NILE is integrated into the learning and teaching process at The University of Northampton and we need to ensure that it is being used effectively by staff in order to provide a quality student experience.

Building on the guidance which was initially produced in January 2012, the  framework has now been updated to cover the minimum standards which are expected on a NILE site. This was approved at University SEC on 20th April, 2016 and subsequently used as the basis for the new NILE templates which were developed for the 2016/17 academic year.

As noted at SEC on the 24th February,  it was proposed to enhance the provision of NILE sites for students in four key areas during 2016/17:

  • To respond to on-going staff and student feedback to enhance sites to reduce queries. Colour schemes and other features to enhance accessibility will be addressed where possible.
  • To use external data where available to reduce manual setup / checking. Staff will be automatically added to sites where possible based on data from the previous year. Prompts to set up assignments in the “Submit your work” area will provide information sourced from the Curriculum system.
  • To provide clean sites and work in central teams to work in partnership with tutors to only copy over required information. This will reduce storage needs and also reduce chance of displaying old information on sites. Specific days will be provided for academic teams to work with Learntech to copy content from the previous year and look at ways to enhance existing and new materials.
  • Use of Learntech, CfAP, Academic Librarians, Curriculum and Records teams to work with tutors to ensure sites are ready for 16/17 delivery. Sites will be merged where feasible to reduce the total number of sites viewed by tutors and ensure that students are not left on sites which are not being used for delivery.
When working with NILE sites tutors are guided to review some of the comments made by students as part of the STAR awards. This demonstrates some of the key items which students are looking for when working within NILE.
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2 Responses to NILE quality standards 2016-17

  1. Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson says:

    Just a quick reaction to the first point – my experience elsewhere is that official attention to colour schemes on Blackboard system can lead to imposition of a single institutionally-approved colour scheme (and given institutional approval process, this is guaranteed to be drab and uninteresting!!!).

    If something like this has to be done, please can we ensure that a range of schemes are still available and that they’re designed by designers not quality officers, learning technologists or god forbid lecturers?!! (Designers familiar with accessibility issues obviously… but nowadays that shouldn’t be hard to find… or at least designers working with people familiar with accessibility issues). I’ve adopted a very bright colour scheme on one of my modules, and my own experience is that being distinctive helps me orient quickly to the structure and materials on that module, there’s a sense of “being in the right place” because it doesn’t look like any of the other modules I’m involved with.

  2. Rob Howe says:

    The colour schemes which we created the 16/17 templates with follow the accessibility guidelines. We just wanted staff to be aware of the student experience when changing colour schemes (if needed) since some of the ones picked up during last year were not user friendly and made text very hard to read.
    You’re right that having an accessible and distinctive colour scheme for a cluster of modules within a programme can help students navigate and be confident they are in the right area.