM more supportive and engaging...

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Adapting and augmenting Brightspace to better support a diverse student group

Approach 1: Brightspace as a hub
Students are supported throughout the academic lifecycle with tools
integrated into Brightspace and accessible through Single Sign-On. A
joined up approach helps students find what they need quickly without the
distraction of managing multiple accounts.

A Single Sign-On page for all services

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A Student Support widget appears on every

organisational homepage in Brightspace
giving students all the important links at their

Integrated tools with Brightspace at the centre:

Outlook, Office 365, Onedrive, Sharepoint
(intranet), Panopto, Turnitin, Wiggio, Binder and

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Adapting and augmenting Brightspace to better support a diverse student group

Approach 2: Brightspace for flexibility and scalability
LSTMs educational portfolio features a range of short courses, professional
diplomas and masters-level programmes, providing education to meet the
needs of our learners. Our use of Brightspace affords the organisation with
the scalability and flexibility it requires.

Student roles provide the mechanism to

customise the learning environment to the
needs of our individual learners. We have roles
for: Masters, Professional Diploma, PhD, Short
Course, and Distance Learning students, and
these can be used to filter content such as
News items

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The Student Community provides an

area for interaction between students on
different courses, particularly useful for
students to network and share experience
of work placements

Programme Spaces serve as homegrounds where cohorts can come together

and receive programme-wide materials
throughout their studies. Especially useful
pre-start and during electives

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Adapting and augmenting Brightspace to better support a diverse student group

Approach 3: Customisation of the course environment:
A consistent design gives all organisational spaces a familiar feel, whilst
customisation ensures that students are able to quickly get to where they
need to be.

A Welcome Widget, adapted from the

D2L Learning & Creative team, welcomes
students by name, provides easy to click/
press buttons to important areas of the
course with signposting via tutor narrative

A custom Twitter widget on each course

homepage provides an eye-catching space for
students to get involved thereby encouraging
engagement whilst also creating a buzz
around our work. Staff generally set up course


Course timetables embedded from Office

365 were a first step towards a unified
and collaborative timetabling system, but
in 2016-17 we plan to move our course
timetables into the Calendar tool. We
hope this will allow our students to get
the most out of Pulse

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A live chat tool across all

organisational homepages in
Brightspace, helps to provide
timely and efficient support to
students. We really like using this

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Adapting and augmenting Brightspace to better support a diverse student group

In summary

Brightspace is used to enhance the student experience

at LSTM through careful design and customisation of the
environment to support students at every stage of their
learning. We have been able to do this through a good
understanding of the needs of our diverse student groups
and the ability to carry out customisations across our small
number of courses.
Our message to others:

Our success comes from learning

from others, so screenshot your
own LE to #fusionmyspace and
join in!

Think carefully about a consistent look & feel across the

organisational structure, and do not underestimate the
work required
Engage with Desire2Learn to see what help they can
Speak with partner institutions to see how they do it
and gain ideas (see Twitter hashtag on right)
If you would like to speak with the Technology Enhanced
Learning team to talk about any of the things youve seen
please do not hesitate to email us:
Thanks for watching!

Technology Enhanced Learning Unit

A bugbear for our staff: Start date restriction on content

topics or modules still allow students to see the titles of
those items within the Table of Contents. Staff end up using
Draft status instead which doesnt allow scheduling. Please
vote in the Product Ideas Exchange for D768 Content--hide
until Start Date feature (

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