Digitally Ready 2020

Laptop showing the Digitally Ready courseA student introduction to the Bristol virtual learning experience.

‌Digitally Ready is an easy to use, engaging opportunity for students to equip themselves with the tools and competencies needed to confidently start their online studies at Bristol. It will help them reflect on their transferable skills in online learning and identify areas they need to develop, as well as guide them through the tools they are likely to encounter in their courses, via Blackboard. It will also help set expectations for the kind of engagement expected in virtual course spaces and online etiquette.

The course will be most active during the week beginning 28th September, with a live discussion forum. However, the course will be open for the entire academic year, so students can return to it whenever they need to. All students will automatically have access to this course, which will appear under their ‘My Organisations’ list on their Blackboard Homepage. They can also access it from the Blackboard Help tab, or by following this direct link to the Digitally Ready Course.

Overview of the course for schools, including detail of tasks, and tools covered.

November update for staff

The DEO are updating the Digitally Ready course with new content in November and January. The course ran successfully during the digital induction week. Here, we tell you a bit more about the updates to come, and tell you more about what students thought of the course so far. ‘Digitally Ready’ is available under your list of ‘My Organisations’ on Blackboard. If you can’t access the course, follow this link where you can self-enrol onto Digitally Ready.

‘Digitally Ready’ for 2020: An update

The student digital induction course Digitally Ready was available to all students in the digital induction week at the start of the 2020/2021 academic term. It aimed to boost confidence and skills using the key digital tools we use at Bristol, such as Blackboard, Ally, and Collaborate. Schools worked with us to provide video introductions to flexible and blended learning in their own contexts, as well as any specific digital induction training for school-wide tools. The course also connected students with the SU – particularly via an SU run Q&A forum – and Study Skills as an introduction to the virtual learning community and fantastic support opportunities at Bristol.

What did students think?

Over 10,500 students accessed the course, and nearly 25% of them completed a feedback form to tell us what they thought. We’ve had a look at their initial reactions, and overwhelmingly they reported an increase in confidence using the Blackboard tools after having taken the course, giving it a 4 out of 5 star rating for usefulness.

They also seemed to really engage with the materials, as we estimate 8,500 hours spent reading, over 300,000 page views, and 3,700 visits on mobile. Looking at the Study Skills online courses (four are linked to from Digitally Ready as well as the Welcome app) there was a huge increase in traffic compared to the same two week period last year. For example, last year ‘Welcome to Study’ had 198 engaged users (we count engaged as sessions greater than one minute). This year it had 2,746 engaged users.

We’ll be conducting a more in-depth analysis of the project, but for now can confidently say it will be something we run for students again next year. We will be responding to student feedback by making minor changes to the course design, and creating a new course for returning students in the 2020/2021 academic year.

What’s next? New content for November!

We’re also creating several new modules for the existing Digitally Ready course, to help our students navigate their way through the rest of this academic year. These modules will cover aspects including assessment, which is something students have been asking for.

The first of these modules is ‘Reflect and Reboot’, which will be available from the 16th of November. Here, we give students the chance to reflect on what has gone well so far this term, and help them troubleshoot any problems they may have experienced, such as with live online synchronous sessions. It also shows students where to find help when they need it, and begins to introduce the idea of broader digital skills and competencies, which will be essential both during their academic studies and beyond.