Aarhus University Seal

VIP ask TAP: Three incisive questions about Brightspace

Like all other teaching staff at AU, Assistant Professor Cecilie Nørby Lyhne is about to move her courses from Blackboard to the new learning platform Brightspace, which is currently being rolled out to all teaching staff at AU. In a new series of articles called “VIP ask TAP”, she asks the administration three questions about the new platform.

This month, all teaching staff at AU have been given access to the new learning platform Brightspace, which will replace Blackboard in the autumn. Implementing a new system of this calibre is a major task, and the solution will have a big impact on the daily life of both teaching staff and students.

Cecilie Nørby Lyhne, assistant professor at the Department of Public Health, is one of the people starting to use Brightspace. She was also part of the group of academic staff who tried their hand at Brightspace in one of the pilot projects that ran during the autumn and spring.

With this experience at hand, she has asked three questions about Brightspace to her colleagues in the administration. Questions that particularly concern her as a teacher.

Janne Saltoft Hansen and Iris Maria Pedersen are the AU project manager and Health project manager, respectively, on the pedagogical and organisational implementation of Brightspace.  They are well-versed in the technical and organisational implementation of the platform and they have answered Cecilie Nørby Lyhne’s questions.

1. It can be difficult to upload materials to Blackboard. I feel that the upload function is one of the big advantages of Brightspace. What do you consider to be the greatest advantage of Brightspace compared to Blackboard? 

Brightspace has a very intuitive and accessible design that makes it easy to navigate the platform. For example, it provides a good overview of courses and materials. 

The platform's activity feed is reminiscent of the comments sections we know from Facebook, for example, and this facilitates dialogue and interaction between students and between teachers and students.

Compared with other systems available on the market, Brightspace is also recognised for its user-friendliness, and the platform is continuously being developed and improved to ensure that it is as user-friendly as possible. 

2. Brightspace aims at creating greater recognisability across courses. How can we create a uniform structure for content across course pages while also accommodating the needs of the individual courses? 

Brightspace must, of course, be able to accommodate all AU's many different disciplines and course types, while remaining easy for students to navigate.  

In this context, a uniform structure basically means ensuring that students can easily and quickly find their content on Brightspace across courses. For this reason, we encourage teachers to structure their courses in more or less the same way, especially on individual degree programmes. For example, it may be a good idea to talk to your fellow teachers about the best navbar set-up, where to place content, etc. You can also always get help from your local project manager. At some faculties or degree programmes, teachers will also be encouraged to use course templates that take specific subject areas into account. So it's a good idea to keep yourself informed, and if you have any questions, you can always contact your local project manager or the Centre for Educational Development (CED). 

In relation to the content itself, it is up to the individual teacher to decide what content and teaching tools they want to use in Brightspace. This depends entirely on the individual course, the academic content, the course learning outcomes and the recommended course template, if relevant. 

3. Brightspace offers a variety of tools and didactic opportunities. How can we ensure that these tools and opportunities in Brightspace are used actively in teaching?   

Firstly, it’s important that, as a teacher, you seek help to get started with Brightspace, so that you can use the platform's various tools in the best possible way in relation to your own teaching. It may therefore be a good idea to take advantage of the Centre for Educational Development (CED) at AU and the services they provide in connection with the launch of Brightspace

Among other things, the CED offers an introductory workshop to Brightspace for all faculties. The workshop introduces teachers to the many didactic tools available on the platform. The workshop will also help you get started on developing your autumn courses.

Another option is to use the CED’s online Brightspacecourse, which you can complete at your own pace and when it suits you. You can also visit the AU website, where you will find a number of introductory videos with tips and tricks, and additional information about Brightspace and the many options available at AU.

Brightspace was rolled out across the university this April and will be taken into use this autumn. Read more in the article Brightspace is now live.

VIP ask TAP, in brief:

  • "VIP ask TAP" is a monthly series of articles where a member of the academic staff is given the opportunity to candidly ask three questions to one or more of their colleagues in the administration.
  • The series focuses on current operational tasks and projects managed by the administration, and which affect everyday life in the academic environments. The aim of the series is to create a dialogue and shared understanding of the technical and administrative support for research and teaching.
  • If you have any suggestions for topics that the series should cover, please send them to this email address.
  • Questions and answers are coordinated and edited by Communication and Press at the Rector's Office.