Student support 2021

Over the last year, the Digital Education Office (DEO) has been working with students via our Student Digital Champions to create support materials, to consolidate and update the various places students can get help with their digital education, and to deliver digital skills training. We work alongside existing support from IT Services for hardware or technical help, and Study Skills for academic support. Our aim is to support students in the use of the various digital tools they have available, or may encounter, and to build competence and confidence in navigating our digital learning environment. Here, we will outline the main outcomes of that work, and show you around our new student-facing spaces, so that you can point your students in the right direction when they need support.

Student Digital Champions

Since November 2020, we’ve worked alongside some amazing Student Digital Champions, who have helped us understand the student experience of learning digitally at Bristol. They’ve worked with us on a range of resources and projects, and have produced toolkits and other resources for students and staff.

Where to find help

If students need timely help, we have several places for them to go.

  1. We redesigned the ‘Help’ tab in Blackboard to give more clear information, and as a way to signpost to relevant materials (eg assessment information during the assessment period). We surveyed visitors to this page to see what help they needed, and worked with our Student Digital Champions to make sure it was clear and easy to navigate. (Please note that to view the new Help tab, you will need to be logged into Blackboard as a student).Student Help Tab in Blackboard 2021 Screenshot. Includes sections for Help and support for online learning, Academic Integrity and more.
  2. For courses using a DEO template, there is a ‘Help for students’ section, which contains a curated selection of specific help resources for your students. Find this in the left hand menu in your template course.
    Help for Students tab in DEO Template 2021 Screenshot
  3. The Blackboard support button has had a refresh, and we’ve checked that everything students find there is up to date and relevant for them. They can use the button wherever they are in Blackboard, and it contains a selection of support resources from our own guidance, as well as links to Microsoft, Blackboard and other support. We have also curated a list of top resources to appear in the first window, to minimise clicks needed to find what you’re looking for. Students can also use the Email button to send a message directly to IT services from within their course spaces.
    The support button to the top right of Blackboard is highlighted and the popup shows help topics and a search bar.

DEO Resources

In addition to targeted help, we have developed a Student Support page on our website. This contains links to various resources, either created by the DEO – like our ‘Creating Narrated PowerPoints’ web guide – or linking to specific and relevant help from third parties such as Microsoft. It is also the place where we collect together links to our digital skills courses, so it’s a good one for students to bookmark.

Student support- Learning Online webpage screenshot, showing links and descriptions to learning resources aimed at students, such as Digital induction and skills courses, the digitalk blog, guidance for tools, accessibility, etc.

Creating Narrated PowerPoint Presentations Web guide Screenshot. Includes sections on creating and narrating, narrating on a specific slide, editing your narration, exporting, uploading and submitting.

Digital Induction and Skills Courses

The digital induction course Digitally Ready has been updated based on feedback we received in the 2020/21 academic year, and now includes extra resources. It’s again available as an orientation for new students to gain confidence and get familiar with the digital learning environment, as well as thinking about what it means to be an active online learner, and what blended learning might be like for them.

We have also developed a new course for returning students Digitally Ready: Refresh and Reboot! This course will guide students to reflect on their experiences of online and digital learning, and identify what skills they have, and which they would like to develop. It prompts them to review material they may have missed in Digitally Ready, as well as challenging them to try new things, and explore their digital skills even more.

Both courses are available for students automatically, they do not need to enrol onto the courses. The links to these courses can always be found from Student Support.

Digitally Ready course for first year students 2021 Screenshot

Digitally Ready Reflect and Reboot 2021 Screenshot

DigiTalk – the new student face of the DEO

Screenshot of the DigiTalk blogOur Student Digital Champions worked with us to set up a new blog, called DigiTalk. DigiTalk is a space for discussion around the digital learning experience, and a place for us and our Student Digital Champions to share ideas, tips, and ways to get the most from our digital learning environment. We’re also planning a video series for the autumn of 2021, called Digitally Skilled, which will highlight to students some key digital skills and help them develop their competencies. Via DigiTalk, we can also update students with service announcements or downtime on tools which will affect them.